Free Markets, Free People

Gore: corn-ethanol subsidy “not a good policy”

Holy moly, perhaps the oceans will rise and hell will freeze over – but it won’t be because of “climate change” or whatever the warmists are calling it this week.  Nope, Al Gore has found a government program he doesn’t like.  Yup, that’s right.  And not only that – and this is the hell freezing over part of it – it’s a “green” government program.

Yes, friends, Al Gore says that the US government’s subsidies for corn ethanol is “not good policy”.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

"It’s hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

Gadzooks.  A flip-flop.  He supported the program previously.  Oh, wait – he was just making a political statement then:

He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

Dear farmers – vote for me and I’ll pay you outrageous subsidies to grow corn for ethanol.  "Certain fondness” my rear end.  Nothing has changed about Gore in the “I’ll say anything to get what I want” department, has it?  Flippin’ piece of crap – buying votes with your tax dollars.   Not that he’s the only one that does it, but for heaven sake, given the financial situation we’re in does he have to be so freakin’ glib about it?

Of course the reason corn-ethanol is a crappy idea is the subsidies are high and thus 40% of the corn grown is grown for ethanol.  That puts it in competition with corn for food.  Any guess what corn based food products have done since this nifty little program has been in place?

Yes, they’ve gone up quite a bit.  In this case, we call that the “law of unintended consequences” only as a rhetorical device.  The consequences may have been unintended but there were any number of economists saying “if you do that you’re going to drive up food prices”.  And, of course, the answer from our government experts was the “you don’t know what you’re talking about”. 

You know, the same experts that have told us that more of us can have more health care and it will cost less.

Anyway I thought you’d enjoy Gore’s little walk-back.  Don’t forget the same experts who brought you corn-based ethanol and higher food prices will be “debating” an energy bill at some point in the future.  I’d hide my wallet before then if I was you.



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19 Responses to Gore: corn-ethanol subsidy “not a good policy”

  • This may help to put a bead on things …

    Gore was the tie-breaking vote in the Senate mandating the use of ethanol in 1994.

  • This will go down the memory hole in record time.

  • Gore states ” the energy conversion ratios are at best very small”.   What a crock.   A recent report by a fellow who has been studying grain alcohol for 20 years stated that making ethanol from corn requires 29% more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel actually contains….and that includes energy required to plant, fertilize and process the ethanol.  The second generation sources are even worse with the miracle switch grass and wood biomass products  requiring 50% and 57% more energy respectively.  To make matters even worse, the vehicle exhausts from gasohol contain more ozone producing compounds while the EPA is cracking down on cities to further lower permissable ozone levels.  And ethanol lowers vehicle miles per gallon.

    Meanwhile, gasoline production requires only 1/5th of the energy contained in the final product, again including drilling, refining, and transporting.

    Somehow, ethanol production is supposed to lower the US demand for fossil fuels.  I’m straining to figure out this last part.

    • ethanol production is supposed to lower the US demand for fossil fuels.
      Simple .. using corn saves the time of waiting for them to become fossils.

  • For me the most important message to take from this was:
    “It’s hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”
    Speaks well for gridlock and a slower and more deliberate pace when writing laws.  Think Obamacare.

  • Apparently OwlGorilla isn’t uneducable, but his motivations–as with any statist progressive–are suspect.  Does he suppose that this admission will confer upon him some <i>gravitas</i>, or is he trying to send up a trial balloon for a new initiative into some other, less-viable alternative?  These Marxist carbuncles do nothing without an underlying reason.  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to discover why he is publicly admitting his error.

    • Yeah.  I read those statements from him, and I picture Captain Lincoln Stern telling his lawyer that it’s okay, because “I’ve got an angle…

  • I dislike Gore as much as the next guy, but I think it’s counter-productive to excoriate him for coming clean on this. Yes, he admitted that he pandered for votes. At least he admitted it. The rest of the politicians continue pretending that they *don’t*.
    So while his pandering, and his former position on ethanol were inexcusable, he deserves praise for acknowledging this.

    • Gore was only the vehicle for shots at a bunch of other things the government is doing/debating/etc. He provides the “case study” as to why those other things are most likely just as bad as the corn-based ethanol idea.

    • It makes you wonder if his current positions on other topics are based more on what is good for him than what is good for all of us.

    • Sure, there is a certain satisfaction having Mr. Gore fess up to his personal use of public policy.
      … but it’s the same as the empty satisfaction of hearing a murderer admit to his crime.

    • Talk is cheap.  I’ll praise him when he puts his money where his mouth is and spends every one of his ill-gotten dimes undoing the almost incalculable harm he’s done.

      • Yes, like when his next movie is called “A convenient lie”, and he exposes how the last 15 years of his life(at least) have been dedicated to making HIM money by screwing science and the world at the same time (all just a plan to release the energy in his 2nd Chakra I suppose).

  • From out of the mouth of Corrupt Stupidity, AlGore bleats the painfully obvious.

  • The cynic in me went to the Kleiner Perkins website to see what the former Vice President’s firm is investing in.  Their Greentech portfolio includes some of everything except “first generation ethanol”.  Especially notable are the wind and solar, as well as the biomass energy projects.  Are the comments aimed at securing a larger share of subsidies for these alternatives?