It’s planting season, and farmers are taking to the fields to put food on our tables. Even though Ted Cruz has withdrawn from the presidential race, his victory in the Iowa Caucuses caused political pundits of all stripes to speculate about the future of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and the corn ethanol mandate, largely because someone, Cruz, had finally campaigned against the ethanol mandate and managed to win in Iowa. While some wonks in Washington, DC may talk about a political end for the ethanol mandate, for the nation’s farmers, the biofuel bubble has already burst.
A key Barack Obama Administration legacy item is its wanton abuse of the Constitution’s separation and balance of powers. No Executive Branch in history has spent more time pretending to be the Legislative Branch – writing regulations where the requisite preceding law doesn’t exist.
John Nothdurft and Donny Kendal bring you episode #30 of the In The Tank Podcast. This weekly podcast features (as always) interviews, debates, roundtable discussions, stories, and light-hearted segments on a variety of topics on the latest news. The show is available for download as part of the Heartland Daily Podcast every Friday. Today’s podcast features work from the Cascade Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Foundation, and Yankee Institute, and the Tax Foundation.
With great fanfare, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler is calling for sweeping changes to the way cable television set-top boxes work. In an essay published Jan. 27 by Re/Code, Wheeler began by citing the high prices consumers pay for set-top box rentals and bemoaning the fact that alternatives are not easily available.
It’s common for people to misunderstand or misconstrue the difference between acknowledging the failure of the ethanol mandate to deliver on its promises of materially increasing energy independence or lowering prices for consumers, and being “anti-ethanol.” It’s entirely possible to see advantages of using ethanol without believing it should be mandated, just as it is possible to see the advantages of having a health insurance policy without supporting Obamacare. All mandates have unintended consequences.
Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.
One year ago, Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, announced the controversial centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s climate change legacy: the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The rule is slated for finalization this summer.
Obamacare recently passed the five-year milestone, and etiquette would suggest an anniversary gift is in order for the politicians who passed and implemented the law. The traditional gift for five-year anniversaries is wood, and the more modern gift is silver. In this case, I’d recommend silver pieces – more than 29 but fewer than 31 – in light of the betrayal against American workers this law represents.
They say politics makes strange bedfellows. In a perfect example, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) are cosponsoring the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act,” to abolish the corn ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires that increasing volumes of this biofuel be blended into gasoline. Let’s hope it passes, as an amendment or stand-alone bill.
“I’m sorry sir,” the polite Healthcare.gov customer-service agent said. “There’s nothing I can do. You’re either going to have to enroll in Medicaid or you’re going to have to pay the full health-insurance rate.”
In the early 2000s, ethanol was touted as the solution to a variety of ills plaguing our nation. As is currently the case, those who worshipped at the altar of ethanol placed their faith in a false idol.
On Monday, the City Council’s Committee on Finance voted to approve an ordinance mandating gas stations sell gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, also called E15. Chicago gas stations already sell E10—gasoline with a composition that’s 10 percent ethanol. Should the City Council and the mayor approve the committee’s recommendation, Chicago would be the first major city to enforce such a requirement.
The time for Republican self congratulation is over, and the work needs to begin. It appears that the majority of the voting population recognizes that our country is in dire condition. Time is running out to fix it. Are Republicans going to work for our country, or just shift money around to different special interests?
Republicans were not elected to “work with” Obama. They were elected to stop his agenda and actions that have been harmful to the nation. The big question coming out of this electoral mandate is whether the inside-the-beltway Republicans in Washington will do what the voters want.
Thirty states, including Ohio, have renewable portfolio mandates. These laws require a certain percentage of electricity to be generated from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar power.
The Left consists of two groups of people running on two parallel yet very different paths to Oblivion.
The Left’s leadership knows their Huge Government ideas are absurd and don’t work – but they’ll be in charge after the collapse they induce so they’re fine with it.
During the week of July 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held hearings in four cities: Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington. DC. The two-day sessions were to allow the public to have their voice heard about the proposed rules it released on June 2 that will supposedly cut CO2emissions by 30 percent. Many, including myself, believe that these rules are really an attempt to shut down coal-fueled electricity generation and implement a cap-and-trade program that the Administration couldn’t get through Congress in 2009, when cap-and-trade’s obvious allies held both houses of Congress.
President Obama, and his administration, has enacted so many foolish and cost-increasing energy policies, it is easy to think that they are his purview alone. But in 2007, Republicans were just as guilty. Seeds were planted and a garden of bad legislation took root in a totally different energy environment. At the time, the growth seemed like something worthy of cultivation. However, what sprouted up more closely resembles a weed that needs to be yanked out.
Yesterday’s narrow Hobby Lobby decision shows why the culture war isn’t over – it’s just getting started. The reality is that in the absence of the ability to compel employers to pay for things over their religious objections, and at a time when covering 16 forms of birth control out of 20 is culturally insufficient, the Obama administration will be more than happy to turn to the traditional method of the left: skipping the middle man of the employer and just handing people other people’s money.
Following oral arguments, I was not optimistic about this ruling. The Court could have bought into the argument that Hobby Lobby can’t really complain about this requirement when they have the capability to not offer coverage at all, instead shifting people under their employ to the taxpayer via Medicaid or the exchanges. The penalty for offering coverage which fails to meet essential benefits is clearly absurd and sizable, but the penalty for not offering coverage at all would actually cost them less than offering coverage in the first place (around $26 million per year). The “gun to your head” penalty was the one which moved the court on the Medicaid/federalism question before, in a ruling that unexpectedly led to half the states declining to expand Medicaid. Justices Kagan and Sotomayor stressed this in oral argument and the Court could have found that this factor removes the pressure of an actual requirement. You can understand the reasoning: Just like the requirement to purchase insurance, it’s not illegal, it’s just a tax!