Conservatives have long denounced the federal government’s unconstitutional use of taxpayer subsidies to prop up corn-based ethanol.
But now even liberal Democrats are questioning the wisdom of promoting ethanol production in the name of making the United States more energy independent.
Not long ago, former Vice President Al Gore acknowledged he was wrong to support the mandatory blending of ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. Ethanol subsidies were “a mistake,” he said during a conference in Greece. “It’s hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”
And now, former President Bill Clinton says diverting so much of our nation’s corn crop to ethanol production may lead to disaster. Speaking to Department of Agriculture workers, he said higher food prices that result from taking lots of corn out of the food supply may spark riots in poor countries.
“[W]e have to become energy independent, but we don’t want to do it at the cost of food riots,” he said.
We certainly don’t. And neither do we want to force taxpayers to underwrite a fuel that reduces gas mileage, damages small engines, may increase smog and certainly increases federal budget deficits.
But because Washington subsidizes every gallon of ethanol produced, it is estimated that almost 40 percent of all U.S. corn production will be diverted to ethanol by 2012!
Can anyone seriously doubt that is raising food prices, both in the United States and abroad?
With politicians on both sides of the political aisle now having denounced the subsidizing of ethanol and the distortion it is causing in world food markets, can’t our Congress and President Barack Obama at long last put an end to this boondoggle and let ethanol rise or fall on its own merits, without government support?
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