Tag Archives: Subsidies

Trump wants to increase taxpayer subsidies of ethanol, Cruz wants to end them

Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants
Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants

Donald Trump is pandering to ethanol special interests, trying to catch up to Cruz in Iowa.

The Wall Street Journal explains:

Donald Trump, who is battling Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), for the top spot in in corn-rich Iowa, is seeking to draw a contrast between the two candidates by catering to the state’s corn ethanol industry more than any other top GOP candidate.

[…]“I am there with you 100%,” Mr. Trump told a crowd of hundreds of Iowans whose livelihoods depend on the ethanol industry at a summit in Altoona, Iowa, on Tuesday. “You’re going to get a really fair shake from me.”

Corn has long been king in Iowa, the nation’s top corn-producing state, implanting in Iowa voters a sentiment that every candidate must cheer Washington’s backing for ethanol. Since 2011, though, that universal backing has been eroding.

Congress decided at the end of 2011 not to renew a tax credit that cost the government $6 billion a year. Critics of the government’s ethanol policy then set their targets on the ethanol mandate, which requires refineries to blend an increasing amount of biofuels into the U.S. gasoline supply each year.

At the ethanol summit Tuesday, Mr. Trump also read a prepared statement opposing Congress “changing any part of the RFS,” or Renewable Fuel Standard, the mandate’s formal name.

Trump doesn’t just want to keep the subsidies as they are, he wants to raise them, according to this article from The Hill.

It says:

Donald Trump said Tuesday that federal regulators should increase the amount of ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Trump, a real estate mogul and the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ought to follow the ethanol volumes Congress set in 2007.

“The EPA should ensure that biofuel … blend levels match the statutory level set by Congress under the [renewable fuel standard],” Trump said.

The mandate is popular in Iowa, which hosts the nation’s first caucuses.

He is pandering to the people he speaks to wherever he goes… he has no convictions.

Ethanol doesn’t lower the price of gas, it actually raises the price of food, since some crops are being redirected to an inefficient process. It’s a handout to ehtanol producers, at the expense of gas consumers who must pay more for an inferior product.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz is different:

In a Des Moines Register op-ed Wednesday, Cruz said he would look to “phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard, end all energy subsidies, and ensure a level playing field for everyone,” a move that would eventually end the mandate that requires oil refiners to mix biofuel into their gasoline supplies.

“My view on energy is simple: We should pursue an ‘all of the above’ policy,” he wrote. “We should embrace all of the energy resources with which God has blessed America: oil and gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, and biofuels and ethanol. But Washington shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.”Cruz has previously said he would look to end the mandate by 2022, phasing it out over five years, if elected to the Oval Office.

Cruz leads Republicans in Iowa polls ahead the caucuses there next month, but his ethanol policies could hurt him in the state, which leads in the fuel’s production.

The senator from Texas has previously co-sponsored a bill to end the ethanol mandate immediately. Last spring, he sponsored a phase-out bill, and he says that plan is the best way to support fuel producers.

Going into Iowa and taking on the ethanol subsidy takes balls of steel. And Cruz has them.  He is risking the entire election on doing the right thing for the country as a whole, instead of pandering.

Cruz is trying to shift the public to the right – explaining basic economics to them, and asking them to give up their special interests in order to return to the vision of the Founders for America. Will it work? I think someone ought to try to remind us what America is supposed to be like.

There is a very good explanation of why ethanol subsidies are crony capitalism, by conservative firebrand Mark Levin.

Here’s a summary:

Levin explained what crony capitalism is. That it is the state picking winners at the expense of others.  In the case of ethanol they have made it mandatory in cars, even though it is proven that it does not reduce oil usage, because oil is needed for the production of ethanol.  That it hurts engines.

The most damaging thing that ethanol does, according to Levin is add to famine and poverty in the third world, by limiting the production of food crops, as the land is used to grow ethanol feedstock instead of food.

Levin focused on the fact that Donald Trump is going all in for ethanol to pander to Governor Terry Branstad in Iowa.  He told his audience that Branstad’s son makes a living from the ethanol industry.

There are fundamental economic issues at play here. We are harming our economy and destroying our long-term prosperity the longer we allow socialists to run our economy. Things can be good in this economy. We can get the jobs we want, cheaper prices, higher quality. We can have social programs that work, and greater individual freedom. But we have to go back to our founding principles. That is what made us great, and what can return us to greatness. We did not become the wealthiest nation on the Earth by accident. When all else has failed, why don’t we try doing what worked for the last 200 years?

New study: social welfare programs encourage low-income Americans not to marry

Does government provide incentives for people to get married?
Does government provide incentives for people to NOT get married?

I don’t think anyone disagrees that it’s good for society if the next generation of young workers are raised in a home where their mothers and fathers are present in a stable, loving married home. And so, you would expect that no one would ever pay people money to not get married, and/or take away money from people who do get married. After all, if marriage is a good thing, why use money to discourage people from doing it?

Well, take a look at this article in the Wall Street Journal.

It says:

When it comes to marriage, the U.S. tax code is roughly neutral: The number of people penalized for being married is roughly the same as the number who benefit from it.

The same is not true for social welfare programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance, which can impose significant financial penalties on recipients who are married, according to new research from the R Street Institute, a Washington think tank.

In some cases, that creates major disincentives for low-income couples—especially those who are already living together—to tie the knot.

“Historically, low-income couples have faced especially onerous marriage penalties, because most safety-net benefits are means-tested (with steep phase-out rates or even cliffs)” applied on those who are married, researchers Douglas J. Besharov and Neil Gilbert wrote. “Marriage could easily reduce or end the benefits of a single parent with children.”

The effects vary from state to state, and depend on the relationship between the couple living together, whether or not they have children, whether they share expenses and how much money they earn.

In Arkansas, the state with the highest marriage penalties, if a nonparent marries a parent with two children and each adult earns $20,000, they would lose approximately $13,248 in benefits, or roughly a third of their total household income, according to the study.

The effects also vary by program. In a paper released Tuesday, researchers at the Urban Institute found the additional-child tax credit and the earned-income tax credit had the largest effect on creating either marriage penalties or bonuses, depending on the state and how the earnings were divided among the couple.

The penalties have become a growing issue in recent years as the size and coverage of means-tested welfare programs has swelled, and now includes more middle-income households. At the same time the stigma associated with living together out of wedlock has shrunk, leading to declining marriage rates.

The study’s authors claim:

“The supposition that marriage penalties have an impact on decisions to marry gains credence from the simple fact that marriage rates are highest among higher-income groups that are less affected by them and for whom such penalties represent a smaller proportion of total income,” they wrote.

I think we want to guard against the situation where we are transferring money from people who do the right thing and get married to people who do the wrong thing and have children before they get married. It’s not good for anyone that single mothers do this. It’s not good for the children of single mothers, it’s not good for the single mothers, and it’s not good for the taxpayers who have to pay for these welfare programs. It’s not a good thing when a politician is generous at spending other people’s money.

Like it or not, taxes and welfare payments do communicate incentives to people… incentives that affect their decision-making. If we really care about kids getting the best environment to grow up in, then we ought to care that government does not tell people to not get married by how they tax and spend.

You can read this paper by Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to see why marriage is so good for children, when compared to a single mom on welfare.

Obama administration gives $5.6 million taxpayer dollars to abortion provider

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood
Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Do you like big government? Some people do. But let’s take a look at what big government does with the money it takes from taxpayers – many of whom are pro-life.

Here’s an article from Life News to make the point.

It says:

The Obama administration has made funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business a top priority during two terms and the administration has just announced another $5.6 million for the abortion corporation. The grants to various affiliates of the Planned Parenthood abortion business came via the Department of Health and Human Services.

[…]The Obama administration grants to Planned Parenthood follow on the heels of a new report showing Planned Parenthood does one-third of all abortions in the United States.

Planned Parenthood sells itself as a non-profit organization that concerns itself with women’s health, but a shocking new report indicates Planned Parenthood is little more than an abortion business. While the number of abortions it does and the percentage of its operations that are abortions is in the rise, the number of women receiving legitimate health care at Planned Parenthood is steadily declining.

[…]In December, the abortion giant Planned Parenthood released its 2013 annual report and the new numbers indicate it did more abortions than the year before — killing 327,653 babies in abortions while taking in millions in taxpayer funds. The report indicates Planned Parenthood did 327,653 abortions in 2013, an increase over the 327,166 abortions it did in 2012.

While it remains America’s biggest abortion corporation, the “nonprofit” continued to make money — bringing in $305.4 million last year and $305.3 million this year. Planned Parenthood continued to receive over a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money, as it took in $540 million in 2012 and $528 million in 2013.

Let’s assume you’re a Christian reading that post. Is that how you would spend your money? If not, then why would you want the government to take your money and give it to abortion providers so they can take the lives of innocent unborn children?

Does it make you feel good to think that your vote helps the poor, but without you having to do anything as an individual? I want to suggest that you vote for smaller government, and then use the money you save in taxes to do good things on your own. That way, you can be sure that your money will be used to do things that don’t violate your conscience.

Why is college so expensive? Why does university tuition cost so much?

The correct answer appeared in the radically leftist New York Times, of all places.

This is by Paul F. Campos, law professor at the radically leftist UC Boulder.

He writes:

[P]ublic investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher.

In other words, far from being caused by funding cuts, the astonishing rise in college tuition correlates closely with a huge increase in public subsidies for higher education. If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.

Some of this increased spending in education has been driven by a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans who go to college. While the college-age population has not increased since the tail end of the baby boom, the percentage of the population enrolled in college has risen significantly, especially in the last 20 years. Enrollment in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs has increased by almost 50 percent since 1995. As a consequence, while state legislative appropriations for higher education have risen much faster than inflation, total state appropriations per student are somewhat lower than they were at their peak in 1990. (Appropriations per student are much higher now than they were in the 1960s and 1970s, when tuition was a small fraction of what it is today.)

As the baby boomers reached college age, state appropriations to higher education skyrocketed, increasing more than fourfold in today’s dollars, from $11.1 billion in 1960 to $48.2 billion in 1975. By 1980, state funding for higher education had increased a mind-boggling 390 percent in real terms over the previous 20 years. This tsunami of public money did not reduce tuition: quite the contrary.

[…]State appropriations reached a record inflation-adjusted high of $86.6 billion in 2009. They declined as a consequence of the Great Recession, but have since risen to $81 billion. And these totals do not include the enormous expansion of the federal Pell Grant program, which has grown, in today’s dollars, to $34.3 billion per year from $10.3 billion in 2000.

The more money that is attached to students, the more money universities charge – simple.

But where is the money going? Is it mostly going to research? To the classroom? To hire more and better professors?

No:

Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.

By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

If you’re going to college or trade school, go to a low-cost school. Do a STEM degree or do a trade that pays well. Try to get tuition assistance even if it means going to a less prestigious school. And work at every opportunity you get in the most serious job you can find. Don’t spend your money – save it. Especially don’t spend your money on fun, vacations and alcohol. As soon as you grow up, you’re going to wish you could have it all back.

With government subsidies, Planned Parenthood did 327,653 abortions in 2013

This is from Life News.

Excerpt:

The abortion giant Planned Parenthood has released its 2013 annual report and the new numbers indicate it did more abortions than the year before — killing 327,653 babies in abortions while taking in millions in taxpayer funds.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America has released its 2013-2014 Annual Report and Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League, broke down the numbers.The report indicates Planned Parenthood did 327,653 abortions in 2013, an increase over the 327,166 abortions it did in 2012.

While it remains America’s biggest abortion corporation, the “nonprofit” continued to make money — bringing in $305.4 million last year and $305.3 million this year. Planned Parenthood continued to receive over a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money, as it took in $540 million in 2012 and $528 million in 2013.

“Despite this lack of increase in its primary business, Planned Parenthood continued to receive over a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money,” Sedlak said. “It has such a tremendous publicity machine that it convinced corporate and private donors to increase donations by more than $75 million (from $315.4 million to $391.8 million).”

“The increased donations, plus an increase of $28 million in “other operating revenue” and the reduction in costs from closing clinics, led to a near-record $127.1 million in profits for the largest abortion chain in the nation. This was the second highest reported annual profit in Planned Parenthood’s history,” he explained to LifeNews.

[…]After reviewing the report, SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeNews:

“The abortion rate may be declining across America, but not in Planned Parenthood clinics. Their latest annual report is fresh evidence that Planned Parenthood remains an abortion-centered, profit-driven business. In 2013, Planned Parenthood upped the number of abortions they performed to 327,653. Meanwhile, their already limited cancer screenings, prenatal services, adoption referrals – and even contraception services – continue to drop. Planned Parenthood claims to be an altruistic health care provider for women and girls but their bottom line is all about abortion.”

Republicans have attempted to cut off some funding for Planned Parenthood in red states, but as long as we have a Democrat President, the federal subsidies will remain in place. Something to think about in 2016.