Ethanol, Warming, and GOP Suicide

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 11:13 am by Neal

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Now that President Bush is determined to “secure his legacy” by embracing Al Gore, the likelihood of a recession exacerbated by energy and food inflation is all but guaranteed. There’s your legacy, Mr. President. A large contributor to the huge spike in food prices is demon ethanol which is also leading to food shortages and hunger:

Energy: The world’s poor are learning what happens when government subsidizes the burning of food. It’s time to end this madness and let the market decide if any biofuels make sense. …

Then there’s the biofuels craze, fueled by mandates and subsidies in Europe and the U.S.

In America, the federal government pushes the production of ethanol from corn with a rich mix of tax incentives and protectionism. Refiners get a 51-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol they produce and are shielded from cheaper imported ethanol with a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff.

The result, totally by design, is that a huge swath of the U.S. corn crop that would otherwise go to food for people and animals is diverted to ethanol.

The National Corn Growers Association says 2.3 billion bushels of corn, or nearly a fifth of U.S. production, went into ethanol in 2007. That’s up 28% in just one year. It also is 18% of U.S. corn production, a percentage that is bound to soar.

Ethanol production reached 6.5 billion gallons in 2007, and it’s headed to a federally mandated 9 billion this year.

What does this artificially pumped-up ethanol industry do to prices? On corn, now at a record $6 a bushel, its impact is clear enough. And high-priced corn makes food costlier in all the supermarket aisles, from baked goods and cereal to meat and soft drinks.

Ethanol demand also raises the cost of other grains, such as soybeans, by crimping supply; it shifts land to corn production and leaves that much less for other crops.

For all this, it does little to cut oil imports, offers no more than modest price relief to motorists and, when all the environmental impacts of its production and use are weighed in the balance, isn’t much greener than gasoline.

Now the world’s poor must struggle, as they haven’t in years, to pay for their next meal. Zoellick says the demand for ethanol and other biofuels is a “significant contributor” to the food crisis. He’s part of a rising chorus of critics (including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown) who want more scrutiny of how the biofuels push affects food costs.

Thank you, global warming, for jump starting world-wide starvation through the ethanol scam. Burning food is oh, so smart and hip to the eco-nuts. Think about it: Burning food. And they call themselves environmentalists?

And now that a recession looms, primarily due to energy and food prices and the credit crunch, here comes President Bush embracing a scheme that is guaranteed to send energy prices through the roof. Deep, deep recession, here we come. Thank you, President Bush! What a great legacy this will be! Writing at the corner, Iain Murray sums it up:

I fear this is likely to be another Harriet Miers/immigration fiasco. We are hearing some very bad things from reputable sources. One who certainly cannot be dismissed commented that “the last line of defense has been breached” and that “it will be very bad.” No matter how they spin it, any mention of mandatory emissions limits amounts to an invitation to a cap and trade regime at the very least. Once you’ve conceded that, then you have an open invitation not to something weaker, but to something stronger than Lieberman-Warner.

And it’s just crazy to propose something that will raise energy prices when we stand on the brink of a recession! There are food riots all over the world caused partly by the biofuels idiocy (something else the President endorsed in the hopes of winning plaudits that never came from the left) and partly by high energy prices. This can only make that situation worse, and possibly lead to genuine hunger problems in America (as opposed to the “food insecurity” nonsense). Moreover, increasing energy prices hurts red states more than blue states — a fine reward for those who voted for the president in the belief they would thereby avoid Al Gore’s policies.

Moreover, politically this leaves those Republicans and (yes, some) Democrats who have been holding the line in support of the American consumer hanging out to dry. By this — oh so unnecessary — concession, the President will have shifted the political center on energy and environment policy violently to the left. In that respect, this is a political earthquake. And having had this victory over what they regard as their greatest foe, don’t imagine the left will stop there.

Murray is right. All of this is completely unnecessary. If ethanol is so damned great, let it compete with other alternative energies without massive subsidies and tariffs. Cap and trade is insane. You think food and energy is expensive now? Just wait what President Bush has in store.

As Michelle Malkin so aptly puts it, The enviro-nitwit-ization of the GOP is complete:

“Unwilling to stand for scientific integrity, rational cost-benefit analyses, private property rights, and free market environmentalism in a hysterical effort to out-gore Al Gore: That’s your GOP.”

Yep. Unless your goal is to purge the earth of the “human virus,” this is a sad day indeed. The GOP’s failure is complete.


Neal Boortz adds, You Can Thank Government For Price Increases:

What the government and the Bush administration doesn’t want to tell you is that food prices are increasing because of government. Government demanded a five-fold increase in the production of corn-based ethanol fuel in order to appease environmentalists. Now the Bush administration wants to blame rising food prices on high energy costs. Could he possibly be talking about the high ethanol prices that are caused by all of those government subsidies for the ethanol industry? Just wondering.

Just take a look at the facts. Consumer food prices generally rise by about 2.5% a year. In 2007, these prices rose by 4%. That is the largest increase in 17 years. Stand by and look at the bright side … they’re only going to get higher as our governments react to this idiotic global warming alarmism and turn more of our arable land to the production of ethanol and other bio fuels.

Here are some facts for you. Ethanol makers will consume one quarter of the 13 billion US corn crop this year. Chickens and cows (Eggs, beef, milk) don’t appreciate this. Right now in the United States, there are about 35 million acres enrolled in the US Conservation Reserve Program. This is where the government pays landowners to sit on their butts and do nothing with their “environmentally sensitive land.” Even if just 5 million of those acres came out of the program, and you planted corn on every inch of that land, you might affect the price by maybe 20 cents.

I read this statistic on the air yesterday, but it is worth putting it down in writing for you to really see what is going on here. It takes 232kg of corn to fill a 50 liter tank of gas with ethanol. That corn used to fill one car tank with ethanol is enough to feed one child for an entire year. A year! Maybe we can genetically alter babies to drink ethanol.

Here are some more great facts on ethanol that these global warmers won’t tell you. You thought oil companies got large subsidies?? Think again.

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