Trump’s Pandering to the Ethanol Lobby is Bad for Taxpayers

By Lina Bryce

Donald Trump supports one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington– the ethanol lobby– which apparently has courted the billionaire since April, arranging to speak to him weekly in addition to three in-person meetings and a tour of the ethanol plant, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The EPA should ensure that biofuel . . . blend levels match the statutory level set by Congress,” Trump said yesterday in Iowa, adding that he was “there with you 100 percent” on continuing federal support for ethanol. “You’re going to get a really fair shake from me.”

Just who is he speaking to; the American people or the ethanol corn industry?

Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed independent of D.C. politics who campaigns that he is not owned by anyone, has been battling Sen. Ted Cruz for the top spot in the Corn Capital of Iowa, pandering to a state which is top in Midwest for both corn and ethenol production.

“He’s really spent time in Iowa, talking to Iowans and talking good policy on this issue,” said Eric Branstad to The Wall Street Journal; son of Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and state director of America’s Renewable Future, a group calling on all presidential candidates to support a government mandate requiring ethanol be blended into gasoline.

While this allegiance with one of the most powerful lobbies may help Trump to secure a top spot in Iowa, the federal mandate will make the American people losers, in the end.

Jillian Kay Melchoir opined in the National Review recently that “[Trump] [is] just another rich, East Coast politician who would prop up special interests at the expense of the taxpayer”, reporting that the 2007 Independence and Security Act, Congress mandated that the U.S. use 36 billion gallons of biofuels, including corn ethanol and cellulosic biofuel, by 2022.

What’s worse, is that the government is not only requiring the use of ethanol, but even subsidized it through tax credits between 1978 and 2012, costing the Treasury nearly $40 billion. In addition to the mandate and direct subsidies, there are federal programs, spanning multiple agencies, allocating billions of dollars to ethanol in the form of grants, loan guarantees, tax credits, and other subsidies.

With ethanol eating up 40% of the corn crops, it has consequently increased the cost of corn to the consumer. The rising costs of corn have caused a mass exodus in the American feedlot business due to the inability to unable to compete with those benefiting from the government mandate.

Not only is increasing the amount of ethanol in gasoline unattainable, but is also damaging to machinery that it is used in; leaving many vehicle manufacturers to no longer offer warranties when ethanol comprises 10 percent or more of fuel. This is because engine rust is becoming so prevalent.

Bureaucrats and politicians will often sell us a bill of goods when it comes to environmental benefits, but the fact is a gallon of ethanol requires 29% more energy to refine than gasoline and that process is often fueled by coal. Meanwhile, burning ethanol emits higher amounts of chemical compounds which produces smog.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the product of the wonderful collaboration of a powerhouse team: Washington politicians, bureaucrats, the agriculture lobby, the government created department–the EPA–created to ‘protect’ the environment. The only thing they are protecting is private interests and as Trump affirmed in Iowa yesterday, he is going to make sure that nothing will change if he is president.

If Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” means going to Iowa where their number one industry is corn and ethanol related manufacturing industries which generate $25 Billion a year, and promising them more money from taxpayers, the question taxpayers should be asking him is whom exactly is he making America great for?

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