Ethanol advocates claim that the biofuel is a cheap, renewable energy source that reduces pollution and our dependence on foreign oil. It sounds too good to be true-and it is.
Ethanol, especially the corn-based variety, is bad for taxpayers, bad for consumers, bad for the environment, and horrible for the world's poor. In fact, even environmentalists are critical of ethanol subsidies these days. The ethanol craze has distorted markets and increased the price of food worldwide. The only people who still support ethanol subsidies are the ethanol producers-and politicians from both sides of the aisle. Together, they make sure the subsidies keep coming.
In a recent interview about the current food crisis, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said, "If part of our problem is that the Chinese are going to eat meat and you've got to have corn and soybeans to feed the Chinese their meat, then why isn't it just as legitimate for the Chinese to go back and eat rice as it is for us to change our policy on corn to ethanol?"
Let them eat rice? So that American taxpayers can continue to pay people to turn corn into fuel?
Silly senator, corn is for food.
This seven-and-a-half-minute video explores the case against ethanol subsidies. Hosted by reason's Nick Gillespie and featuring Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey, it was produced by Paul Feine and PF Bentley.
For an audio podcast version, go here.