Usually, the unintended consequences of government policy appear in areas other than those that the policy is trying to address. So, for instance, government prohibited alcohol sales to cut booze consumption and a black market in alcohol popped up. Or Schwarzenegger is raising taxes and Golden State residents are beginning an exodus. Or Vermont outlawed roadside billboards to protect its pastoral vistas and large, bizarre sculptures – such a 12-foot, 16-ton gorilla clutching a real Volkswagen Beetle — materialized adjacent to car dealers.
But when it comes to corn-based ethanol, government subsidies are accelerating the very thing they were supposed to combat: namely global warming. This is the conclusion not of some evil, knevil out-fit funded by the satanic oil industry. No, siree. This is what the saintly, truth-seeking Environmental Protection Agency just found. In a study that is hot off the press, the agency concludes that: “Demand for land on which to grow crops for biofuels can lead to deforestation and destruction of grasslands and wetlands, resulting in substantial global warming pollution.”
So what is an administration that is hell-bent on foisting a cap-and-trade tax-and-spend bill that will saddle the country with trillions of dollars in new energy costs to deal with this mother of all environmental threats planning to do? Surely, it will move post haste to put the elimination of these subsidies on a high-speed-rail track in Congress, right? Wrong. That would be lunatic thinking worthy of a simple-minded, utterly credulous ingÃ©nue — not the superior reasoning abilities of the sophisticates in the Obama administration.
Indeed, in the wake of the study, administration officials are taking immediate steps to help boost the biofuels industry. This includes the creation of an interagency task force to come up with ways to use more ethanol and other biofuels in cars and fueling stations. In addition, Energy Secretary Chu announced $786 million in stimulus funds for advanced biofuels and expansion of commercial biorefineries.
In other words, you, dear taxpayer, will pay higher energy prices to slow down global warming. And you will pay higher taxes to speed up global warming. Either way, you will be doing something for global warming.