Most farmers in red states are decidedly red. The key issues: guns, gays, God, war, torture, and the firm conviction they are right about all of them make them the Republican party's most loyal (albeit sparse) votes. Sen. McCain will test that linkage as never before, and he told farmers this in Ames, IA last November, by hitting them where it hurts.
Many Iowans have heard that I oppose federal subsidies for ethanol production. Some of you will have heard that I oppose a protective tariff against sugar-based ethanol imports from places like Brazil. Some of my opponents will describe my positions as opposition to American ethanol producers or, for some inexplicable reason, a personal dislike of Iowa. Neither is true, of course, and I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight. But I have always believed before you can win someone's vote, you have to earn their respect. And I intend to earn your respect by being honest with you.Yikes! But consider that the current front-runner for the GOP VP slot is Gov. Tim Pawlenty from Minnesota (Land of 10,000 Mandates). This strikes me as more than curious.
Yes, I oppose subsidies. Not just ethanol subsidies. Subsidies. And not just in Iowa either. I oppose them in my own state of Arizona. I am a proud of the conservative tradition that the government can sometimes best serve the interests of the American people by knowing when to stay out of their way. And I've always been reluctant to grow the size of government to do the business of the American people for them or to favor one industry over another or because one sector of our economy has better lobbyists than another. I want the government to do its job, not your job, to do it better and to do it with less of your money. I want our economy to grow, not the size of government. And I don't want government to divert resources from the growing industries that hold the key to America's continued economic success. Excessive and intrusive regulation undermines the flexibility needed for business success.
There is no economic force on this globe that is stronger than free people. Entrepreneurs lie at the heart of innovation, growth, and advancing prosperity. Entrepreneurs should not be shackled by excessive regulation that raises the cost of business. Entrepreneurs should not be disadvantaged by earmarking and pork-barrel spending that favors politically connected competitors.
I trust Americans, I trust markets and I oppose subsidies. As President, I'll propose a national energy strategy that will amount to a declaration of independence from the risk bred by our reliance on petro-dictators and our vulnerability to the troubled politics of the lands they rule. That strategy won't be another grab bag of handouts to this or that industry and a full employment act for lobbyists.
Yes, that means no ethanol subsidies. But it also means no rifle-shot tax breaks for big oil. It means no line items for hydrogen, no mandates for other renewable fuels, and no big-government debacles like the Dakotas Synfuels plant. It means ethanol entrepreneurs get a level playing field to make their case -- and earn their profits. [More]
Should Sen. McCain choose Pawlenty, I think the above quote will fade into empty rhetoric. Despite his efforts to portray himself as a fiscal hawk, he is far more interested in lowering taxes than controlling spending. This urge arises from the now debunked myth that tax cuts "pay for themselves".
The recent analysis by Mr. Page at the Congressional Budget Office dismisses the idea that tax cuts may actually improve the government's fiscal situation. Even in his most generous scenario, only 28 percent of lost tax revenue is recouped over a 10-year period. The United States, it seems, is firmly planted on the left side of the Laffer Curve. Recent experience corroborates this prediction. In the second quarter of 2001, just before the first of President Bush's tax cuts took effect, federal receipts from personal taxes accounted for 10.3 percent of the economy. By the end of the post-recession slump, receipts had dropped to 6.4 percent. But in the third quarter of 2005, with the economy booming, they were still under 7.5 percent - an enormous difference. In dollar terms, federal receipts from personal income taxes, at $802 billion in 2004, are still lower than they were in 1998 ($826 billion) and much lower than in 2001 ($994 billion). ... [More]Yo, Senator - we've heard this refrain from other so-called "fiscal conservatives". So, how's about cutting spending first, and then cut taxes.
Farmers can relax, IMHO and vote on issues that really matter, like "elitism", secure in the knowledge that a well-trained Congress will curb the War Hero's rational economic instincts.
Unless, of course, we fail to push through another "Corn-first" Farm Bill.
Then it will get really interesting.