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Horowitz: With record food prices, time to repeal the ethanol mandate now

 One could not have thought of a more irrational idea than taking 40% of the corn grown in this country and shoving it into our engines, thereby raising the cost of both fuel production and food. Corn is the beginning of the food chain, and with the worst crisis of food and fuel pricing ever, why on earth would Congress not immediately repeal the renewable fuels standard?

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was a Bush-era boondoggle passed by Congress in 2005 to force consumers to buy only transportation fuel blended mostly with corn-based biofuels. The original RFS required 4 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended by 2006, but that target was expanded to 36 billion in the 2007 energy bill. Despite years of subsidies, mandates, and tax credits, the industry has failed on the promise of energy independence and a cleaner environment and has left us with higher food and fuel costs.In fact, the RFS annual targets were never met, so the EPA created a costly RIN (renewable identification number) credit system forcing independent refiners to essentially pay ransom for these credits for not meeting the target. Big oil companies then make a killing off the speculation market of those credits, while independent refiners go out of business. As such, we never achieved more than 20 billion gallons of renewable fuels in any year, but we did cause numerous small oil refiners to go out of business, deplete fuel output supply, and destroy blue-collar jobs.

Almost all the biofuels are created from corn, soybeans, and sugar – with corn taking up the lion’s share of the market. Venture socialist market distortions induced by the government caused so much farmland to be requisitioned for this ineffectual fuel and diverted from cattle feed, thereby driving up the cost of food. According to a study cited by the Heartland Institute, families are forced to pay $2,055 more for food every year because 40% of the corn crop – the antecedent of the food chain – is used for fuel. A study from PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2012 – when ethanol production was just 14.5 billion gallons per year – found that restaurants pay $18,000 more per year.

The lower fuel mileage from adulterated fuel with less energy content and the billions in extra costs to the restaurant industry because of the higher cost of beef, thanks to scarcity of cattle feed, were harmfel effects of the policy from day one, but are downright devastating during this inflation crisis. According to Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute, ethanol is proportionally 2.4 times less efficient than unblended gasoline. Thus, we are adulterating the black gold that has become gasoline to ensure we need even more of it at a higher price!

In other words, if we’d flush that corn down the toilet, we’d be better off than with the RFS in place. However, what’s even better is using the abundant corn we have to flood the domestic and global corn market, thereby alleviating the pressure on chicken and beef prices. Wheat prices have already set a new record, and corn prices are close to an all-time record, up 25% just since the beginning of the year. Ukraine is responsible for 16% of the world’s corn exports, and it supplies the EU with 60% of its corn. It is time to get the corn out of our engines and into our food and cattle feed supply.

Ethanol is not the only way we waste our food supply. For years, our government has de facto paid farmers not to grow crops by enrolling up to 25 million acres annually in the Conservation Reserve Program. The program has incentivized wealthy land owners to buy up land from real farmers to keep it dormant in order to save the planet from the weather! Trump promised to cut $9 billion in the phony conservation program, but the 2019 farm bill he signed expanded the number of acres under the program rather than cutting it. The program does nothing but enrich wealthy land owners and further inflate the cost of land, just like any subsidized asset bubble, all the while reducing the supply of crops. The omnibus bill Congress is passing this week increases funding for this counterproductive program across the board.

God has blessed America with an abundance of food and energy, not only to sustain our people but enough to support much of the world. Yet the same way woke energy policy, rooted in pseudo-science, inducing poverty, and growing oligarchic power have impeded our energy production, likewise, woke agricultural policies have limited our food supply. And obviously, an attack on our energy supply is going to further exacerbate the pressure on food prices, which rely heavily on all forms of transportation.

But while our government is finding every way it can continue to make Americans feel the pain of rising costs for food and fuel, guess who is working on buying up the food supply for their people? The Chinese, of course. Bloomberg is reporting that China is buying up U.S. soybeans and corn: “Chinese buyers recently booked about 20 cargoes of American soybeans and about 10 shipments of corn, according to traders who asked not to be identified as they aren’t authorized to speak publicly. The buying spree reflects robust demand in the top importer as worries over supplies grow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and weaker-than-expected supply from Brazil, the world’s biggest soybean producer.”

This is reminiscent of China buying up the meat during the supply chain shortage induced by the 2020 lockdowns. China always plans ahead to boost its people, while our government seeks to inflict pain on its people. This once again demonstrates that the real war our elected officials must focus on is the political one right here at home

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