This presidential election cycle, Republicans are increasingly willing to take a tough stand on ethanol subsidies. The latest to stake out a potentially damaging position on the issue, which heavily effects Iowa, is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Palin told Real Clear Politics on Tuesday that she opposes all energy subsidies. “I think that all of our energy subsidies need to be relooked at today and eliminated,” Palin said.
The possible presidential candidate continued, “we need to make sure that we’re investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren’t going to necessitate subsidies because, bottom line, we can’t afford it.”
Palin’s rationale will likely resonate with free market conservatives. “We’ve got to allow the free market to dictate what’s most efficient and economical for our nation’s economy. No, at this time, our country can’t afford the subsidies,” she said.
Despite the strongly-worded opposition to subsidies, Palin offered a qualifier. Referencing recent comments by President Obama, Palin said, “Before, though, we even start arguing about some of these domestic subsidies that need to be eliminated — should be — we need to look at ending subsidies and loans to foreign countries and their energy production that we’re relying on, like Brazil.”
Palin was in Pennsylvania on a cross-country bus tour of the nation’s historical sites.
The current Republican field is increasingly leaning against subsidies. Of the leading candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich are subsidy supporters. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has called for the gradual elimination of energy subsidies.