Saturday, November 10, 2007

Screwing the poor to secure votes.

The world food situation worsens as politicians continued to ravage agricultural markets in order to give subsidies to large energy companies and Agribusiness. This, we should note, is a bipartisan policy in the United States with Democrats among the worst offenders. One of the strongest supporters of subsidizing such large corporations, at the expense of the world’s poor and hungry, is the sainted Al Gore.

The Guardian reports:
Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico. Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political instability, with governments being forced to step in to artificially control the cost of bread, maize, rice and dairy products. Record world prices for most staple foods have led to 18% food price inflation in China, 13% in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10% or more in Latin America, Russia and India, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Wheat has doubled in price, maize is nearly 50% higher than a year ago and rice is 20% more expensive, says the UN. Next week the FAO is expected to say that global food reserves are at their lowest in 25 years and that prices will remain high for years.
Lester Brown of Worldwatch, who generally doesn’t understand markets and thus has a sad record on such matters, does correctly see the cause of this crisis. “The competition for grain between the world’s 800 million motorists, who want to maintain their mobility, and its 2 billion poorest people, who are simply trying to survive, is emerging as an epic issue.” Okay, so Brown is off a bit.

It is not motorists to blame, Mr. Brown, it is your saviours and saints in the halls of Congress, the White House, parliaments around the world, and those in Brussels at the EU headquarters who are to blame. Brown notes that 20% of the US corn crop went to ethanol. But motorists didn’t do this. Ethanol is a bad deal for motorists.

It was this alliance of crazy environmentalists and greedy corporatist that combined to rip off motorists, taxpayers, and the worlds poor. Hillary Clinton, who previously voted against ethanol, is now proposing boosting it -- she wants votes in the farm states. Ethanol increases the demand for grains and thus is throws money into the farm states where Hillary wants support for her bid for power. Obama has voted to starve poor blacks in Africa in order to get the votes of white people in Iowa. And I should note the Republicans are just as bad. But they don’t get all weepy about how they want to help the world’s poor the way Hillary and Barack do. Why aren’t Democrats, who pride themselves on being compassionate (provided they can use someone else’s money for it) so quiet about this assault on the poorest people in the world?

World food production was outpacing population contrary to the dire predictions of the doomsday merchants. Then these selfsame environmental interest groups started pushing for biofuels to consume food products. The corporatists, who are constantly in an alliance with the socialist left, rushed in because they were the ones who would make money off this boondoggle. Once you had the alliance of Agribusiness, Big Energy and the Greens it was a done deal. Politicians lined up to fleece taxpayers in order to subsidize these “alternative” fuels and they simply don’t give a damn about what it does to people, or the environment, in the long run.

It irritates me to no end that so many progressives and leftists simply don’t understand that power corrupts. Politics is not the solution. It is the organized use of force by elites and when that is allowed to exist the wealthy and powerful use that power in order to redistribute wealth to themselves. And the first group of people to redistribute to themselves are the politicians who you think are going to save the planet. If you want to save the planet, fire the politicians. And the so-called progressive politicians, like Hillary and Obama are among the absolute worst.

Biofuels are not just bad policy and bad economics. They are monstrously immoral. Food is literally being taken out of the mouths of the world's poor in order to buy votes for the likes of Queen Hillary. This is a prime example of the perverse incentives created by the political process.

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