Obama’s Common Senseless Ethanol Policy

Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute writes on Real Clear Markets:

Since being re-elected, in a triumph of political loyalty over consumer protection, President Obama has refused to waive the federal requirement that 13 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended in 2013 with gasoline.

In making that decision on November 16, Mr. Obama brushed aside evidence that dedicating corn to ethanol, rather than to animal feed and other food uses, has contributed to a rise in prices. Corn prices are up nearly 40 percent over the past year, and wheat prices are up by 20 percent.

One apparent consequence: prices for corn-fed meat are on the rise. U.S. beef is now $4,900 per ton, up from $3,900 in 2009.

And while he purports to be committed to environmental protection, the president also ignored the findings of some analysts that the production of ethanol–which is an expanding industry–makes air pollution worse.

In the mid-2000s, when Congress imposed renewable fuel mandates, adding ethanol to gasoline was seen as a way to diminish gasoline consumption, reduce oil imports and even curtail tailpipe emissions.

In 2012, the subsidy of 45 cents a gallon expired, along with the 54 cent tariff for imported ethanol. What keeps the ethanol industry afloat is the mandate for the American economy to consume ethanol.

Now, with U.S. crude oil and gas production rising and imports falling, and with a nascent trend under way towards powering motor vehicles with abundant natural gas, the case for ethanol is weak.

But an ethanol lobby has put down tenacious roots, including corn farmers, whose price per bushel has risen from under $4.00 in 2010 to over $7.00 in 2012, and investors who placed capital into ethanol-producing plants.

Of 97 million acres of corn in America, about 40 percent is dedicated to ethanol, shrinking supplies that go into food.

The rest here.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More