#1 A Hungry World Population? Oh Well, Let Them Eat Ethanol!07-23-2012, 11:44 AM
A Hungry World Population? Oh Well, Let Them Eat Ethanol!
…Here come the corn riots.
Climate change policies—much more than the vagaries of climate–are now beginning to create the instabilities that cooler heads have been warning about for years.
Corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade are now at or near record levels, around $8.30 per bushel for spot delivery. The rise in recent weeks has been dramatic, driven by the perception of declining yields caused by hot and dry conditions mainly in the upper Midwest.
Much of this corn is beyond redemption as grain. High temperatures render corn’s pollen sterile, and the narrow pollination season—usually around ten days in a given field—dictates that once this time has passed, there’s likely to be very few kernels set on each ear. While rain may allow the plant to recover, its value as feed is dramatically reduced.
Which brings us to ethanol. It comes from corn. The amount to be produced is a mandate, not a choice. It’s 13.2 billion gallons this year. Last year we burnt up 40% of our crop. This year, given the expected yield reductions, we could easily destroy over half of our corn.
The U.S. is by far the world’s largest producer, and our abundant supply is a major factor in keeping the price of the world’s most abundant feed and food grain low—generally around $3.00/bushel. That was before George W. Bush decided that the answer to global warming was to produce ethanol from corn. Hence the rise in corn price that commences with the 2007 passage of the ethanol mandates, followed soon by global food riots. $8.00 corn today will likely bring much more of the same.
Of course, there is little chance that the disproportionately influential farm lobby is going to swallow changing the ethanol mandate when its constituents are making money hand-over-fist because of an artificially induced shortage. It’s also an election year. But, isn’t it just too bad about those poor people in Mexico and around the world who actually will suffer for the insanity and depravity of our agricultural/environmental policy?
Every single problem in the world today is man made. If governments got out of the job of mandating minutiae, we, the world at large, could build and feed ourselves just fine.
Liberalism is just communism sold by the drink.
07-24-2012, 07:37 PM
Why Are Republicans Supporting the Farm Bill?
You’re watching a cable news show one night and see some of the GOP freshmen House members, part of the 2010 “shellacking” President Obama experienced, telling the audience that the nation needs smaller government, free markets, less spending, and greater transparency. The next thing you know the same Republicans are sponsoring and signing onto the new Farm Bill. There’s something wrong with this picture.
The agricultural bills of both chambers of Congress are meant to do two things that fly against conservative principles. First, about 80% of the Farm Bill is about funding the food stamp program over the next ten years. Needless to say, the cost to taxpayers for the food stamp program has doubled during the Obama presidency, and is now up to $78 billion annually.
When the Senate was debating its version of the bill, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) observed that, compared to 2008 levels, the new farm bill will increase spending by 60%. The hike is due to the fact that the new bill incorporates the Obama administration’s baseline spending into entitlement spending forever.
It sounds like the letter sent by Reps. Noem and Welch is saying that big farmers and ranchers should have certainties that the rest of the private sector does not have. Should the government provide insurance for all entrepreneurs and businesses so that risk is not a factor in their enterprises?
The fact that Noem has joined in with Democrats who have resisted significant cuts in food stamp spending in order to push through the new non-transparent crop insurance and price support programs leaves us with one big piece of legislation that caters to special interests. The fact that many of the primary agricultural states are Republican states, led by Republican governors, leaves support of the Farm Bill by Republicans pretty high up on the hypocrisy scale.
A more constructive task for Rep. Noem, and other House Republicans, would be to work out a way to disentangle the food stamp program from the agricultural policies, and then begin to promote free market principles in agriculture. Limited government intervention and the free market are what Republicans are saying they believe in; it’s time to start putting the plan into action, even if it means being unpopular in some spheres.
Republicans have to stick to their principles, and we, the people, have to do our part. A list of the House members supporting the Farm Bill is here. Please contact your representative and tell him or her not to bring the Farm Bill to the floor of the House during this Congress.
Damn that DC kool aid.
Liberalism is just communism sold by the drink.
07-24-2012, 10:48 PM
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- WY and MT
I suspect the Farm Bill is supported largely out of ignorance. Not much goes to farms, farmers, research, or improvement of lands.
This pie chart from the CatoInstitute shows a nice comparison in spending to which programs.
I am not advocating not feeding the hungry. But, I am willing to bet it could be done a lot more efficiently.
07-25-2012, 11:08 PM
The only reason people are starving in certain countries is because their government is withholding food and other resources from them.The Obama Administration: Deny. Deflect. Blame.
07-26-2012, 02:18 PM
Electric cars are the cars of the future. In another decade or so, they will have all the faults worked out and we'll have affordable, convenient and fast electric cars.
Use corn to feed people.
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