Monday, July 2, 2007


It’s so hard to understand how our gutless, pandering and sometimes just plain ignorant elected officials can continue to push this ethanol scam with a clear conscience.

The promotion of this disastrous “alternative” to fossil fuels is costing you and me a fortune. Consider the increased prices of just a few of the products and commodities affected by mandated increases in corn production for the manufacture of ethanol.

Ethanol policies have driven the price of corn up to as high as $4.50 a bushel last week, from what was typically $2.00 to $2.50 a bushel.

More expensive corn drives up prices on many products we use. You would think that the higher prices would benefit farmers, but companies that produce seed, like Monsanto, have raised seed prices by 66 percent. Of course this helps all you shareholders in Monsanto stock, and good for you.

I’ve written about the evils of ethanol several times in these blogs but feel compelled to bring it up again once in a while because it eats at me so. As I’ve mentioned before, when President Bush mentioned ethanol during his State of the Union speech in January, I cringed. I knew, as many of you did, that gas prices would be up the next day and continue to climb. And they did. What other prices have soared as a result of the ethanol obsession?

Have you wondered why beef prices are as high as they have gotten? How about the increase in milk prices that we all screamed about? Shoot, let’s just think about the additional premium on land because of the ridiculously low yield of corn producing ethanol per acre.

So land, fuel and corn go up. Again, beef and milk prices. What else does corn effect? Poultry, pork, sugar (prices already controlled by artificial supports and tariffs), sweet goods, anything made with high fructose corn syrup, cheese, butter, all products made with any of the above, soft drinks, ice cream…the list goes on and on.

Were you paying attention to the tortilla riots in Mexico City last February?

How about taxes? On top of the federal and state taxes you pay on gasoline, let’s consider the following:
Ethanol blenders -- gas stations and suppliers – receive 51 cents a gallon in tax credits so ethanol can be competitive with gas. In other words, ethanol is so inefficient and expensive to make, we taxpayers have to give the companies 51 cents a gallon in tax credits to bring the price down enough to compete with gas.

There is a 54 cent tariff on imported ethanol, to make sure we can’t buy it cheap from other countries.

We taxpayers gave $340 million in subsidized loans to build ethanol plants, thanks to Jimmy Carter. The plants aren’t competitive enough for private industry to make money, so we taxpayers buck up to build them for someone else to make money on the product we support.

Make your head spin? Does mine!

We taxpayers contributed $70 Million in corn to ethanol producers, via Ronald Reagan’s Department of Agriculture.

The 2005 Energy bill mandates that gas companies buy ethanol. We force companies to buy this stuff because they wouldn’t touch it otherwise.

The current mandates have increased food prices by $14 billion dollars, according to a recent University of Iowa study, and our Democratic Congress wants to increase mandates by seven fold.

Because of mandates that compel gas companies to buy ethanol, prices on ethanol went up, raising gas prices by another 30 cents.

On performance: Ethanol is one third less powerful and efficient as gasoline so a gasoline and ethanol blend will get you fewer miles to the gallon than gasoline. So ethanol prices have to be artificially depressed (again with your tax dollars) to be cheaper than gasoline in order to get you comparable mileage for the same money.

It takes a lot of energy just to make the stuff. You have to grow the corn which means plowing, planting, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, grinding, soaking, distilling and trucking, since you can’t run ethanol though pipelines like gasoline.

Geez! And why is it we don’t want to drill for oil in this country to tap some of the biggest reserves on earth? Oh, that’s right, a super ignorant electorate that believes what these politicians are telling us.

I’m exhausted and depressed, and that’s just a little teeny bit of the story.


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