One man’s baloney is another’s tax credit

The three candidates who are vying for the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2010 nomination for U.S. Senate were on an Iowa Public Television set late this morning, taping an hour-long edition of “Iowa Press.”

During the program, candidate Tom Fiegen called the federal tax breaks for ethanol and biodiesel “baloney.”  The other two candidates, Roxanne Conlin and Bob Krause, did not endorse the baloney concept and, instead, said they support the two credits.  Read all about it here.

This was the third and final joint meeting of the three candidates.  They spent some time talking about trade policy, protectionism and the economy.  They also addressed issues ranging from a second stimulus bill (they all support it) to trying terror suspects in civilian courts (they all support it).

After the taping, I asked Fiegen where all the “good stuff” he promised he’d be dumping on Conlin had been.  Fiegen elaborated and, to paraphrase, she said he was full of baloney.

Read about Thursday night’s debate here.   Watch the hour-long “Iowa Press” here, or watch it tonight on IPTV from 7:30-8:30 p.m. or on Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  It will also air Saturday morning on IPTV’s “World” channel.  And here’s a bit more about what Fiegen, Conlin & Krause had to say after the show was taped.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Tom Fiegen is indeed a brave man to take on the biofuels lobby and their poodle politicians. Good luck to him!

    Krause, on the other hand, clearly needs to do some reading up on the industry with which he is besotted. He claims that ethanol is “an infant industry”, for example. Come again? People have been making ethyl alcohol from corn for centuries. And the current fuel-ethanol industry has been around since the 1970s. Even the U.S. Energy Information Administration has described the ethanol industry as “mature”. A more accurate term would be a spoiled young-adult of an industry — one that should have been weaned off the public teat long ago.

    Krause admits that the subsidies to the biofuels industries are “substantial” but argues that “if we don’t push in that direction, what else are we going to have?” Well, for one, wasn’t the plan to have more cellulosic ethanol? Not that I think that is coming any time soon, but there is little justification to continue subsidizing corn ethanol in the name of cellulosic ethanol. In any case, it is hardly a situation of “corn ethanol or nothing.” Clearly Krause doesn’t have the guts to stand up and tell the public that unless they are prepared to spend massively on fuel subsidies (not advisable: such subsidies are bankrupting those countries that have gone down that route) fuels are going to become more expensive, whether they like it or not. Corn ethanol is not going to change that. But that is not the end of the world: vehicles are also becoming more fuel efficient. Higher prices will encourage conservation and innovation in transport. We may see breakthroughs in electric transport as well. But politicians like Krause just can’t hold back: they feel they need to be seen to be backing a winning horse. If the horse loses one round, their instincts are to bet more (public) money on the same horse in the hope that it will eventually win and pay off.

    Roxanne Conlin is equally out of touch with reality if she believes that “We’re sending all kinds of money to people who hate us — $100 million a day to Iran.” Oh yeah? In what form? The United States imports no — zero — petroleum from Iran. And I can’t imagine that the country imports that volume of pistachio nuts from Persian farmers.

  2. Why, after more than a week, is my comment still “is awaiting moderation”?