Ethanol lobby wins in Obama-GOP tax deal 

Income tax rates, unemployment extension, payroll tax holiday, blah blah blah. For someone like me, looking for the hand of special interests in all political deals, the headliners in the Obama-GOP tax deal were yawners. But dig deepers, and there's some real fun in there.

Iowa's Quad-City Times reports:

A deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts also includes action on ethanol and biodiesel credits, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday.

The details aren’t clear yet, but Grassley told reporters that the ethanol and biodiesel tax credits would get a temporary extension, through 2011....

The ethanol credit, at 45 cents per gallon, is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

Grassley said the biodiesel credit extension also included applying it retroactively to 2010.

The Renewable Fuels Association, according to Reuters, is saying "An extension of the major U.S. ethanol subsidy "is part of the deal at the moment" in negotiations for an omnibus tax bill but the size and lifespan of the subsidy are not set yet."

Here's my column about ethanol subsidies as a test of Republicans' concern for free markets.

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Timothy P. Carney

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