corn statueWhen seven Republican presidential hopefuls gather in Iowa for a candidates' debate tonight night, they'd better be ready to discuss corn and ethanol. Based on what we've seen buzzing around the media for the last few weeks, we expect biofuel will be a hot topic. Here are their stances on the federal subsidy for ethanol producers:
  • Michele Bachmann: Kind of against. Has called for a re-examination of the subsidies.
  • Herman Cain: Supports. Has said, "Let's be honest, ethanol is not going to save this country from its dependence on foreign oil. I believe we need to take advantage of all the resources that we have and the Congressional Research Service has indicated we have plenty of resources, including ethanol."
  • Newt Gingrich: Supports.
  • Ron Paul: Against. Way against.
  • Tim Pawlenty: Against, wants to reform the system.
  • Mitt Romney: Supports, says ethanol is "an important part of our energy solution in this country."
  • Rick Santorum: said that his anti-ethanol subsidy stance, won't hurt him in the state because he thinks current ethanol production processes have gotten efficient enough for the companies to be "weaned off the subsidy."
Even Republican politicians and celebrities who are not going to debate in Iowa have made statements about the biofuel and America's agribusiness policy. Sarah Palin said she's against corn subsidies and Jon Huntsman told Politico/ABC News that he is "not competing in Iowa," because "I don't believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol."

Even in Iowa, blind support for government assistance is no longer a given. U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA) said recently that he would support eliminating the federal ethanol subsidy. Of course, not everyone thinks that being against the ethanol subsidies is all that politically courageous, but all this criticism is a shift from tradition, so that's something.

[Source: Domestic Fuel, NACS Online, Politico, Radio Iowa, The Gazette, The Hill | Image: Kevin Briody – C.C. License 2.0