Although the federal government is actually in a budget crisis and our elected so-called representatives claim to be dealing with it, they are acting rather like they are in denial, or still embroiled in such petty partisan bickering that they refuse to make difficult choices with short-run costs and long-run benefits.
Take ethanol subsidies and tariff protections, on which the KP position for years has been for their elimination on both economic and environmental grounds. Now that even Al Gore admits that they were a mistake and have not delivered on lower emissions, lower use of fossil fuels, lower gasoline prices, and lower oil imports, can’t we finally just vote them off the island?
Apparently not. Yesterday the Senate had an opportunity to end the $6 billion in annual ethanol subsidies, which would take a nice chunk out of the budget deficit and chip away at the national debt; it would also provide a salutary psychological message to the American public that our elected so-called representatives are not as feckless as they appear.
Yet they failed to do so. If they cannot make a decision that is as patently obvious as this one, will they be able to decide on anything that will bring the budget away from the brink? If they can’t end ethanol subsidies, that does not portend well for avoiding default.