Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ethanol: "Show Me Ethanol" Conflict of Interest

"Show Me Ethanol" in Missouri is in a battle over conflict of interest, as politicians in the state own shares in the company, potentially giving the ethanol plant it's operating for the purpose of making money for state legislaters.

State Treasurer Sarah Steelman has a policy in place to keep the taxpayer subsidized company from benefiting those in governmental power.

Some are trying to pressure Steelman to ease up on the policy, but she's right - there shouldn't be any politician anywhere that benefits from a government subsidy program, as it's really another form of insider trading, no matter how you look at it.

Show Me Ethanol is scheduled to open this spring, and had received an initial nod from Steelman that they had conditional approval to receive loans from banks at rates below the market rate.

That condition was that the ethanol plant had to comply with the conflict of interest policy, where no single investor in the company could have ties to statewide elected officials or anyone related to them.

In the case of Show Me Ethanol, that's not the case, as a number of Missouri politians or their family members have invested in the ethanol company, including John Quinn, his wife, Mary, Andy Blunt, and Lesley Graves.

Supposedly other ethanol companies have been reluctant to work under Sarah Steelman's strict policy, but that seems to be a condemnation rather than a pressure on Steelman. They don't understand that by rejecting the policy, they're admitting they are indeed looking for favors from politicians, and that those politicians would benefit from it.

This underscores the problem of the ethanol industry, which can't survive without being artificially propped up by taxpayer money and tax credits, or low interest loans.

Include with this the tremendous amount of damage it does to some cars and power equipment like snowmobiles, chainsaws and many others, we need to simply get this idea off the table, along with the thought that this is a viable alternative energy source.

Ethanol really isn't a business, it's a socialist program designed to placate those who are earth worshippers and hate the thought of digging for the billions of barrels of oil on American soil, which would allow fuel for decades ahead.

Ethanol supporters are in denial of this, and so push forward this disastrous program that costs people so much, let alone the damage it does to the environment.

As an investment - as the failed ethanol companies around the country show - ethanol sucks, the alternative gas mix is terrible, and it's far less effective than regular gasoline.

What it's becoming is a political, socialist business, not a free market business. That's why the biofuel is failing, along with the many ethanol companies.

While the government should be involved in any type of business, if they are going to be, at least it should be something that isn't destructive like ethanol is, and something that has a future.

Ethanol as a business and alternative fuel isn't one of them. The taxpayer money is being wasted as the powerful farm and corn growers lobbies think of only themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

End the low paying loans, taxpayer subsidies and tax credits to farmers. If the business is a legitimate one, it would be able to stand on its own. Ethanol businesses can't.

21 comments:

Ron Steenblik said...

Absolutely. But don't blame the environmental movement. This has been a policy aimed at boosting farm incomes from the start. Most environmental groups stopped supporting corn ethanol at least two years ago -- some long before that.

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