Posts tagged ‘Florida Democrats’

Ethanol, Florida Style

It is difficult to imagine that we would have the extensive, absurd subsidies of corn ethanol that we have today if it were not for the fact that Iowa is the first stop on the presidential campaign trail.  Every four years, here-to-fore fiscally sober and rational candidates stand up on Iowa TV and pledge to support ethanol subsidies.

But today it appears the primaries are finally over (it appears that Ms. Clinton will bow out tonight) and so attention now focuses on the general election.  And though I am not really an expert, I would presume the election will again turn on a few states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and, of course, Florida.

It appears that Florida Democrats have a plan to parlay their swing state status into pork, in the same way that Iowa has done for years.  The only difference is the issue is not ethanol, it's subsidizing beach-front homes:

As hurricane season begins, Democrats in Congress want to nationalize a
chunk of the insurance business that covers major storm-damage claims.

The proposal -- backed by giant insurers Allstate Corp. and State Farm
Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., as well as Florida lawmakers --
focuses on "reinsurance," the policies bought by insurers themselves to
protect against catastrophic losses. The proposal envisions a
taxpayer-financed reinsurance program covering all 50 states, which
would essentially backstop the giant insurers in case of disaster.

The program could save homeowners roughly $500 apiece in annual
premiums in Florida, according to an advocacy group backed by Allstate
and State Farm, the largest writers of property insurance in the U.S.

But environmentalists and other critics -- including the American
Insurance Association, a major trade group -- say lower premiums would
more likely spur irresponsible coastal development, already a big
factor in insurance costs. The program could also shift costs to
taxpayers in states with fewer natural-disaster risks....

The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support, 258-155, late
last year, despite a presidential veto threat. Although a Senate vote
is unlikely this year, proponents are trying to make it a litmus-test
issue in the presidential race. The two Democratic contenders, Sen.
Hillary Clinton of New York and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, in their
recent visits to Florida -- a key swing state -- have both voiced
support for the plan.

Big winners would be coastal states, particularly Florida, where more
than half of the nation's hurricane risk is centered. Currently,
property-insurance rates in Florida are among the highest in the
nation. Florida also has a struggling state reinsurance fund that would
be helped by a federal program....

Florida's status as a presidential swing state has helped the plan win
support from Sens. Clinton and Obama. Sen, Clinton is one of the bill's
co-authors, along with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida.

Florida Democrats' effort to make a federal disaster fund a big issue
in this year's presidential race was one reason the state moved up its
primary election to January from March, defying party rules. (That move
is partly what's behind the current, heated battle between the
Democratic candidates over how to count Florida's delegates in the
nominating race.)