Study Boosts Ethanol As Fuel by Joseph
Emissions study finds it’s not “negative” on energy.
Bush Takes Ethanol Message on Road by Joseph
Follow-ups to State of the Union press for break from oil “addiction.”
President George W. Bush seems to
have ruled out any kind of a bailout for American carmakers. But that hasn’t
stopped the domestic brands from soliciting support for policies related to
research and healthcare that bolster their interests.
This odd coalition is growing even
broader as environmentalists, who were having a hard time deciding whether or
not ethanol was a good idea, and deficit hawks, who eventually want to get rid
of farm subsidies, are being won over to the idea of running motor vehicles
on ethanol and ethanol blends such as E85. Even Mel Martinez, the Republican
Gordon Wangers of AMCI of
Oceanside, Calif., suggests that using ethanol as a motor fuel isn’t going to
happen unless the federal government steps in directly, probably with
subsidies or big tax credits. The reason? There simply aren’t enough ethanol
stations in the
Carmakers also are making some
headway on the other key issue of healthcare, which once again has become a big
topic of discussion in
Richard Wagoner, GM’s chief
executive officer, said last week that the nation’s current healthcare system
isn’t working. GM’s decision to cap spending on retiree healthcare, combined
with the Bush administration’s desire to hold down the rate of increase in
spending by the huge Medicare program, which covers all senior citizens, is
bound to put even more pressure on the healthcare delivery system.
In addition, dissatisfaction among
senior citizens with the new Medicare drug benefit is leading to talk about the
need for changes, including provisions that would force the pharmaceutical
companies to offer discounts to the federally backed program. A new “Wal-Mart
Meanwhile, a new pension bill, written partially with the concerns of the automakers and the United Auto Workers in mind, is now pending in the U.S. Senate. The bill would require companies offering pensions to pay larger premiums for the mandatory fund insurance offered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., but the full-funding requirements for pensions will be watered down, according to critics of the legislation. The legislation was envisioned as a way to tighten up the accounting requirements around traditional pension funds such as those operated by GM, Ford, and Chrysler.