Bipartisan support to end ethanol subsidies?

In today's political climate in the U.S., it's rare to find bipartisan support for anything, let alone an eminently sensible idea like ending subsidies for ethanol. (Not to be confused with cutting the cellulosic ethanol RFS requirement for 2011 by 97%, which is unfortunate but necessary given that we haven't actually figured out yet how to produce cellulosic ethanol economically at scale.) It will be interesting to see how the 42 ethanol state senators push back against this one, but it does seem that the shifting balance toward fiscal conservatism makes it both more likely that subsidies could expire and more difficult for them to be re-established once the do, as NRDC's Nathanael Greene points out in the NY Times article.

I'm not close enough to corn futures markets to know to what extent the expectation of lapsing subsidies is baked in, but I'll be very curious to see how world grain prices react if subsidies are allowed to expire. The discontinuity may give us a crude sort of counterfactual to help answer the persistent question of how much biofuels drive up food prices.

Via Michael Roberts, who's also cheering.

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