By Arthur Piccolo
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 17, 2011: “Let them eat ethanol.”
I just said that – not Obama or any of the Democrats in Congress. But President Obama might just as well have. His insane support for turning perfectly edible much needed corn into fuel for cars is just that insane.
It was made clearer than ever this week when most of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate without a peep out of The White House crushed a bill to END the insane 45 cent a gallon subsidy for turning perfectly edible corn into expensive wasteful yes polluting fuel for over sized American vehicles.
While the ridiculous idea of being environmentally “friendly” by turning good crops that should be reserved for food into fuel instead developed some years ago, while it is not the primary cause for hunger in the under-developed world or forever rising food prices, turning millions of acres of precious farmland into fuel ‘factories’ is indisputably a contributing factor to these problems.
And of course it gets more bizarre the deeper you dig into such matters. Call it nonsense because …
It is also well proven if our government is going to have a policy to grow fuel that sugarcane and even better some rapidly growing grasses are far, far more efficient having their cellulose being turned into “natural” (sic) gasoline.
So what is the problem with sugarcane which can also benefit by being grown fast and on land less fertile than for corn and other precious human crops as Brazil does so successfully with sugarcane. The problem as always is politics and lack of leadership. Insert the name of Barack Obama here time and again.
Turns out farmers and the farm lobby love having a massive new customer for its corn Big Oil refiners who are overjoyed to receive WELFARE a tax payer subsidy of 45 cents for every gallon of corn they ferment into fuel for U.S. vehicles. Further delighted that their govt. requires most vehicles consume some ethanol along with gasoline when you fill up at the gas station.
As an aside the farm lobby also effectively prevents Brazil from exporting its sugarcane ethanol to the United States. Yes political power its a terrible thing for those who don’t have it.
Everyone who counts “wins” meaning those with power and lots of lobbyists and most of all money to contribute to Congress members campaigns and o yes indeed President Obama’s One Billion Plus re-election campaign. Watering the Money Tree with taxpayer fueled ethanol you can say.
So this week we have the very hypocritical if only too common scene of the vast majority of DEMOCRAT U.S. Senators joining with only a few wayward farm state Republican Senators to STOP the corn ethanol subsidy from the death it deserves.
YES the very same President and Democrats in Congress who want to end more modest unjustified drilling subsidies to Big Oil and chastise the Republicans for not doing so – at the same time Obama and the Democrats are big supporters of the far more destructive expensive corn oil subsidy for Big Oil.
It makes no sense but that is the point it does make CENTS and more to the point campaign DOLLARS to the Democrats. But it is not just dollars yes it is also votes. As you know from reading this commentary week after week, Obama has only one agenda his re-election so he, Michelle, and family can continue to live the very, very, very good life at our expense. There are votes in ethanol subsidies in farm states that Obama wants if not indeed may need to win that coveted re-election next year.
So what does all this say about Obama’s energy policy. That he does not have one. That it is the usual collection of this, that and the other thing. Some old energy, some new energy, then more old energy in all kinds of forms. That gives way to a far more profound policy problem. Seeing energy, its use, conservation, efficiency and change as a single distinct issue standing out there all alone.
Our only hope is to connect an energy audit to anything and everything the government does and highlight it and act on it. What exactly is the energy budget for Afghanistan. Yes including the huge piles of energy and fuel being consumed by the U.S. Military Machine there – that is the obvious energy budget very important but far less so than the more dynamic aspects of the Afghanistan energy budget and audit.
How about how are all the resources being pumped into and wasted in unbelievably corrupt Afghanistan $10 Billion a month we know about and the other billions hidden away – how could they be far better spent or not spend on America’s energy needs and future rather than energizing Afghan corruption.
Back to the ethanol.
Could you imagine President Obama walking into The White House press room today to announce he is totally opposed to subsidies for edible crop conversion to ethanol, will do everything possible to end the subsidy and that he condemns anyone but in
particular Democrats who support these continued subsidies.
Can you imagine that? No you can’t. That’s one more problem with Obama as President for whom leadership has become a Dirty Word. Call it unsubsidized pollution if you like. With no value to The White House.
Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.