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Ethanol's Sins, Menthol Cigarettes and Property Rights

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Ethanol's Sins, Menthol Cigarettes and Property Rights

USA Today details the troubling side effects of using corn-based ethanol as an auto fuel.

Legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco companies faces a likely veto.

Major new housing legislation contains spending provisions that go far beyond bailing out holders of subprime mortgages.

1. ENERGY

USA Today details the troubling side effects of using corn-based ethanol as an auto fuel.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis on the economics of biofuels like ethanol:

“The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) [recently] released an Economic Assessment of Biofuel Support Policies. Several findings should be of interest. First, taxpayers are paying a pretty penny for biofuel subsidies and tax breaks. EU, U.S., and Canadian government support was $11 billion per year in 2006, and will rise under current policies to $25 billion per year during 2013-17. Second, in most countries, biofuels remain highly dependent on government support.’

 

2. CONGRESS

Legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco companies faces a likely veto.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Special Projects Counsel Hans Bader on the possible trade dispute over menthols and clove cigarettes:

“The FDA tobacco regulation bill poised to pass Congress may trigger a trade dispute with Indonesia, according to the Asia Times. Indonesia objects to the fact that the bill would ban clove cigarettes (produced by Indonesia) while permitting the continued sale of menthol cigarettes. Only a tiny fraction — perhaps 1/1,000th — of American smokers smoke clove cigarettes. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country (and historically one of the most friendly), argues that this is discriminatory and not justified by any health concerns, since it claims clove cigarettes are no more dangerous than menthol cigarettes.”

 

3. BUSINESS

Major new housing legislation contains spending provisions that go far beyond bailing out holders of subprime mortgages.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Berlau on what else is in the bill:

“Of all the unintended consequences of the housing bill that passed the House [recently] — of which there will likely be many — one of the most ironic and far-reaching may be this: that whatever security marginal homeowners have from foreclosures, their homes will be far less safe from being taken by a bureaucrat through eminent domain. That’s because the bill unveiled this week — as the result of negotiations between House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson — takes specific language protecting property rights from the housing bill that most recently passed the Senate and renders it almost meaningless. As a result, the billions of dollar in new grants the bill provides for “the production, preservation and rehabilitation” of housing units, could stimulate a bonanza of state and local property confiscation of the type green-lighted in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Kelo v. New London.”