Congressional Cowardice Sustains Ethanol Subsidies

At this moment, $6 billion in annual federal subsidies continue to be paid to American farmers to grow corn for producing ethanol. The ethanol continues to be added to gasoline, creating a mixture which will damage vehicles' engines and result in carbon emissions no lower than those produced by combusting the pure gasoline despised by eco-zealots. The subsidies--our tax money--have also fueled a doubling in corn prices during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

And all of this is happening because the people that currently dominate Congress continues to bow before the King Corn lobby and Corn Belt campaign contributors. Robert Bryce provides insight into the moral bankruptcy of Democrats and Republicans who didn't have the guts to end the ethanol subsidies earlier this year.

In early July, it appeared that a bipartisan group of senators had come up with a plan to end the 45-cents-per-gallon subsidy almost immediately rather than wait for it to expire, as planned, on Dec. 31.

But that deal never passed both houses of Congress.

[...]

So the ethanol industry will continue getting subsidies while gobbling up gargantuan quantities of corn, which, in turn, is increasing the cost of food at the grocery store at the very same time that huge numbers of Americans are unemployed and/or collecting food stamps.

[...]

...45.7 million Americans--about 14.6 percent of the population--now rely on federal food stamps. Since October 2008, the number of Americans relying on food stamps has jumped by 48 percent (that's 14.9 million people) and enrollment in the program has increased for 32 consecutive months.

And yet--and yet--Congress just couldn't find time to cut ethanol subsidies, even though at least 17 studies, including those by Purdue University, the World Bank, and the Congressional Research Service, have exposed the link between increasing ethanol production and higher food prices.

Just how ridiculous has the biofuel ethanol story grown? Today about 40 percent of American corn goes to the production of biofuel. This biofuel accounts for 0.6 percent, in energy equivalents, of worldwide oil production. So then, self-serving congressional cowards are thumbing their noses at taxpayers who are suffering increased food prices caused by higher corn prices caused by higher ethanol production. The cowards are disrespecting Americans' calls for less federal spending by maintaining subsidies that ensure the uninterrupted flow of campaign contributions from agri-businesses that will continue to profit handsomely.

It's disgusting. And it's immoral.


A writer, physicist, former high tech executive, and Cajun, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at http://www.chuckroger.com/. Contact Chuck at swampcactus@chuckroger.com.

At this moment, $6 billion in annual federal subsidies continue to be paid to American farmers to grow corn for producing ethanol. The ethanol continues to be added to gasoline, creating a mixture which will damage vehicles' engines and result in carbon emissions no lower than those produced by combusting the pure gasoline despised by eco-zealots. The subsidies--our tax money--have also fueled a doubling in corn prices during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

And all of this is happening because the people that currently dominate Congress continues to bow before the King Corn lobby and Corn Belt campaign contributors. Robert Bryce provides insight into the moral bankruptcy of Democrats and Republicans who didn't have the guts to end the ethanol subsidies earlier this year.

In early July, it appeared that a bipartisan group of senators had come up with a plan to end the 45-cents-per-gallon subsidy almost immediately rather than wait for it to expire, as planned, on Dec. 31.

But that deal never passed both houses of Congress.

[...]

So the ethanol industry will continue getting subsidies while gobbling up gargantuan quantities of corn, which, in turn, is increasing the cost of food at the grocery store at the very same time that huge numbers of Americans are unemployed and/or collecting food stamps.

[...]

...45.7 million Americans--about 14.6 percent of the population--now rely on federal food stamps. Since October 2008, the number of Americans relying on food stamps has jumped by 48 percent (that's 14.9 million people) and enrollment in the program has increased for 32 consecutive months.

And yet--and yet--Congress just couldn't find time to cut ethanol subsidies, even though at least 17 studies, including those by Purdue University, the World Bank, and the Congressional Research Service, have exposed the link between increasing ethanol production and higher food prices.

Just how ridiculous has the biofuel ethanol story grown? Today about 40 percent of American corn goes to the production of biofuel. This biofuel accounts for 0.6 percent, in energy equivalents, of worldwide oil production. So then, self-serving congressional cowards are thumbing their noses at taxpayers who are suffering increased food prices caused by higher corn prices caused by higher ethanol production. The cowards are disrespecting Americans' calls for less federal spending by maintaining subsidies that ensure the uninterrupted flow of campaign contributions from agri-businesses that will continue to profit handsomely.

It's disgusting. And it's immoral.


A writer, physicist, former high tech executive, and Cajun, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at http://www.chuckroger.com/. Contact Chuck at swampcactus@chuckroger.com.

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