By Alan Caruba
Anyone who has been to the supermarket lately knows that the cost of food is increasing. Energy costs have risen 2.9 percent over the past year, but food costs have increased 3.7 percent.
Americans face the prospect of paying more for a gallon of milk than a gallon of gasoline.
Diverting corn to make ethanol that by law must be blended with gasoline is just about the most stupid thing this nation could require, but that is exactly what it has done. The result is the average price of a bushel of corn is now around $3.60, up from $2.50 last year.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, retail milk prices have increased about 3 percent or about ten cents a gallon this year, but dairy specialists predict it will increase 40 cents a gallon in the months ahead, driving the average cost nationwide to an average of $3.78.
The Kansas Corn Growers Association would like to inform you of some basic facts about corn.
Currently, some 60 percent of the U.S. corn crop is fed to U.S. livestock. As the cost rises, so does the cost of meat, poultry, and the more than 3,500 products Americans use every day that contain corn or corn by-products.
Every American consumes the equivalent of three pounds of corn every day.
Having enraged Americans by trying to push through a horrid piece of legislation to “reform” immigration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is now trying to do the same with S. 1419, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007.
It is essential to keep in mind that all the panic over energy in America can be traced back to all the many environmental organizations that have devoted decades to insuring that it was too costly to build a single new oil refinery since the late 1970s, to build nuclear facilities to generate electricity, to build more coal-driven facilities to do the same, or to drill for known reserves of oil in Alaska and most of the off-shore areas of the nation.
We have an energy problem all right and you can thank the millions of words devoted to lying about global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, and the horrors of people driving the car or truck of their choice anywhere.
Sen. Reid’s bill would increase the current renewable fuel mandate of 7.5 billion gallons to 36 billion gallons by the year 2022. It would leave in place the 51 cents per gallon federal subsidy to the ethanol producers. In return, you will continue to get less mileage per gallon based on a blend where the production and transportation of ethanol drive up the cost.
Guaranteeing ethanol producers a permanent market share is a scheme worthy of the former Soviet Union’s central planners. The proposed legislation is even worse than that. Corn ethanol could satisfy only about 15 billion gallons of the mandate. The remaining 21 billion gallons would have to come from other forms of biofuel that, by the way, are not currently commercially viable today, despite the subsidy!
Let us return to your local supermarket while you buy the week’s groceries. Since corn is a feedstock for meat, poultry, and dairy products, and is used as corn sweeteners and syrups in countless processed foods, just about everything you will cost even more than it does today.
Lucky you. Thanks to an idiotic government mandate for ethanol, you are paying more at both the pump and the supermarket.
Sen. Reid’s proposed legislation includes a tighter Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard for automobiles and trucks. It would require that the average passenger car would have to get 35 miles per gallon by 2020 and then become 4 percent more fuel- efficient each year from 2021 to 2030.
You do not have to be an automotive engineer to figure out that there are finite limits to how much energy that can be gained from a gallon of gas. When you require that it be blended with even less efficient ethanol, the proposed mandate is an impossible goal unless you want to start making automobiles out of cardboard to reduce their weight.
Sen. Reid’s bill has lots of other awful things, but suffice it to say that the public is going to have to leap upon the backs of their Senators once again to insure that this monstrosity never sees the light of day.
One last thought, while you are paying more for food and gas, lots of other people around the world will be eating less. As the cost of corn and other bio-fuel sources increases, the cost of food worldwide will generate food riots. We not only have six billion people on Earth, but every six years, we add the equivalent of the entire population of North America.
Only the hard-core environmentalists will be happy. They don’t much like humanity in general and have pursued policies to deter all manner of development everywhere on Earth. Like what you ask? Like seeking to ban the use of pesticides and herbicides that insure that crops are protected against the many insects and rodents that attack them, along with the many weed species that compete for space.
Renewable fuels? Energy efficiency? It’s worse than a bad joke. It’s criminal.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, http://www.anxietycenter.com/. His book, “Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy”, is published by Merril Press.
© Alan Caruba, June 2007