Tags: Corn | Ethanol | Mandate | Iowa

Time to Eliminate Corn Ethanol Mandates

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Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 11:04 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The monster blizzard bore down, putting over 50 million Americans at risk. Power outages were guaranteed.
 
With travel impossible, thousands wheeled out generators, literal lifesavers able to provide heat in frigid temperatures.
 
But instead of hearing the reassuring roar of engines starting, too often the only sound was cursing. Generator after generator failed, placing many in peril. And for that, we can blame Iowans and the obtuse political leaders.
 
The reason many generators fail is simple: the federally mandated corn-ethanol component in gasoline often fouls small engines to the point where they require professional service (not available during a storm). In some cases, it’s cheaper to scrap the generator than have it repaired.
 
What makes the sin mortal is that there’s no reason for ethanol. It offers no “climate change” benefits, and, while it reduces certain carcinogens, it increases others.
 
Since producing ethanol is an additional step, it hits the American consumer in the wallet. By driving up the cost of fuel, commuters pay substantially more, as do freight companies, which simply pass along their costs to stores, and ultimately, consumers.
 
Most significantly, mandated ethanol causes food prices to skyrocket. Since a whopping 40 percent of America’s corn is earmarked for ethanol production, it doesn’t take an Ivy League economist to figure out that:
 
A. Corn and corn-related products become much more expensive (three of four supermarket products contain corn). Americans pay more than $40 billion per year in higher food prices due to ethanol mandates.
 
B. Meat prices are substantially inflated, since corn feed is the main food source for pigs, chickens, and livestock.
 
C. Given that America is the world’s largest corn producer, with 70 percent of the world’s corn imports coming from the U.S., mandated ethanol means there is less corn to feed the world’s hungry. And hungry people often become bellicose, engaging in activities that can destabilize governments and destroy nations. (Food crises, for example, were contributing factors in the Arab Spring uprisings, which led to radical elements assuming power in numerous Arab nations).
 
According to Forbes, “The grain required to fill a 25-gallon gas tank with ethanol can feed one person for a year, so the amount of corn used to make 13 billion gallons of ethanol is (not available) to feed the almost 500 million people it was feeding in 2000 . . . this is the entire population of the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States.”
 
Wow.
 
A bill to eliminate corn ethanol mandates in 2013 went nowhere. But given the new Congress, there is a kernel of hope that the current bill authored by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will have staying power.
 
So why do we continue ethanol mandates?
 
Politics.
 
Iowa is the crucial first state in presidential primaries, so no candidate wants to offend the corn vote that holds its ethanol entitlement so sacred. Candidates, not incorrectly, view a strong showing in Iowa as do-or-die, with a poor performance being a potential game-ender for their presidential aspirations.
 
It has gotten so bad that congressmen and senators with voting records against such mandates completely flip-flop once they run for president. 
 
But it has to change.
 
It’s bad enough that voters in many states never have a say, instead having an Iowa-ordained candidate shoved down their throat. But it’s incomprehensible that we allow such a system to continue when the negative effects of ethanol are so far-reaching.
 
So what to do?
 
Ideally, kick Iowa out of its first-in-the-nation position so that America would no longer be held hostage by the Iowa corn vote. But the parties like the current system because it usually gets all the messy stuff (aka “democracy”) out of the way early, thereby giving leaders control over who will be coronated.
 
Dare to become relevant by moving up your primary date? That state runs the risk of the “death penalty,” with votes being stripped at the convention, thus wiping out its influence.
 
The nation should be divided into four geographically diverse groups, and hold four primaries (with regions rotating every four years). That way, losing early would no longer be a death blow, and the people, rather than party pols, would finally have the chance to pick their candidate.
 
But don’t hold your breath.
 
The only real hope is for principled candidates to take the corn by the cob and slam the ethanol mandates for what they are (a wasteful entitlement for a product that needs to be eliminated), and the presidential primary system for what it is (a sham and a travesty to democracy).
 
Despite those who would cringe at such a gutsy strategy, it would be worth its weight in bushels, as that is the leadership Americans are so desperately seeking.

And what a gas that would be.
 
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
 

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Freind
A bill to eliminate corn ethanol mandates in 2013 went nowhere. But given the new Congress, there is a kernel of hope that the current bill authored by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will have staying power.
Corn, Ethanol, Mandate, Iowa
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2015-04-03
Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 11:04 AM
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