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Tale Of Two Subsidies
4/17/2009

It's the worst of times for taxpayers but the best of times for federal subsidies. Here are two stories to illustrate the point.

From The Wall Street Journal's news pages:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has opened the door to allowing higher mixes of ethanol in gasoline, a potential boon to farmers and the struggling ethanol industry, but opposed by auto makers whose consumer warranties typically are tied to the current EPA standard.

The agency Thursday said it is seeking comment on whether to allow ordinary gasoline to consist of as much as 15% ethanol, an additive that has been heavily promoted by farm states. For decades, the EPA has allowed gasoline to include up to 10% ethanol. More here.

From The Wall Street Journal's editorial page:

Back in 2005, Congress passed a highway bill. In its wisdom, it created a subsidy that gave some entities a 50-cents-a-gallon tax credit for blending "alternative" fuels with traditional fossil fuels. The law restricted which businesses could apply and limited the credit to use of fuel in motor vehicles.

Not long after, some members of Congress got to wondering if they couldn't tweak this credit in a way that would benefit specific home-state industries.† More here.

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