Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We've Been Corn-holed

About that world food crisis I was just talking about. Coincidentally, I just ran across an entry in James Fallows' blog that lays out several excellent reasons that the diversion of grain into ethanol production is stupid. In fact, the stupidest bi-partisan policy of the last 50 years by popular acclaim. Naturally, it isn't stupid for the beneficiaries: all the big corporate agricultural giants, who, in keeping with the policy of this administration, belly up to the trough of the hundreds of millions of dollars that we middle class saps have poured in there. And who lobbied themselves a fat subsidy for this stupid policy in that abortion of an energy bill Congress passed last year.
It's harmful because: 1) it helped to catalyze higher levels of food inflation, 2) it consumes as much energy to make and distribute as it provides, 3) it deflects attention from developing trying sound policies to enhance our energy security, 4) it didn't allow for removal of taxes on the import of truly energy efficient ethanol produced in Brazil from sugar, and 5) it's a such an extreme example of government disfuntionality it causes people like me to become truly disillusioned with the political process."

I would add on my own that, to my limited understanding, most of the money for ethanol goes to large corporate farms and trickles down and around through agro-business, with only minimal impact on small family farmers (the ones our politicians claim to support), making the whole venture politically disingenuous in addition to economically-unsound and environmentally dubious.
[Inspiration for the title of this little essay from a recent Stephen Colbert "Word" segment on The Colbert Report, an incisive, satirical, and hilarious TV show I never miss.]
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