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« Surgical Subterfuge in Virgin Territory | Main | An Apology and An Exit »

June 11, 2008


For the first time in my life, I'm genuinely concerned that the economy is going bad, bad, bad.

Of course, if we get a sane president who ditches the corn-based ethanol plan, that will help... a little.

It's been quite a week- every area that we drove through during the Memorial day break has now been flooded to some extent. So even the small corn seedlings we saw are goners. Estimates say that about 20% of the crop has been lost ( I suspect the other 80% didn't even get planted, because of the weather conditions not being conducive.)

Do you know what McCain's position on corn-based ethanol is, Joe? I could find out that Obama favors cellulosic ethanol as an alternative biofuel as per his website,but no clear information regarding McCain's stance.

On edit: googling produced this dated Feb '08:
McCain has more often than not spoken against subsidies for corn-based ethanol, and he therefore claims he's been consistent on this issue. Sort of. Here's him trying to explain his ethanol flip-floppery to Tim Russert back in 2006, when he was still planning to contest Iowa. Judge for yourself whether you find it convincing.

As for Barack Obama, winning Iowa was the linchpin of his electoral strategy, and pander he did. And Hillary Clinton? She says she opposed ethanol subsidies on behalf of her New York constituents, but supports them as a presidential candidate—big time.

Nobody, in other words, looks good on this issue right now.

Ah well, so everyone was for corn-based ethanol before they were against it. (Politicians, politicians...)

This link has a wealth of evenhanded information on the issue as it affects the corn producers themselves. I'm going to spend some time skimming through it for a more balanced look at the issue.

I haven't read all of the materials, so I could surely be wrong as a factual matter... or this could be more legitimately disputed than I believe... but my understanding is that corn-based ethanol is (1) not energy-efficient to produce, which means that it's not good as an environmental matter; (2) so limited in quantity that it's not going to put an important dent in our oil demand, anyhow; and (3) contributing to the higher costs of food, at a time when this is very much not good globally, or good for American citizens (with the possible exception of farmers and Iowans).

I suppose it's a tough issue to ask politicians to be good on when they're so concerned with losing potential swing states in the middle of the country, but it just strikes me as stupid as a policy matter to subsidize corn production for ethanol-making purposes.


We've talked about ethanol from corn on A.B. on more than one occasion. See here a post from earlier this year. Anna's original article is linked within.

Huh, maybe that's where I got those ideas about corn!

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