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10-21-2018 01:25 PM
Comments please, and be advised I do not share this author's opinion so don't blame me for what he wrote.
Like every master salesman, Donald Trump loves to tell his audience exactly what it wants to hear.
Last week, at a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump gave Iowa farmers just the political fodder they wanted. He even acknowledged that that was what he was doing when he made his statement. According to The Wall Street Journal:
“And my Administration is protecting ethanol, all right? That’s what you want to hear,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Iowa on Tuesday, and give him points for political candor. Mr. Trump then announced that his Administration will now allow fuel with 15% ethanol to be sold all year long. The Clean Air Act sets standards for fuel volatility, and E15 hasn’t been allowed in the summer because it can cause smog. Most blends contain 10% of ethanol.
Ethanol fuel is a boondoggle that benefits Big Agra, corn farmers and refiners and no one else. From its creation in the 1970s stemming from the manufactured energy crisis, untold billions of dollars have been dumped into subsidizing the production of corn ethanol.
Subsidies for corn ethanol litter the tax code, which is a case of government “carrot-and-stick” policy that modifies behaviors and distorts the free market. Gas stations get or have gotten over the years massive tax incentives to install pumps to distribute biodiesel or 85 percent ethanol gasoline blends.
As a result, corn, a staple used in many foods and also animal feed, is being diverted by government subsidies into biofuels. In 2000, about 6 percent of U.S. corn production was processed into ethanol. Today 40 percent of our corn becomes fuel instead of food.
Making fuel from corn produces only 30 percent more energy than it takes to produce the fuel itself, according to the government and corn industry sources (some are even more optimistic, claiming up to 67 percent net energy gain). But a study published in 2005 by Dr. Walter Youngquist, Ph.D., Emeritus Chair of the Department of Geology at the University of Oregon at Portland, said that “Ethanol is a net energy loss — it takes 70 percent more energy to produce than is obtained from the product itself.”
And fuel produced from corn waste, called cellulosic biofuel, is worse for the environment than gasoline. A $500,000 study funded by the Federal government reported in the peer reviewed journal Nature Climate Change that biofuels made with corn residue actually release 7 percent more greenhouse gases compared with conventional gasoline.
Diverting corn into fuel instead of food reduces food supplies and raises the cost of feed for livestock, which in turn increases the price of meat, milk, butter, eggs and other essential foods. Land that would be used to grow food crops is instead planted in corn for ethanol, which reduces the amount of food produced and likewise raises prices.
Additionally, ethanol fuels damage motors and reduce fuel mileage by anywhere from 5 percent to 7 percent.
A 2011 study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that E15 releases higher amounts of the pollutants nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and ethanol-vapor emissions into the air than lower ethanol blends or traditional gasoline. That’s one reason E15 blends are not sold in summer months.
And testifying before Congress in 2016, Michigan professor John DeCicco told Congress in 2016 that his research found that biofuels such as ethanol actually increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere when compared to regular gasoline.
So Trump’s announcement last week that his administration will allow E15 ethanol to be sold year-round - something he is unable to do constitutionally, not that it matters to anyone anymore - is fiscally and environmentally foolhardy and collectivism and corporate welfare wealth redistribution on a mass scale.
But Republican voting farmers - who claim to hate socialism, except for the socialism that lines their pockets - love it. And Republican voters - who claim to hate socialism, except for the socialism that lines their pockets - shrug.
Meanwhile, we’re all poorer for it, because our food, cars and gasoline are more expensive. But the money printers the moneyed elite make out like bandits.
10-21-2018 08:58 PM
I thought ethanol was an oxygenate that was to be used to replace mtbe known to be a cancer causing
oxygenate. But through research we have found it is much more than an oxygenate and can be used to extend our fuel supply from a renewable resource right here our own country looks like a win win to me.
10-22-2018 12:09 AM
Educating an uneducated “expert” may not work.
You may not be a source he respects. Or. He may believe the internet contains the truth if it’s listed on the first page of a google source.
10-22-2018 12:18 AM
An exhaustive list of oil industry talking points. All the above comments about oxygenates, etc are quite valid. If corn ethanol was diverting food, I think you'd see more than $3.25/bushel corn! Yields have risen dramatically since the quoted 2000 year data - much faster than world population. When was the last time you heard "Trick or treat for UNICEF" at Halloween? When was the last time you heard about a famine somewhere where emergency food was badly needed? The UN now says that a full 50% of the WORLD population is now middle class or higher. There is no food shortage at present to worry about.
10-22-2018 01:04 AM
These are the kinds of clowns you are up against. Which is why corn farmers should get together in your various Congressional Districts and support the candidates who will represent your interests against this kind of nonsense. You guys have a lot of political power if you work together to put political pressure on the politicians who are supposed to be advocating on your behalf.
In 1979's farmers from many parts of the country drove tractors to Washington and closed down the main thoroughfares of the city to get their points made visible to the fat-butt politicians who were eating the food these farmers were producing. You should organize and do something similar now. But first you all have to agree on policies that would serve your interests. Like a Federal Land Bank program that would take the profit out of farm rentals so that the farmers who cannot afford land can still work it and make a living doing it because farm rents are not sucking his profits out from under him. Or Federal Tax benefits that raise the minimum income level before you start paying income tax.
10-22-2018 06:42 AM - edited 10-22-2018 06:44 AM
Ironically, after the tractorcade, that was only the beginning of the "farm crisis" in the 80`s. I don`t think a tractorcade would work, as the media reports on $200,000+ tractors parading on by, it could easily have a opposite effect.
Besides 3/4ths of farmers say "Git the government out of farming!". Also a good lot of land is farmed as a tax dodge for the farmer`s car dealership or construction businesses... "we`re doin` just fine, thank you very much".
10-22-2018 07:22 AM
Few lobbies in DC have as much power as the oil lobby. (nothing like stating the obvious)
They may be topped only by the drug companies and medical/health lobbies.
For the most part we already elect congressmen/women that support our interests.
The change in perception that is needed must come from leadership backed by real science.
But there are many that totally ignore any practical common sense and go for the conspiracy theory every time.
What is working in favor of farmer's interests are certain senators/congressmen in powerful positions like Grassley.
Don't forget that without the electoral college middle America would be largely ignored.
Having Iowa's caucus's early in the process should help. But then an oil senator won the last time.
10-22-2018 08:20 AM
That tractorcade was a staged event for the cameras.
It represented less than 1% of farm population at the time. Most couldn’t afford the fuel and tires sacrificed.
Looking back it was at best, threatening congress with violence, and very possibly the end of any real purpose at usda.
Within the next few years farm bills became difficult to write and our representatives gave a large portion of usda budget over to food stamps to help hide the size of the welfare budget. Some of the important factors in policy and regulation have been frozen since the early 90’s.
The tractorcade and it’s threats were similar to chanting nonsense into an elevator—- agriculture was hurt more than helped in the end and has not recovered in public perception.