And Now For Something Uplifting

June 16th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Lots to be bummed out around these days in the political economy space, but you’ve got to feel good about this (from The Hill):

“The Senate voted 73-27 Thursday to kill a major tax break that benefits the ethanol industry, handing a political win to a bipartisan group of lawmakers that call the incentive needless and expensive…the vote could also represent a setback for influential conservative Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), who said a vote for the plan would violate the anti-tax pledge most Republicans have signed unless paired with a separate tax-cutting amendment.”

Ah, ethanol, that combustible combination of corn and tax subsidies.

Don’t know where this sits at the end of the day–there’s this little matter of the House of Representatives…but a bad day for the ATR and their suffocating pledge is a good day for a more balanced approach to getting our debt under control.

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7 comments in reply to "And Now For Something Uplifting"

  1. Emanuel T. II says:

    Do subsidies ever have a place? Or should funds simply be made available to companies through grants such as the DOE’s SBIR(Small Business Innovation Research) grant & STTR?

    I do like the grant system because it brings new firms into the picture and encourages the intermingling of technological innovators with communities. Subsidies seem to have a knack for supporting existing businesses. Those businesses tend to take their time in innovating in order to wring out as much money from old markets as much as possible and when seemingly convenient switch to the new technology and try to overpower the market place.

    Are there any other strategies besides subsidies & grants that will allow for intelligent government involvement in tech R&D?


  2. Kevin Rica says:

    It seems like the common ground between Grover Norquist and Jared Bernstein is that Jared should just figure out how to call all of his pet projects “tax credits.” Cut the oil depletion allowance but offset it with the “school construction depreciation allowance” or the “summer playground childcare employment credit.”

    It’s all in the labeling.


    • John says:

      I agree it’s in the labelling.

      Which is why I call myself a socialist, and recognize Grover Norquist for what he really is – an anarchist.

      Many socialists have taken to calling themselves progressives so they can stay in self-denial, since they allowed the right to turn “liberal” into a pejorative.

      Something similar really should happen to the right. What we have now is a right that must call themselves “libertarian” to survive politically. “Libertarian” is just another name for “anarchist.”

      These are generally not people who believe in small government, but in no government at all. Certainly, anyone who has signed Norquist’s pledge believes in no government at all. That’s anarchy.

      “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” (US Constitution)

      Consent of the governed. What a concept. To believe the above sentence nowadays, one risks being labelled a socialist. So fewer people consent to be governed. Which puts our society on the brink of anarchy.

      George Orwell, also a socialist, developed the idea of NewSpeak in his dystopian novel 1984. The core idea was that thoughts which could not be named or labelled would cease to exist. I’ve long since thought he was right.


      • John says:

        US Declaration of Independence… Sorry.

        The preceding thought:

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

        And then:

        “That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.”

        I wish I could say that was stating the obvious. But I don’t think it is anymore. That’s why I think Orwell was right about NewSpeak.


      • Chigliakus says:

        A lot of the people calling themselves libertarians these days are just anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.


  3. David R says:

    It would be a good day to celebrate if the vote were to actually result in killing the program.

    http://dismalpoliticaleconomist.blogspot.com/2011/06/senate-votes-overwhelmingly-to-repeal.html

    but it does not look like the provision will ever become law. The program will sunset at the end of the year though. And can you M.r Bernstein or anyone else tell us why Obama is not on board?


  4. Jeff H says:

    It won’t get through the House. All it will do is let the Senate Republicans say, “Hey, we tried your tax and spend ways, but those House wing nuts won’t go along. Sorry, we’ll have to throw grandma under the bus”

    Sure, I realize politics are, well, politics, but this deal, it’s kind of like Ryan is courageous light. It’s not a courageous vote on their part, it’s the first sane vote by the Rs in the Senate in post Obama times.

    I like what mom used to say, “You don’t get a cookie for doing what you’re supposed to do” 😉


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