IBD-Investors Business Daily is the chamber of commerce of business daily newspapers. It caters to small and upcoming businesses – the Russell 2000 companies. This is not a bad marketplace to be in today as the need to change and grow new companies becomes the norm in the business world. Also the IBD offers some interesting and contrarian investment analysis. However, coming to the IBD for editorials shows a distinctly Jekyll and Hyde approach to opinion and political/business commentary.
Here is the Jekyll commentary on spending on ethanol:
A GOP senator and a Democratic congressman want to end the poster child for pork-barrel spending. Unfortunately, the road to the White House runs through the cornfields of Iowa.
It’s easy to lampoon federal spending on turtle tunnels, bridges to nowhere or cowboy poetry readings. It is harder to deal with subsidies and tax credits for things that do real damage to our collective bottom line. Case in point: the tax credit for and mandated use of ethanol, the corn-based additive to gasoline that was supposed to save the earth and gasoline and pave the way to energy independence.
It has achieved neither, and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is trying to end this mother of all corporate welfare programs. He is joined in the effort by Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Charles Koch of the famous Koch brothers. He is opposed by just about every presidential contender and conservatives such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
Norquist says ending the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, which provides a 45-cents-a-gallon tax credit to ethanol producers, without an offsetting tax cut elsewhere, amounts to a tax increase that violates the no-new-taxes pledge he and his group demand from candidates. Coburn disagrees, and so do we. Ending a tax credit is not a tax increase but rather the elimination of one of many distortions in the tax code that try to pick winners and losers….
This a balanced report one might expect in the Atlantic or Washington Post. It is notable for its bipartisan viewpoint – giving credit to Republican and Democratic legislators while showing the real villain of the piece – the fact that Presidential campaigning starts in Iowa and so also on a bipartisan basis cuts to Ethanol=Corn subsidies are going nowhere. And boldly exposing Grover Norquist and his adamant “no new taxes’ approach which paralyzes real Federal budget reform. This is an enlightened editorial.
Next is the Hyde coverage on President Obama on oil and energy policy:
Our Laughing President Leadership: Making jokes about remembering what it was like to pump gas or speaking at a foreign-owned wind turbine plant does not ease the pain at the pump that has been orchestrated by the White House. President Obama found time on the eve of a possible government shutdown to dine with the Rev. Al Sharpton, address his National Action Network Annual Gala and make quips about an energy crisis America finds increasingly unfunny.
“I don’t pump gas now, but I remember what it was like pumping gas. … I remember the end of the month (paying bills) .. . I remember that,” the president joked Wednesday. Now he spends his time running up the nation’s bills while he fulfills his campaign promise to make energy prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
The president said he was not “out of touch” as the media accused President George H.W. Bush of being when he demonstrated unfamiliarity with supermarket scanners. No, the president is plugged into reality as he test-drives overpriced electric cars no one wants and tours foreign-owned wind turbine plants.
The IBD editorial writer takes a shrill tone with no sympathy whatsoever for anything that President Obama might be doing. What is so appalling is the lack of civilty in the discourse. And then there is the tacit excuse for this vitriol – George W. Bush was constantly attacked in the progressive press, so the IBD is just returning fire. In sum with editorials like these, ye Editor wonders what type of investment advice is being offered – probing and insightful or self-serving. In short, IBD is shorting their own reputation with this voltatile editorial performance. It makes one think – how canny and savvy are these IBD gals and guys?