Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wasting Our Taxs Dollars On Ethanol

IF YOU'RE wondering which of America's leaders are serious about cutting wasteful government spending, you might start by examining who's behind the effort to extend tax breaks to America's corn ethanol industry, which expire at the end of the year. 

For decades, the idea behind corn ethanol has been that fuel derived from the crop could diminish America's dependence on distasteful foreign regimes for fuel - it's done some of this - and cut carbon emissions - it's done little of this. Congress established an overlapping and expensive system of subsidies, requiring that billions of gallons of ethanol be blended into the nation's gasoline, slapping tariffs on foreign ethanol and handing those who blend the fuel into gasoline a tax credit of 45 cents a gallon. 

In other words, the government pays the industry for the privilege of selling to a captive market, spending $6 billion in 2009 on the tax credits alone.
Ethanol has less bang for the buck than fossil-fueled gasoline. This means less gas mileage. That means more gasoline is used. The farmers love it, but the starving millions hate the fact that corn prices have gone through the roof just to sate the tree huggers.

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