Win One For Your Family, Help Kill the Farm Bill

You can call your Congressman at his local office, but only for the next few days. After that, he will go back to cavorting with the lobbies and those who fund Superfund PACS. Call him at his office now, twice a week, and ask others to call him, too.

You have a personal interest in the Farm Bill. Never mind if you’re not a farmer and you’re not against farmers… I’m definitely not against them. The bill is about your daily expenditures for food and fuel. Congress knows, and hopes you do not know, that the Farm Bill forces you to spend a fixed dollar amount every year on fuel that is not good for your car and does not help the air or water. This is your best chance to help yourself by doing something that is easy to understand.

These are the facts:

Your Congressman has no excuse for allowing the ethanol industry to pick your pockets. He or she knows the truth; everything we write about it is scientifically known and testable. Congress is yielding to pressure, as they always do, unless you exert local pressure on them from your home.

About 1/3 of the money you spend on ethanol is wasted, and this direct cost is by far the smallest cost to you. You are already forced to buy 10% ethanol in your gas, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated an increase to 15%. The energy required to produce ethanol is more than the energy it generates in your engine. This is why ethanol is a lousy, wasteful fuel, and chemical engineers have clearly understood this from the beginning.

The direct cost of the ethanol scam in the form of fuel is only the tip of the cost iceberg. In my opinion, the production of ethanol is the number one cause of escalating food cost world wide by its impact on the cost of grain and meat.

Meat in U.S. markets is directly linked with corn feed, and the ethanol scam now consumes up to 1/3 of all the billions of bushels of corn produced in the U.S. Corn prices are being forced higher, now exceeding $6.92 per bushel ($.11 per pound). The cost of a corn yield reduced by drought and the voracious appetite of the ethanol industry gets passed on to the consumer. Trust me, your congressman knows.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette, an Iowa newspaper, says this: “When they return from their weeklong Fourth of July recess, members of Congress will face a race against the clock to finish the $500 billion farm bill. The current farm bill will expire Sept. 30 without House approval and a presidential signature. The Senate’s 64-35 approval of the massive legislation, which is renewed every five years, puts the onus on the House to pass its own bill, which it hasn’t yet started drafting. The GOP-controlled E-15 hasn’t even scheduled its initial meeting on the bill until July 11, and Republicans will almost certainly demand changes to the Democratic-led Senate’s bill.”

The facts are irrefutable, and there is one more topper. This bill contains tens of billions to pay for crop insurance for farmers. This means that if a huge agribusiness company does not get a good crop, you pay the insurance company to cover their loss. It’s also a direct subsidy to big insurance companies that have jumped into the crop insurance business. Try topping that one!

You have only a few days to pressure your elected representative to do what he or she knows is the right thing to do but will not do unless forced by constituents. Your message is simple: Vote “No” on the new Farm Bill and let it expire on September 30. This bill is about giving away $500 billion dollars. Do not try to fix it. Kill it.

Don’t let anyone tell you “you must save the environment.” The most vocal environmentalists, including Al Gore, now openly state that Ethanol does nothing at all to help clean air or prevent global warming. “Balderdash” is a good answer, if your congressman or an aide tries to feed you this line from the ethanol lobby.

Do not believe “its a humanitarian thing” — the food stamp program can stand alone without ethanol scam legislation. Just say “No Farm Bill, let it die.” This bill is too false to be fixed.

Al, a reader from Arkansas, told me his grandfather and father were both bootleggers, and he knew how to make corn liquor (also known as diluted ethanol). Al called to support the scientifically provable thesis that ethanol produces less energy than it costs to make.

It seems making corn liquor (white lightning) during the Prohibition era, involved hiding the still where it would not be found, usually in a cave or in the woods near a clear stream. The bootlegger had to haul a batch of corn plus clean water to his still and ferment it, just like the ethanol factory does. Some time later, the water/alcohol mix was filtered from the mash and distilled, just as the ethanol factory does.

But to boil off and recover the alcohol from the water, the bootlegger applied a lot of heat, which meant burning a lot of wood, which made smoke, which made bootlegging more detectable.

Why not burn part of the ethanol processed last week to distill more ethanol this week, the bootleggers must have reasoned. After all, the ethanol does not make smoke and it would be easier to hide the still. Al explained that every bootlegger knew instinctively that it required burning more than a gallon of corn liquor to make a gallon of corn liquor. So bootleggers knew they had to cut plenty of wood!

Not one ethanol plant burns ethanol to make ethanol; that would burn more than it would make. Most burn lots of natural gas. No farmers I have ever heard of burn ethanol in their tractors and trucks… they burn diesel fuel (a hydrocarbon) to make ethanol as a hydrocarbon substitute, because they all know what the bootlegger knows… ethanol is a lousy fuel.

It is time to stop reading and start calling!

Chuck Carlson