Forgot the Mortgage Scandal, Let’s Talk Corn Scandal
I live in Nebraska, so what I'm about to say is heresy. But we need more heretics.
I read somewhere the other day that gas that contains corn ethanol produces more greenhouse gasses than straight gasoline, and even more than other, easier to produce sources of ethanol. And we know that the growth of the ethanol industry has driven up corn prices for everyone else (which has far reaching ripple effects on the prices of other foods).
So if corn ethanol is dirty, expensive, and accelerates global warming, why don't we switch to something else? And why did the EPA approve the sale of gasoline with higher ethanol content?
And for crying out loud, why is the government subsidizing dirty, greenhouse pumping fuel that drives up corn prices?
The answer is pretty obvious: somebody's profiting from it, and they want more profits. Apparently, they've bought the ears of the policy makers.
So here's the real question: how do we stop it?
Perhaps the answer is branding.
"High Ethanol Corn Fuel"
Did you hear that there's a push to rename high fructose corn syrup? With so much evidence piling up proving that high fructose corn syrup is largely responsible for our obesity epidemic, the stuff has gotten a bad name.
First we heard the "but it's natural, made from corn" ads that tried to convince us that it wasn't really as unhealthy as the science shows. And we all know that everything natural is healthy, right?
Apparently that didn't work, because now there's a push to get it renamed "corn sugar". That's only two letters different from "cane sugar", so it can't be that bad, can it? Yeah, right. "High fructose corn syrup" will do just fine.
If the name "high fructose corn syrup" has a bad name, maybe we need to start calling E10 and E15 fuel (gas with 10% and 15% ethanol respectively) "high ethanol corn fuel".
The Mortgage Corn Scandal
And maybe an analogy will help. We all despise the people responsible for the mortgage crisis -- the greedy jack wagons who got rich making the bad loans that ruined the world economy.
How are the people behind corn ethanol any different? They may not be in a position to cause quite as much trouble as their mortgage banker cousins, but they're doing the same thing: pushing harmful products for their own profits.
I'm guessing that very few of the farmers who are enjoying higher corn prices because of the growth of ethanol think of themselves as being like sub-prime lenders. Perhaps that needs to change.
On the other hand, the politicians who support the ethanol industry probably know exactly what they're doing. But as long as the public doesn't think of them like they would of politicians supporting sub-prime mortgage lenders, what reason do they have to change?