I suppose I’d better respond to Andrew Newman’s article, since it was probably my article on biofuels last week that touched off his criticisms. Interestingly I have Nebraska ties as well. My late father-in-law and I used to have this argument all the time — and he was a Democrat!
Although I realize ethanol subsidies have become the equivalent of Social Security in the farm belt, I don’t think that’s any way to ignore the long-range consequences of all this. The venture into corn ethanol has been a truly tragic policy mistake that is going to come back to haunt us sooner or later, and the sooner we face it, the less haunting it is going to be.
It is simply crazy to be subsidizing farmers to burn up close to 30 percent of our corn crop each year just to pretend we are accomplishing something about energy. Corn ethanol is wildly uneconomical, which means it is probably losing energy. Why else do we need the 51-cents-per-gallon tax exemption, plus all the “renewable portfolios” that are driving it. (The soils that are exhausted from monocropping, plus the aquifers drained by intensive irrigation, by the way, are not renewable.) All this talk about how Brazil is running on ethanol is another wild fairy tale from environmentalists. Two-thirds of the vehicles in Brazil run on diesel fuel and have nothing to do with ethanol. The slice of the market that runs off the sugar crop is relatively small — and even that requires huge subsidies. When you put all this on top of our farm subsidies, you have a situation where the rest of the country is simply shipping money to the Midwest to buy farm votes. I realize the Senate and the Electoral College are heavily weighted toward the farm states — two votes for New York, two votes for Nebraska — but this is ridiculous. Is the whole Presidential election going to come down to a referendum on biofuels?p>I would suggest people in Nebraska take a comprehensive look on how to bring down trade barriers on agricultural products in both Europe and America and try to open up world markets. American agriculture could thrive with all kinds of speciality crops. But paying farmers to incinerate almost a third of the corn crop each year is ridiculous. Why not just pile the whole crop up in a bonfire and pay farmers to light the match? br> — William Tucker br> Nyack, New York /p>
Are we to pretend that bio-fuels are any less the preposterosity than they have been shown to be in order to win an election?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?