Monday, June 23, 2008

Barack Obama Wrong on Ethanol

Barack Obama is helping to ruin your summer BBQ’s. The New York Times ran an article today about the Obama campaign and its immense support of ethanol and subsidies.

Senator Obama certainly realizes his views tie in with rising corn and other grain prices: In a May 2008 interview, he said “And so there are a whole host of reasons why we're seeing problems with food supply. There's no doubt that biofuels may be contributing to it.” With oil rising and floods in the mid-west, corn supply has to be stretched- some going to ethanol production and some going to the grocery store- and at a premium.

“Mr. McCain advocates eliminating the multibillion-dollar annual government subsidies that domestic ethanol has long enjoyed. As a free trade advocate, he also opposes the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff that the United States slaps on imports of ethanol made from sugar cane, which packs more of an energy punch than corn-based ethanol and is cheaper to produce” (Rohter, 6/23/08).

There is no doubt Obama wants lower energy prices and cleaner fuel, but he is clueless about Economics 101 and how to get there. Opposing aspects of NAFTA and insisting on tariffs will not help our case for alternative energy. Brazil’s sugar-cane ethanol, the article points out, is much more efficient and cost effective. In the meantime, with his guarded views on trade, Obama is not helping ease oil tension by opposing more drilling in the United States. Should make for a great debate topic between the two candidates.

Though a separate issue, of course drilling in ANWR and off certain coastlines of the US would take years to affect the supply. Some critics cite fears of another oil spill, which is irrational. Rigs are drilling all over the world, why should the US be exempt if we have the technology to increase supply at some point.

Just last week, Obama commended the override of President Bush’s veto of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 – extending subsidies for corn ethanol. That’d be OK in moderation, but this bill proposed $288 billion in spending, in part for an alternative fuel that is actually harming the American consumer. More spending should be concentrated in Nat Gas, solar and wind power. And did I mention? DRILL.

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