The Right Pedal

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ethanol bothers me.

Today, our president is visiting el presidente of Brazil. As presidents typically do, they discussed corn and sugar. Normally, my interest in these foodstuffs would require the addition of butter, because this would yield caramel popcorn.

Interersting historical note: Caramel popcorn was invented in 1893 at the Colombian World Fair in Chicago by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. (Hence "sweet baby Jesus.") Such a divine creation could only be created by the... well, the divine.

But the theology of caramel popcorn was not, according to the news reports, on today's agenda in Sao Paolo. As you probably know, sugar and corn are the two most popular sources of ethanol--the miracle fuel which will save the towns of the Midwest from economic collapse, save the rest of us from the petro-terrorists, and save our cats from the tragedy and heartache of feline leukemia.

Generally, I favor any fuel source which sends less money to the oil-slicked sheiks, especially if it also strengthens our strategic reserves of caramel popcorn. But Bush's hard-on for ethanol is highly suspicious. Brazilian ethanol is economically competitive; sugar farmers don't receive government subsidies. American ethanol, however, is a surprisingly Communist endeavor. It depends on the expropriation of wealth from our nation's bourgeois coast-dwellers, and transferring said wealth to the Stakhanovite agribusinesses of our nation's corn-filled center. This process is better known as "farm subisidies." (Communists are masters of euphemism.)

And of course, the corn growers want tariffs on Brazilian ethanol, so we probably won't get the economically sensible cheap stuff. This is pretty goddamn outrageous and unpatriotic, because apparently they would prefer that we spend our energy dollars with the above-mentioned greasy sheikhs, rather than the Brazilians. (And no, we shouldn't be spending it on our own corn-based ethanol, because that's Communism, and Communism is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, or something like that.)

So: ethanol isn't going to help. Agribusiness will demand that their subsidies stay, and tariffs grow, and that will be the end of ethanol as a useful alternative fuel. However, it will probably take years and billions of dollars before anyone works up the guts to put a stop to this foolishness.

Oh well. At least it will be cheaper than the Iraq war.


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