Planet Gore

You Say “Mandate,” I Say “Growing Demand”

Let’s call the whole thing off. Please.

Today’s Washington Post reports on its front page: “Food prices on the rise: The growing demand for ethanol has increased demand for corn, which has led to higher food prices for many types of food.”
This claim was teasing an article on the front of the Business section citing recent ethanol-driven price spikes for foods including 3.7% for baked sweets, 3.2% for milk, 4.6% for poultry, a whopping 18.6% for eggs, 5% for carbonated drinks and 4.7% for meat. This piece also claims that “corn is getting the blame. President Bush’s call for the nation to cure its addiction to oil stoked a growing demand for ethanol, which is mostly made from corn. Greater demand for corn has inflated prices from a historically stable $2 per bushel to about $4.”
Yeah, darn that corn! Why did you make Bush call for something which only led people to rush out and start guzzling ethanol?!
Nowhere can the Post bring itself to acknowledge that this price spike and, er, “growing demand for ethanol” is actually the direct result of a mandate, and a massively increased one at that — I’m sorry, “Bush’s call” — ethanol being a product that likely would not exist but for said mandate (and subsidy, and tariff on imports for good measure), as there is in fact no demand….as the subsidies and mandate attest, and so on.
Possibly aware at how fantastic this must sound to readers for whom English is a native tongue, The Post lamely offers a nod to the un-indicted co-conspirator in all of this, our “unquenchable thirst for gasoline”. Just curious but, is gasoline made from corn? If, under some extrapolation one thinks the answer is yes, may I ask why that may be so? I can’t tell from the piece.
The online story, fyi, is placed just below another headline, no doubt unrelated so far as the Post is concerned, “Energy prices jump.” Probably just increased demand. Or gouging. Or an increased demand in the call for gouging.
A colleague asks in an email, “They mention a letter to Reid from industry, but no mention of the mandate. Is it possible the writer, Michael Rosenwald, genuinely did not know of the 2005 mandate/pending mandate? Or was it intentional? This guy is a staff writer, so he lives here. How could he not know that there is a mandate?”
Assuming he didn’t, that’s a good question, which also applies to his editors. Regrettably, the statist mindset prevalent at our nation’s establishment media outlets leaves one a tad skeptical about whether they in fact didn’t know.

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