Scott Walker Flip-Flops in Favor of Federal Ethanol Mandate
Wisconsin governor, no stranger to corporate welfare, sings a new tune in front of Iowa farmers
In 2006, when he was running for governor, Scott Walker took the opportunity of a proposed statewide ethanol mandate (which his opponent favored) to declare his opposition to all ethanol mandates, state or federal:
"Currently, we have a problem with big government in Madison. On principle, I cannot support this proposal.
"It is clear to me that a big government mandate is not the way to support the farmers of this state," he continued [in a statement]. "Central planning will not help our family farmers, protect our environment or provide jobs. The free-enterprise system must drive innovation to relieve our dependence on foreign oil, not mandates from the state or federal government."
Bolding mine, to cut to the quick.
So what does Gov. Walker say now, in the early-caucus state of Iowa, as he vaults at or near the top of 2016 GOP presidential polls? That he's in favor of the (stupid, wasteful, and destructive) federal mandate, and that maybe he'd think about phasing it out in some dim future (when presumably not running for president in Iowa). Partial transcript of his reasoning, such as it is:
"I'm willing to go forward on continuing the Renewable Fuel Standard and pressing the EPA to make sure there's certainty in terms of the blend levels set. […]
"Now, long-term […] my goal would be to get to a point where we directly address those market access issues and I think that's a part of the challenge. So that eventually you didn't need to have a standard just like you no longer need in the industry to have the subsidies that were there before to help insure we had a strong system. I think eventually you can get to that. But you can't get to that unless you deal with market access. […]
"That's ultimately the best way, to let the market decide, but right now we don't have a free and open marketplace. So that's why I'm willing to take that position."
Washington Examiner columnist Philip Klein delivers the appropriate snort; his colleague Rebecca Berg tracks down other GOP embarrassments on ethanol, as well as this more appropriate answer from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas):
"I don't think Washington should be picking winners and losers," Cruz said frankly.
Walker is no stranger to corporate welfare, supporting as he does $220 million in state-backed bonds so that Milwaukee can help build a new arena for its professional basketball team. No word yet on whether he thinks those welfare recipients should be drug-tested.