Corn Likker, Food Prices, and Red Handed Proof
It takes a lot of power to force anything down the throats of an industry as powerful as the oil industry, but with little help from a few key senators, a few dozen congressmen, and a few million unthinking useful idiots in the environmental camp, big agriculture managed to figuratively force big oil into bed back in '05, and has kept forcibly that otherwise shameless huzzy there ever since, in spite of all her screaming and crying, and the late "but better late than never" sympathy of thinking environmentalists.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm about as far from being a fan of the oil industry as a rational person can get.The most I'm willing to say for the oil industry is that it is a necessary evil, and that we simply must have oil and have it in humongous quantities for now and for a hell of a long time to come because without it our entire economy will collapse about as fast as a sand castle in a tsunami. Hopefully we will eventually figure out ways to get by without oil- at least without very much of it.We better, because there is inevitably a time coming when only modest quantities of oil are available and then only at exorbitant prices. But I digress.
The oil industry is not one situated by it's long record of less than sterling behavior to get much sympathy or respect when it tries for the high moral ground, but once in a while even a seasoned crook is telling the truth when he says he didn't do it.
I have a couple of relatives who have made good solid careers out of being convicts; they like it so well that whenever they get out thrown out of the pokey, they manage to get back in again in a matter of months - which is much faster than most of us can find a full time job these days, given the state of the economy and Obama care......
One of these guys is has such a reputation as a prolific worker that I have been seriously asked if I thought that he really did break into four different houses in four widely separated neighborhoods in one day-to which inquiry I replied with due modesty that although the family takes considerable and justified pride in his professional accomplishments, the truth of the matter is that he simply wasn't up to it, what with the necessary drives from one house to another and the trips he had to make to stash the loot, and stopping for lunch and gas and dropping off his kids at school- somebody else burgled one of those four houses, as was later proven in court.
But still, three widely separated jobs of that sort in one day, along with looking after getting the kids to school, is right much of an accomplishment, and so far as we know, it's a local record. I guess an urban burglar could do four jobs in a day, easy, if he stuck to small stuff like silver and laptop computers, but my cousin - now he goes in for more substantial goods, such as billiard tables, and ya can't expect a man to move one of them heavy suckers and still hit three more houses the same day , even if they are real close together.
The truth of the matter is that in this particular case, that slick and nasty oily old ole industry is telling the truth when it says that ethanol is a bad deal for them and the consumer.
The consequences of this forced relationship have proven to be serious indeed, but the general public has fallen for the industry's endless false but highly skilled and well orchestrated protestations of innocence. Most people simply don't have a clue as to just how bad a deal the ethanol mandate has proven itself to be for us as individuals and as a country.
I'm not going to have time today to go into detail in respect to the many ill effects the subsidized manufacture corn likker-moonshine- by the millions of barrels is having on our economy and our environment . I'm just going to briefly mention the worst effects for the moment and leave it to you to look around a little to see for yourself just what the facts are.
But I will come back to this topic some day soon and go into some depth depth and put up some links that will help you develop a deeper understanding of the many ill effects of growing so much corn and manufacturing so much ethanol.
The worst short term result of the ethanol mandate has been a substantial across the board increase in the prices of basic or staple foods which has pushed tens of millions of people around the world to the very brink of starvation, and created hardships for more millions of working class and unemployed Americans.It's caused every body else's grocery bills to go up too , but if you're reasonably well off by American standards, food is dirt cheap anyway and couple more bucks for a nice beef roast is no big deal.
Beyond this rise in food prices- which has put my own family and most people I know in the position of eating a lot less prime ribeye than we would like - the ethanol mandate has resulted in many millions of tons of fertilizers, pesticides, diesel fuel, coal, and natural gas being used wastefully - so wastefully that it is highly questionable if there is even a net gain in energy after all the production, manufacture , and distribution costs are properly tallied up.
The ethanol mandate has also resulted in millions of acres of farmland that would otherwise be idle - and resting up for future use- being put into monoculture corn, which in and of itself results in substantial harm too the soil and to the wider environment due to loss of wildlife habitat and water pollution- a secondary result of using so much fertilizers and pesticides.
Here's the red hot proof of the connection between ethanol and food prices I promised you in the title of this post.
You might want to copy this article for later reading - it's the sort of thing that tends to disappear sometimes.
The ethanol industry has steadfastly maintained that it is not responsible for record high corn prices since the mandate took effect, and it has enough clout that not many mainstream news media have been willing to question that claim for fear of losing the advertising revenue brought into their businesses by companies associated with big agriculture.
Here are a few little industry insider quotes from the article that inadvertently blow aside the curtain and allow us a good look at the moonshine wizard.
"Because of the dramatic economic impact on commodity markets" translated into plain English reads roughly :
' We're pxxing in our pants because without the mandate we're noncompetitive and we know it. Ethanol prices will collapse, and with the crash in ethanol prices, the price of corn will collapse too, because a huge portion of the nation's corn crop is used to make ethanol. There will be a follow on effect in the prices of a lot of other commodities too; fertilizer and soybeans for instance will be cheaper.Chicken, pork and beef be will be cheaper. And even though we mostly got 'em by way of govt subsidies and fire sales, and have very little of our own money tied up in them, we're triple pxxxxd because we'll have to sell our moonshine factories for scrap if we were to lose the mandate or if it gets cut back very much. A whole lot of people have been making a whole hell of a lot of money out of this thing, and we ain't about to give up our gravy train without leaving plenty of bloody hair and eyeballs littering the sidewalks around congressional offices".
"I believe we are competing head-to-head with Big Oil" translates as bullxxxx pure and simple.
If the moonshine industry were actually competing with anybody- other than all the other voracious pigs lined up in DC hoping to latch onto one of the federal sow's countless tits- it wouldn't need a mandate.
"In our opinion, they are going to be very defensive to give up any gas tank share - they are going to defend their share at all costs" translates as:
"We have a huge war chest and we own a few key senators and a bunch of congressmen, and the big time farmers who dominate corn state politics are backing us to the hilt, because they're making ten times as much money these days as they used to, before the ethanol mandate doubled the price of corn for them."
Sometime soon I will post an extensive followup going into detail as to why mandated ethanol is such a bad deal for everybody except the people getting rich from it.