Friday, May 18, 2007

Corn Ethanol Scam Bites Back

It is infuriating how so many bad ideas get worse once Congress gets a hold of them. Take corn ethanol. Touted as a viable alternative fuel that would reduce air pollution, farm state senators and congressmen saw gold and lunged at the opportunity to shovel yet more federal money to their beloved farmers, while all the while wrapping themselves in the popular mantras of "energy independence" and "enviromnentalism." The President, meanwhile, saw a perfect opportunity to make pork barrel spending serve national security purposes, for a politician an irrestistable temptation.

This stank to me from day one. It has long been recognized that corn is an especially expensive, resource intensive crop to produce. So what about all those resources necessary to grow corn? Don't they count? As the Agriculture Department's own statistics show, if you internalize all costs of growing corn, it is a money loser and the industry would probably not survive in its current form without the heavy subsidization it already gets.

In a pretty humorous article today, the ever reliable Wall Street Journal has uncovered a host of other unintended consequences of Congress's fetish with corn ethanol, or more correctly, their routinely short-sighted, self-serving obsession with throwing money in the direction of favored constituents whenever the opportunity arises without considering possible blowback. I must admit a bit of grim satisfaction to seeing it coming back to bite them in the asses this time. They usually get away with it.

Nuclear power has always been the short-term answer to the problems with hydrocarbon fuel. But none of these august politicians has the guts, moral or intellectual integrity to confront the environmental lunatics who have blocked the way for 30 plus years, and we all suffer for it.