Is it possible that the U. S. Government policy on ethanol production from corn could be causing food riots around the world?
The American Thinker says “yes.”
“Today there is a global food shortage and sky-rocketing prices. This has become the underlying factor in the riots in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, where up to 56 percent of a person’s income is dedicated to the acquisition of food. These riots are now leading to the upheaval of governments and the very real possibility of the ascendancy of the radical elements into control.”
The American Thinker continues by saying that a significant factor in the overall food situation is “the American decision to, in essence, burn food in its cars, a policy championed by the environmentalists since the 1990s.
“There is no quicker way to foment riots than to deprive the populace of food, particularly when so much of the daily income goes into feeding oneself and one’s family.”
In 2001, only 7 percent of America’s corn crop, about 707 million bushels, were used to make ethanol fuel for vehicles. By 2010, nearly 40 percent of American corn went for ethanol – almost 5 billion bushels out of a total U. S. production of 12.4 billion bushels.
The Wall Street Journal reports that American farmers account for 39 percent of all global corn production, and about 16 percent of the crop is exported.
March futures for corn hit a 30-month high of $6.67 per bushel. A year ago it was $4 a bushel. Since 40 percent of U. S. corn production is used as animal feed, rising corn prices push up the cost of beef, pork, poultry, and other meat items as well.
“This trend is the deliberate result of policies designed to subsidize ethanol with billions of tax dollars each year, and it coincides with a growing consensus that ethanol achieves none of its alleged policy goals,” the Journal reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency is downplaying claims that ethanol provides a cleaner source of energy than gasoline, according to the Journal. It also lowers gas mileage when added to gasoline. The EPA just approved increasing the amount of ethanol allowed for cars built after 2000 from 10 to 15 percent.
Cornell University scientists dispute the claim by ethanol supporters that ethanol reduces American dependence on foreign oil. Their calculations indicate that if the entire American corn crop was used to make ethanol, it would only satisfy 4 percent of our oil consumption. This policy is insane when we refuse to use our own vast oil reserves.
Food prices have been rising drastically in the United States in recent months. The impact of ethanol production on the price of corn is one factor, but the cost of fuel to produce energy is another, even greater factor.
Beef, pork and poultry are all corn fed, so the price of corn has contributed to higher meat prices. But the cost of fuel is the leading cost of food inflation. Fuel is a major factor in the planting, cultivating and harvest of crops including corn. Fuel is required to transport crops from farm to market and processing and packaging and finally to the retail point of sale. Transportation of some farm products costs more than the farmer is paid for the product.
People are asking: How can the cost of living index announced by the government remain unchanged when the cost of fuel and food are skyrocketing?
Our national leaders in the White House and their political appointees have cleverly removed the cost of fuel and food items from the cost of living index calculation. Using this technique, they can legally cheat social security recipients and others out of their promised cost of living increase, and tell them they should feel good about the cost of living not increasing.
If we fall for that, we could easily be persuaded to vote for an empty suit with a silver tongue.