Thursday, April 24, 2008

More on the Ethanol Boondoggle

This is too important not to post in full. David Freddoso Reports in NRO:
Saving the world is cheaper than free

I'm not the first to comment on Deroy's Murdock's piece today, but it is just such a devastating and sad story that it cannot be repeated too often. Our government's negligence and perhaps even malicious misdirection of societal resources toward a worthless, unwanted product — ethanol — will cause millions of people to go hungry tonight.

This anecdote from today's editorial is truly eye-catching:

Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club has started limiting sales of rice because immigrants are buying all the rice they can and sending it to relatives in countries suffering from food shortages.
Deroy sums up:
If scientists can develop ethanol that neither starves people nor rapes the Earth, splendid. However, this enterprise must not rest upon morally repugnant, ecologically counterproductive, economically devastating, government-ordered distortions.
The way things are going, this could become the worst chapter yet in the sad, ruinous history of our bipartisan agricultural welfare programs. For those who write in and protest that free-market capitalism is an uncompassionate, un-Christian economic system, I submit that you are currently witnessing the alternative.

A simple repeal of the ethanol mandate would cost nothing, and it would benefit everyone everywhere except for a farm lobby that is currently profiting from the kind of human suffering that most Americans have never experienced. Read Deroy's piece for several poignant examples.
The Deroy Murdock piece is incredibly important. He links to a Financial Times peice that says that due to shortages, wheat exporting countries have sealed their borders and 1/3 of the worldwide market is closed. Another tidbit from Murdock:
As farmers turn forests into corn fields, they expend energy uprooting trees that produce oxygen, absorb CO2, and store carbon. Princeton University researchers calculate that this ethanol-driven arboricide has spawned a “carbon debt” that already will take 167 years to reverse.
As Princeton’s Tim Searchinger said in the February 8 Washington Post, “We can’t get to a result, no matter how heroically we make assumptions on behalf of corn ethanol, where it will actually generate greenhouse-gas benefits.”
Government ethanol subsidies are going to kill people.

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