Finally, a bailout for ethanol producers. Why not? Iowa's presidential caucus is earlier than the Michigan primary, anyway.
"Some plants are under pressure because they've been speculating on corn," [Agriculture Secretary Ed] Schafer told reporters after speaking at the World Food Prize symposium breakfast.
The secretary said the department wouldn't buy or sell grain or cover trading losses. Rather, he said, money could come from the USDA's Rural Development office, which can provide up to $25 million to keep rural businesses operating.
The idea isn't getting a lot of attention in the final weeks of a presidential race, although Rep. Jeff Flake has spoken out.
"The federal government's ethanol policies have driven up the price of corn," said Flake. "But rather than reforming the policies that have caused a spike in corn prices, the federal government wants to bail out ethanol producers who speculated on the price of corn. Only the U.S. Department of Agriculture could dream up a policy like this."
Flake said tax breaks and credits for ethanol producers should be repealed. "The high price of corn has had a ripple effect over our entire economy. Instead of trying to bail out every industry hurt by it, the federal government needs to take a serious look at reforming our ethanol policies," said the East Valley Republican.
I realize this is an executive branch program, and this is unrelated, but: I'm not looking forward to this lame duck Congress. I don't think there'll be a lot of agreement with Flake.