Thanks once again to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!
Some of you True Believers probably ingested some ethanol over the weekend just past, in various forms – I know I did. The problem is, your car or truck is ingesting it too, and unlike your consumption, your vehicle’s ethanol is heavily subsidized by the Imperial government. We could save folks a lot of money by getting rid of the whole ethanol scam. Excerpt:
The Scientific American reports that roughly 40% of America’s corn crop goes to manufacture ethanol added to gasoline. That is more than the second largest use of corn — as feed for cattle, pigs and chickens — which consumes 36% of the annual corn crop. Is it wise to burn food for fuel, more than for feeding a hungry world?
Using so much of the corn crop for fuel has already caused world corn prices to rise sharply. That is not noticed in rich countries, but it has caused food riots in poor, Third World countries, where poor families consequently suffer hunger.
This is particularly outdated in a world flooded by oil and natural gas, due to the effects of modern fracking. That flood has already caused world prices of oil and gas to sink.
Contributing to these perverse effects is the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). That policy requires all transportation fuels sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum level of renewable fuels, such as ethanol.
Ethanol lobbyists say the RFS promotes economic growth. But the RFS is more like a tax increase than economic growth. The free market will always choose the least costly fuel alternative, without the need for any regulatory mandate. The ethanol mandate just raises costs above whatever the least costly alternative is.
The ethanol subsidy is, of course, heavily lobbied for in the farm states; a candidate cannot be elected dogcatcher in places like my own home state of Iowa if they don’t support various agricultural subsidies, including the ethanol horseshit. And also, in those same places, you’ll hear a lot of rhetoric from pols about protecting the “family farm.”
But a farm – full disclosure, I come from a long line of farmers on both sides of my family – is not a holy calling. It’s just a business, like any other. And business models change. Big corporate farms produce goods for consumers at lower cost than family farms, and subsidies in agricultural goods, like with any other goods, just screw up the self-regulating nature of markets and are always, in the end, inflationary.
Markets, not governments, should pick winners and losers. That applies to fuels, foods, and everything else.