Historically, at this point in the political cycle, it is customary for politicians to pander to farmers. But, despite the attention that has recently been lavished on Iowa, quite the opposite was achieved this past weekend. Ethanol subsidies, long opposed by most free marketeers, went quietly into the night — on Sunday, a sunset clause removed them from the tax code and Congress elected to stand by and watch.
The decision to allow expiration was a bipartisan one — a coalition emerged between budget-cutters and environmentalists — a fact that is all the more remarkable given the provision’s 30-year reign and seeming indestructability. But, as was noted in the New York Times yesterday, the victory does not belong to lawmakers alone, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marlo Lewis Jr., also a contributor to Planet Gore, played no small part in bringing down this $20 billion boondoggle. His long campaign has finally paid dividends. Congratulations Marlo, and thank you!