Tag Archives: Crony Capitalism

Watch Ted Cruz disagree with an Iowa farmer on the issue of ethanol subsidies

Ted Cruz and Mike Lee go to war against amnesty
Ted Cruz and Mike Lee on their way to defeat an amnesty bill

My friend Bruce posted a dazzling video, which I have included below. It shows Ted Cruz at the Iowa caucuses having a tense discussion with an Iowa farmer who is opposed to Cruz’s policy of repealing federal subsidies for ethanol, which is made from Iowa corn.

Notice how Cruz respects the man, looks him in the eye, and does not appear anxious to move on. He believes that he is right, and he respects the other man as a rational agent. He thinks that if he explains his view, then the other man will agree with him on the merits of his argument. The farmer’s opposition is not a marketing problem to Ted Cruz. It’s an evidence problem to Ted Cruz. Cruz doesn’t think that there is any difference in the dignity or worth of himself and this man. He approaches him like an equal, and he believes that he owes this man an answer. He wants this man’s vote, and he is not willing to bribe him with taxpayer money in order to get it. He is lifting the man upward – asking him “what kind of country do you want this to be?” instead of telling him what taxpayer money Cruz will give him for his vote. It is the complete opposite of what Trump, Clinton and Sanders do with voters.

The Resurgent has a story on it about what to notice in the video:

People covering Ted Cruz say he doesn’t leave any event until the last question has been answered. In this video, Cruz is confronted by an angry farmer questioning his stand against Ethanol subsidies.

Cruz’s deep knowledge of the topic, his ability to calm the man down and get him to really listen, combined with his confidence in his own solutions win the man over.

Notice the constant eye contact. This is why Cruz can govern. On the stump, Washington fears him. On the floor of the Senate, the establishment hates him. But one-on-one, more often than not, Cruz can convince people he’s right.

Here is the clip from the most recent debate where Cruz explained his policy to the people of Iowa:

This is not your typical politician. This is something different.

I have a number of friends who are supporters of Marco Rubio, the establishment GOP candidate.

Marco Rubio regularly teams up with Democrats:

What my Rubio-supporting friends are telling me is that all these past actions are no big deal. They say that America has become a less conservative country, so we need to run a less conservative establishment candidate like Marco Rubio in order to win. I understand and agree that America is a less conservative country. We’ve drifted away from our roots and lost the vision of the Founders, which made us so great. But I don’t think that less conservative policies – be they social, fiscal or foreign policy policies – produce better results than more conservative policies.

Socialism doesn’t work

Take a look at this article about Venezuela, which appeared in the radically leftist Washington Post.

It says:

The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first.

The key word there is “completely.” Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela’s ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it’s hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever. Incumbents, after all, don’t tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It’s no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

That’s not an easy thing to do when you have the largest oil reserves in the world, but Venezuela has managed it. How?

[…]The first step was when Hugo Chávez’s socialist government started spending more money on the poor, with everything from two-cent gasoline to free housing.

[…]Chávez turned the state-owned oil company from being professionally run to being barely run. People who knew what they were doing were replaced with people who were loyal to the regime, and profits came out but new investment didn’t go in.

Do you know who supports spending tons of taxpayer money on public works projects and welfare, in order to buy votes? Democrats. Do you know who supports nationalizing private industry, especially health care and energy? Democrats. These are Democrat Party policies and they failed. They failed spectacularly. This failure is something that any ordinary American can understand, if anyone bothered to explain the cause and effect of economic policies to them.

And that’s exactly what Ted Cruz is doing in that video, with that ordinary voter. And to the great credit of Iowa voters, they voted for Ted Cruz even when he didn’t promise to give them taxpayer-funded goodies. That, my friends, is character. Iowa has character. They rose to his challenge, because they have Iowa values. Not New York Values.

Here is the real Donald Trump and his New York values, by the way:

Donald Trump promised more subsidies for ethanol to the people of Iowa, in order to get them to overlook his New York values. And the people of Iowa gave Ted Cruz the win.

So, the bottom line is this. I don’t believe that the superiority of conservative policies is difficult to demonstrate to ordinary people. I think that the average, run-of-the-mill American adult in the political center can be persuaded, so long as they give us time, and so long as we have the right man or woman to do the persuading. Give Cruz a chance to persuade them. We don’t have to take the American people as they are. We can try to shift them to the right, by listening to their concerns, and then persuading them with evidence.

Trump, eminent domain, a widow’s house, and a limousine parking lot

Donald Trump and his friends, the Clintons
Donald Trump and his friends, the Clintons

I saw a recent Ted Cruz ad that made some claims about his rival Donald Trump. I did some searching and found the facts behind the ad in the UK Guardian.

It says:

Since he shot to the top of the presidential polls, Donald Trump’s serial bankruptcies and bullying nature have made big headlines. But no one seems to have brought up a bullying business practice he’s particularly fond of: eminent domain.

The billionaire mogul-turned-reality TV celebrity, who says he wants to work on behalf of “the silent majority,” has had no compunction about benefiting from the coercive power of the state to kick innocent Americans out of their homes.

[…]Trump turned to a government agency – the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) – to take Coking’s property. CRDA offered her $250,000 for the property – one-fourth of what another hotel builder had offered her a decade earlier. When she turned that down, the agency went into court to claim her property under eminent domain so that Trump could pave it and put up a parking lot.

[…]Ms Coking and her neighbors spent several years in court, but eventually with the assistance of the Institute for Justice they won on July 20, 1998. A state judge rejected the agency’s demand on the narrow grounds that there was no guarantee that Trump would use the land for the specified purpose.

But Trump is quite unrepentant:

Trump consistently defended the use of eminent domain. Interviewed by John Stossel on ABC News, he said: “Cities have the right to condemn for the good of the city. Everybody coming into Atlantic City sees this terrible house instead of staring at beautiful fountains and beautiful other things that would be good.” Challenged by Stossel, he said that eminent domain was necessary to build schools and roads. But of course he just wanted to build a limousine parking lot.

[…]When Donald Trump says: “I give to everybody. They do whatever I want,” this is what he’s talking about: well-connected interests getting favors from government. Vera Coking knows the feeling.

Here’s the Ted Cruz ad summarizing the story above:

Donald Trump is a New York billionaire who inherited a fortune from his father. He brags about how he donated money to Democrat politicians. His view on eminent domain really shows what he thinks of ordinary Americans – and the Constitution.

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?