A comprehensive study recently published by the nonpartisan International Institute for Sustainable Development estimates that federal and state subsidies for ethanol in 2006 were somewhere between $5.1 billion and $6.8 billion, and that they will soon increase, to as much as $8.7 billion annually, assuming no further change in policy.
Those estimates, moreover, are conservative, because they do not include the benefits bestowed by federal and state ethanol-consumption mandates, loan guarantees, subsidized loans, implicit subsidies provided by tax-exempt bond financing for the construction of ethanol processing plants, subsidized water for corn production, and state vehicle purchase incentives. Don’t forget the regulatory loophole given to manufacturers of flexfueled vehicles – cars that can run on gasoline or blends of gasoline and ethanol – under federal automobile fuel-efficiency mandates.
Given all the pork involved in the biofuels ripoff, I think that those politicians who support it ought to be called the Pig Club.
UPDATE: On this issue, Paul Krugman is in the anti-pig club. If the spectrum of opposition to ethanol subsidies goes from Jerry Taylor to Paul Krugman, it's pretty wide. Is there any economist who likes the subsidies? ...anyone? ...Bueller?