Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good Job, Congress

The lead story on right now is about how Congressionally-imposed ethanol mandates have succeeded in helping cause a rapid increase in the price of food while making little difference in the price of gas.  A portion of the article:

And it [the surging use of ethanol] has linked food and fuel prices just as oil is rising to new records, pulling up the price of anything that can be poured into a gasoline tank. "The price of grain is now directly tied to the price of oil," says Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a Washington research group. "We used to have a grain economy and a fuel economy. But now they're beginning to fuse."

Not everyone thinks it's fantastic. People who use corn to feed cattle, hogs and chickens are being squeezed by high corn prices. On Monday, Tyson Foods reported its first loss in six quarters and said that its corn and soybean costs would increase by $600 million this year. Those who are able, such as egg producers, are passing those high corn costs along to consumers. The wholesale price of eggs in the first quarter soared 40 percent from a year earlier, according to the Agriculture Department. Meanwhile, retail prices of countless food items, from cereal to sodas to salad dressing, are being nudged upward by more expensive ingredients such as corn syrup and cornstarch.

McCain is one of the few major politicians who has (relatively) consistently opposed our disastrous ethanol policy.  Will he have the political courage to stand on that opposition --and thus stand up to the farm lobbies-- in this election year?  We'll see.

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