Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Ethanol industry allows its politicians to permit expiration of its tax credit and tariff" (ADM; PEIX; GPRE; CRDE)

It's been so long since I've seriously considered these stocks that I've forgotten some of the symbols.
[and he doesn't forget much -ed]
From Knowledge Problem:
The Des Moines Register has one version of the story - the agribusiness industry decided it could do without the subsidy since the renewable fuels mandate seemed securely in place:
So established is corn-fed ethanol that the industry allowed the expiration of the 45 cents-per-gallon tax credit for ethanol production, as well as the 54-cent fee on ethanol imports, to lapse at the end of this year, preferring to fall back on defense of the Renewable Fuel Standard set in the 2007 law.
The New York Times describes the story somewhat differently. In the Times version, the end of the subsidy and tariff was a victory for environmentalists and fiscal conservatives over agribusiness. The story includes approving remarks from both the Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), from both Friends of the Earth policy analyst Michal L. Rosenoer and Competitive Enterprise Institute fellow Marlo Lewis.

The Register headline appears to predict ethanol industry growth, “EPA: Ethanol production expected to grow in 2012,” with the first sentence indicating “an increase of about 1.25 billion gallons from this year.” But the expected growth is actually just the increase in the mandate, as the story in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader makes clear: “The federal government has set its target for biofuels production in 2012, increasing by 1.25 billion gallons the amount of ethanol and biofuels that must be blended into the fuel supply.”
The Register story also notes the self-imagined munificence of the ethanol lobby....MORE
Here's a March 2007 post "Ethanol, Rent-seeking,ADM and God" which was one of my first attempts at the raconteur style of blogging:
In 1995 The Cato Institute put their imprimatur on a paper that said each dollar of Archer Daniels Midland's ethanol profit cost the American taxpayer $30. This wasn't quite fair, as it ascribed all government subsidy costs to ADM's lobbying efforts.

Dwayne Andreas was a prodigious lobbyist. This from SourceWatch: "A Watergate-era investigation led to criminal charges that he had illegally contributed $100,000 to Humphrey's 1968 campaign for President, but Andreas was acquitted. And his $25,000 cash donation to President Richard M. Nixon's re-election bid in 1972 became a focus of Watergate inquiry into abuses surrounding unreported campaign money. According to an investigative memo uncovered in 1992 that quotes President Nixon's personal secretary Rosemary Woods, Andreas delivered $100,000 in $100 bills to the White House shortly before the 1972 election."
I've looked at love from both sides now.

Mr. Andreas' motivation was higher than just rent-seeking for ADM, The Washington Post noted in 1985 that "Andreas said he was raised in a religious tradition that called for 'tithing' 10 percent of personal income to the church. And, he adds, 'I consider politics to be just like the church.'"

A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the cost to the taxpayer for each dollar of ADM's ethanol profit is down to $2.85. The current round of subsidies are set to expire in 2010.
Apparently the subsidies got extened for a year somewhere twixt then and now.