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August 03, 2007

Weekend Reading 22

This week's topic is subsidies for ethanol producers. Rolling Stone has an interesting article: Ethanol Scam: Ethanol Hurts the Environment And Is One of America's Biggest Political Boondoggles.

This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. [...]

So why bother? Because the whole point of corn ethanol is not to solve America's energy crisis, but to generate one of the great political boondoggles of our time. Corn is already the most subsidized crop in America, raking in a total of $51 billion in federal handouts between 1995 and 2005 -- twice as much as wheat subsidies and four times as much as soybeans.

Even if you like the idea of burning alcohol, you have to wonder why ethanol needs public funding. If it's such a great idea, can't a producers market develop without the subsidies?

And that's not to mention some other nasty side effects of ethanol subsidies.

Posted by joke du jour at August 3, 2007 06:31 PM

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