Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Going Yellow

"Our ethanol subsidy is... particulary disgraceful..., especially given the availability of much cheaper sugar-based Brazilian ethanol blocked by a high tariff from competing with the ethanol produced from our corn. It is possible though unproven that ethanol as a fuel involves a net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared to gasoline and so may help to limit global warming. I qualify with "unproven" because while ethanol is not a fossil fuel and so burning it does not emit carbon dioxide, its production requires fossil fuel. Even if ethanol as a fuel has definite advantages from the standpoint of controlling global warming, this is a poor argument for a subsidy of it, as the subsidy can distort the efficient choice of inputs into the manufacture of fuel. Better would be a tax on carbon dioxide emissions; this would give producers and consumers of fuels and of products utilizing fuels, such as cars and electricity, an incentive to search out the cheapest substitutes for fossil fuels, which might or not include ethanol."
- Judge Posner, The Becker-Posner Blog, on Agricultural Subsidies

So with Ethanol, Bush looks like he actually cares about global warming or our dependence on (foreign) oil, but actually just provides a fat disguised subsidy to corn farmers. I thought the Republican party was supposed to be against welfare. The worst bit is the repackaging of this agenda, as if he's too scared to just tell people where his interests lie (as if we haven't figured it out by now). Yellow, indeed.