Bartle’s Second Reply to Stouffer
Yesterday, I was privileged to testify at a hearing on Senate Bill 11, proposed legislation that would discontinue Missouri’s ethanol gasoline mandate. If you are wondering why I use the term “privileged” here, I assure you that it has nothing to do with what I said — although I was definitely honored to be invited to testify by Sen. Bartle’s office. For a journalist’s take on the hearing, the News-Leader has the story (link via Combest).
It was a privilege because being at the committee hearing allowed me to listen to a truly wonderful debate among the seven senators involved in the ethanol issue, and larger issues of free markets versus government investment. Sen. Bartle was truly amazing. He expressed the power and beauty of free-market ideals with clarity and passion. One of his best lines was when he said, “This used to be an argument that Republicans had with Democrats. Now it’s an argument a small group of Republicans has with everyone else.” (The only thing I might add to that would be to say, “… a small group of Republicans, and an even smaller group of libertarians …”) It was inspiring to hear his arguments, which I obviously agreed with completely.
Just like the famous series of debates referenced in the title of this blog entry, though, all the senators involved did a great job of arguing their points. Having just read the new Andrew Jackson biography, I am aware that while history has glorified Daniel Webster for his speeches, the other participants (Benton, Livingston, and Hayne) all acquitted themselves well as a new nation tried to determine its future course. In the same way, the members of the committee that supported the ethanol mandate (i.e., all of them) made excellent arguments about how the mandate supports Missouri business, benefits drivers with competition, and more. I don’t agree with those arguments, but Sen. Stouffer and others, from both parties, did a fine job in making them.
outcome failure of this bill is essentially preordained, Sen. Bartle had the courage to bring it up, and demonstrated intensity in debating it. The members of the committee also skillfully argued for their constituencies. I think many of them agreed with much of what Sen. Bartle said, but decided that an exception should be made for ethanol. If this is an indication of the quality of debate we are getting in Jefferson City now, I may have to reverse my support for term limits. …