About time! Wall Street and wealthy country club Republicans too often play the Democrat game of government subsidies for their favorite crony capitalists...
"...some Republicans these days are starting to stand up for capitalism more, and not just for the so-called capitalists."
"Republican Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., together with Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor, have proposed a bill to end the ethanol mandate, a blatant boondoggle for agribusiness.
The ethanol bill follows a string of other GOP-led attacks on corporate welfare programs. Sugar subsidies, export subsidies, energy tax credits, and too-big-to-fail banks have all been the targets of GOP legislation in the current Congress.
Barrasso's bill would repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard created by the 2005 Energy Bill and expanded by the 2007 bill. In the House, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has a bill doing the same.
The RFS requires refiners to blend a certain quantity of "renewable fuels," such as corn ethanol and cellulosic ethanol, into their gasoline. If you see a gas pump reading "contains 10 percent ethanol," that's not because Exxon wants it there - it's because Exxon is required to blend it with their petroleum.
Along those same lines, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., introduced bills this month to abolish the Export-Import Bank, a government agency that subsidizes U.S. exports. Ex-Im dedicates a vast majority of loan-guarantee money to subsidizing Boeing jets. Dan Rather recently found that Ex-Im officials travelled to Australia, first class and business class, on the dime of Australia Pacific LNG, which subsequently got $5 million in taxpayer-backed financing from Ex-Im.
Other corporate welfare has received scrutiny from this Congress. Toomey teamed up with Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire to craft a farm-bill amendment that would shrink the sugar program - a web of loans and protectionist trade policy that subsidizes sugar producers at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.
Republicans are even joining Democrats in targeting Wall Street's goodies. Late last year, Congress refused to renew a special bank-bailout provision called the Transaction Account Guarantee. And conservative Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has signed onto a bill with liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to reign in big banks and discourage them from becoming even bigger.
Whence this newfound GOP antagonism to corporate welfare? One factor is the Tea Party's clash with the K Street wing of the GOP. It matters that Toomey and Lee came to the Senate by defeating K Street in GOP primaries. Until Toomey's primary challenge pushed incumbent Arlen Specter to switch to the Democrats in 2009, Specter was the Republican with the most donations from Wall Street. Business PACs and K Street lobbyists all lined up against Lee in his 2010 primary.