Put America First: Make Iowa Go Last

Imagine there’s no first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus. No need to pander to corn farmers. No politicizing ethanol for votes. No pressure to support hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded ethanol subsidies.

Two columnists, one conservative-leaning, the other liberal-leaning, have written recently about the politics of ethanol in America. John Stossel, in a May 23 column entitled “The Many Myths of Ethanol,” writes “Surely, ethanol must be good for something. And here we finally have a fact. It is good for something — or at least someone: corn farmers and processors of ethanol, such as Archer Daniels Midland, the big food processor known for its savvy at getting subsidies out of the taxpayers.” He goes on to note that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) voted against ethanol 17 times before she decided to run for president (if you assume she wasn’t planning to run all along).

Peter Schrag, a liberal-leaning columnist for The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, noted this week that “Since the feds subsidize corn ethanol (a 51 cents tax credit for every gallon of ethanol blended into gas) in addition to the regular multibillion-dollar corn subsidy, and since Congress protects corn ethanol with hefty tariffs to prevent the import of cheaper Brazilian ethanol, ethanol, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complains, enjoys a triple subsidy. Some $600 million annually comes from highway funds.”

And that got me to thinking about infrastructure spending and how many roads and highways could be built or repaired each year with $600 million. And that got me to imagining there’s no first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus. Perhaps it’s time to put America first and make Iowa go last.

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