"The myth of socialism is far stronger than the reality of capitalism. That is because capitalism is not really an 'ism' at all. It is what people do if you leave them alone." --Arnold Beichmen
Gas up your Prius, starve a peasant by Mark Steyn (April 27, 2008):
"... [I]t has become the habit of progressive opinion to appropriate the language of war for everything but actual war. ...
In Haiti, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was removed from office April 12. Insofar as history will recall him at all, he may have the distinction of being the first head of government to fall victim to "global warming" – or, at any rate, the "war on global warming" that Time magazine is gung-ho for. At least five people have been killed in food riots in Port-au-Prince. Prices have risen 40 percent since last summer and, as columnist Deroy Murdock reported, some citizens are now subsisting on biscuits made from salt, vegetable oil and (mmmm) dirt. Dirt cookies: Nutritious, tasty and affordable? Well, one out of three ain't bad.
Unlike "global warming," food rioting is a planetwide phenomenon, from Indonesia to Pakistan to Ivory Coast to the tortilla rampages in Mexico and even pasta protests in Italy. So what happened?
Well, Western governments listened to the ecowarriors and introduced some of the "wartime measures" they've been urging. The EU decreed that 5.75 percent of petrol and diesel must come from "biofuels" by 2010, rising to 10 percent by 2020. The United States added to its 51 cent-per-gallon ethanol subsidy by mandating a fivefold increase in "biofuels" production by 2022.
The result is that big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry. When you divert 28 percent of U.S. grain into fuel production, and when you artificially make its value as fuel higher than its value as food, why be surprised that you've suddenly got less to eat? Or, to be more precise, it's not "you" who's got less to eat but those starving peasants in distant lands you claim to care so much about.
Heigh-ho. In the greater scheme of things, a few dead natives keeled over with distended bellies is a small price to pay for saving the planet, right? Except that turning food into fuel does nothing for the planet in the first place. That tree the U.S. Marines are raising on Iwo Jima was most-likely cut down to make way for an ethanol-producing corn field: Researchers at Princeton calculate that, to date, the "carbon debt" created by the biofuels arboricide will take 167 years to reverse.
The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death. On April 15, the Independent, the impeccably progressive British newspaper, editorialized:
"The production of biofuel is devastating huge swaths of the world's environment. So why on Earth is the government forcing us to use more of it?"
You want the short answer? Because the government made the mistake of listening to fellows like you. Here's the self-same Independent in November 2005:
"At last, some refreshing signs of intelligent thinking on climate change are coming out of Whitehall. The Environment minister, Elliot Morley, reveals today in an interview with this newspaper that the Government is drawing up plans to impose a 'biofuel obligation' on oil companies ... . This has the potential to be the biggest green innovation in the British petrol market since the introduction of unleaded petrol."".......
The same Gummint that has given us "free Retirement", aka the bankrupt Social Security system, and "free Mortgages", aka the Fannie & Freddie Bailout, is now poised to "give" us "free Healthcare" and "free Energy"--too cheap to meter, I'm sure.
What could possibly go wrong? This, says Thomas Sowell:
Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world where there were no prices?(Despite the headline, Mr. Steyn and Mr. Sowell are non-attorney spokesmen for American sovereignty, economic sanity and what used to be known as "common sense", such as it is. Any resemblance to Washington, D.C. is strictly coincidental, probably illegal and possibly intersectional, a word not even used by half-mad traffic engineers. Your mileage may vary. See dealer for details. And thank a vet today.)
...There is such a world. It is the world of political rhetoric. No wonder so many people are attracted to that world. It would be a great place to live.
Politicians have more ways of escaping from prices than Houdini had ways of escaping from locks. When savvy pols want to hand out goodies, but don't want to take responsibility for raising taxes to pay for them, they can tax people who can't vote— namely the next generation— by getting the money by selling government bonds that future taxpayers will have to redeem.
...The most politically painless way to hand out goodies, without taking responsibility for their costs, is to pass a law saying that somebody else must provide those goodies at their expense, while the politicians take credit for generosity and compassion.
...While you are enjoying all the goodies that politicians are sending your way, you may notice that your taxes are going up or that the money you earn or the money you have saved won't buy as much as it used to.
Costs that are passed on to businesses can get passed on again to their customers in higher prices. Money that the government prints to spend itself reduces the value of the money in your wallet or in your bank account.
If you are someone looking for a job— maybe a young person entering the labor force or a woman coming back into the labor force after spending a few years taking care of a small child — you may find that there aren't as many jobs available as there used to be before employers had to pay for "social responsibilities," in addition to paying for the value of an employee's work."........