Cruz's Victory Is a Welcome Sign That the End Is Near for Corny Crony Capitalism

The Texas senator is the first presidential candidate to win in Iowa while opposing federal support for ethanol.


Fox News

Ted Cruz's victory in Iowa yesterday does not bode well for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a 2005 federal mandate that props up the biofuel industry by requiring oil refiners to mix ethanol into gasoline. Support for the RFS, and for the ethanol subsidies that preceded it, has long been considered politically smart for presidential candidates hoping to do well in Iowa, where corn farmers and the companies that turn their crop into fuel benefit from federal favoritism at the expense of motorists, livestock farmers, food buyers, and possibly even the environment (although reducing carbon emissions is the main rationale for preserving the mandate). But Cruz, whose principled opposition to the RFS earned him a rare anti-endorsement from Terry Branstad, Iowa's popular six-term governor, came out on top in yesterday's Republican caucus with 28 percent of the vote. Donald Trump—who has been very cozy with the ethanol industry, vowed to oppose "changing any part of the RFS," and slammed Cruz for saying the mandate should be phased out—got 24 percent.

Cruz and Rand Paul were the only two candidates to earn a "bad rating" from America's Renewable Future, a biofuel industry group whose state director is Branstad's son, for opposing the RFS. You can understand why all the other candidates decided to play it safe, even if they thought the RFS is bad policy (and in some cases had even said so), when you look at the history of Iowa caucus winners since 1980, the first presidential election year after Congress started subsidizing ethanol. On the Republican side, all the winners—George H.W. Bush (1980), Bob Dole (1988 and 1996), George W. Bush (2000), Mike Huckabee (2008), and Rick Santorum (2012)—were ethanol boosters. Likewise on the Democratic side: Jimmy Carter (1980), Walter Mondale (1984), Dick Gephardt (1988), Tom Harkin (1992), Al Gore (2000), John Kerry (2004), and Barack Obama (2008) all favored crony capitalism for corn. 

In other words, Cruz is the first presidential candidate to win the Iowa caucus while opposing federal support for corn-based ethanol (along with "all energy subsidies and mandates"). Maybe that's because ethanol's political significance has waned in Iowa recently, or maybe the issue was never as important as candidates believed. Either way, Cruz's victory is another welcome sign that this four-decade-old boondoggle is on its way out.

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  1. See? I knew Cruz had to be good for something.

    1. Prettiest pig in the pen.

  2. He’s good for many things.

    This is just one.

    1. No matter what you guys say, I still do not find Cruz sexy.

      But y’all go on with your bad selves. WALDT.

  3. You know, I was never really a fan of Trump (as a politician), even though I find his antics amusing.

    But, then I see this:

    Poll: 25% of federal employees would consider quitting if Trump becomes president

    1. Wow, based on that alone I would vote for Trump…if I thought they were serious.

      1. Yeah – like all those celebrities who promised to move to Canada if Bush was elected.

        1. Well, you know what liars Democrats are…

    2. If this were true there would be no civil servants left in the federal government, what with the last two administrations.

    3. “25% of federal employees would consider quitting if Trump becomes president”

      How is that a good thing? Many of those moochers would simply transition to freeloading full-time with generous pension benefits, AND a fresh crop of bloodsuckers would be hired to replace them. Or am I being too optimistic – they might hire twice as many new parasites because the old ones were so ‘valuable.’

    4. To sweeten the pot further: It’s mostly Democratic federal workers who’d consider quitting.

      1. The above statement is from the article. I’m not sure I agree, although I understand the sentiment. A GOP government worker would still need to enforce bad laws in order to retain his job.

      2. As long as the pot gets sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, both Dwayne Andreas and the Fanjul brothers will be happy.

        1. Pretty sure the Fanjuls would prefer cane sugar.

    5. Poll: 25% of federal employees would consider quitting if Trump becomes president

      “Other 75% would definitely do a ‘slow-down'”

      1. If 25% quit, then we should all apply for Federal Jobs, and then wreak havoc on the system, er, System.

  4. I’m pretty happy with this result. Yes, I would have preferred Dr. Paul. But, as bad as Cruz is on a good many counts, he’s a couple of orders of magnitude better than any other major party candidate whose last name isn’t Paul. Now, I’m sure Nick will have sand in his vagina over this, but I would hope we can agree that it’s good that a guy who at least sometimes remembers there’s a thing called the Constitution beat out Donald Trump.

    1. This whole Cruz Won meme is totally erroneous. TRUMP!!! won – it was inevitable.

  5. It pisses me off no end that nobody talks about Dwayne Andreas and the Fanjul brothers. Andreas is one of the biggest political donors around but, like Donald Trump, gives to both the Dems and the Reps which makes it pretty damn obvious paying off the pols is just business. The Fanjuls have a bigger chunk of the sugar market than Andreas has corn and it’s even more a soviet-style market, they’re invested in Rubio.

    1. You do realize that we purposefully refrain from discussing these gentlemen just to see your face get beet red, right?

      1. Beet red? Sugar beets are white. And they’re a stupid way to make sugar when you’ve got pitiful third-world sugar farmers who make sugar cheaper and could really use the business. Not as stupid as using corn as a sweetener, but just as evil.

        1. Sugar beets are white.

          I find this offensive.

        2. Those beets self-identify as blue, thank you very much.

    2. Latest musical offering from Dwayne Andreas and the Fanjul Brothers.

      Seriously, your points are well taken.

  6. Don’t forget about Tim Pawlenty in 2012. He went and told the Iowegians that as President he’d get rid of the ethanol subsidy too. Sure it was a last ditch effort by a weasel to try to jump start his campaign, but it sure didn’t work well for him.

    1. The Scott Walker of 2012. Nothing worked for either of them.

  7. I was assured by the Reason pants-shitters that TRUMP!!! was going to win. WTF happened?

    1. There are powerful forces that want to silence The Voice of The People.

  8. When 72% voted against you, you didn’t really win anything.

    1. Exactly. 8-7-7 gets us nowhere.

  9. By the way, if you want to see how Cruz did it, here:

    Never thought I’d say it, but libertarians could take a page out of Cruz’s playbook.

    1. “Update: some are saying they can’t get the video to work because of some Jade Helm Mossad conspiracy.”


    2. Your right – he has skills.

    3. He keeps popping up as the least bad option for me, since Rand isn’t going to be competitive.

  10. But Cruz, whose principled opposition…

    … is about as rock solid as toilet paper.

    See: sentencing reform.

  11. they are all the same guy…his wife was a term member of the Open Borders CFR

  12. Faith is a terrible thing to be without.

  13. The end is near? Really?

    GSAX slave wins first place and one hand washes the other is over?

    Does he wear gloves?

  14. The concept of alternative/renewable fuels is great on paper, the reality is; there is no free lunch. Ever.
    Yes, ethanol will burn in IC (internal combustion) engines, but not without a major hit in fuel economy and considerable engine modifications, at your expense, in the form of higher vehicle purchase costs. Ethanol cost more per gallon to produce and contains far less BTU’s of energy per unit. While this industry benefits a few agri-businesses, the country as a whole pays more per gallon for fuel and gets less miles per gallon for the privilege. Not surprisingly, this results in MORE pollution. As for who suffers the most.. the poorest among us are the earliest and the hardest hit. The same holds true for the increase in food costs.
    The pressure on the food market. Whenever food is diverted from the market (for whatever reason) prices rise. Supply and demand. For a basic crop like corn, the poor will always be the hardest hit.
    Not only must the ethanol subsidies end, but the entire practice of forcing the nation to ruin their engines using ethanol based fuels must be ended.
    Let the market decide which fuel they prefer, one that yields better economy, pollutes less and doesn’t ruin their planes, boats, mowers, blowers, chain saws, snowmobiles, ATV and every car made before 2006!

  15. “In other words, Cruz is the first presidential candidate to win the Iowa caucus while opposing federal support for corn-based ethanol…”

    He also made history as the first Latino to ever win a state presidential primary. I know because it was all over CNN, NBC, MSNBC, WashPost, NY Times…umm…never mind.

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