Obama Seeks To Protect Ethanol By Inflating Meat Prices
From the Washington Examiner:
Campaigning in Missouri Valley, Iowa, yesterday, President Obama announced yet another government spending program — this time designed to inflate meat prices in Midwest swing states. “Today the Department of Agriculture announced that it will buy up to $100 million worth of pork products, $50 million worth of chicken, and $20 million worth of lamb and farm-raised catfish,” Obama explained to reporters in front of a drought-stricken cornfield.
“Prices are low, farmers and ranchers need help, so it makes sense,” Obama explained. “It makes sense for farmers who get to sell more of their product, and it makes sense for taxpayers who will save money because we’re getting food we would have bought anyway at a better price.”
None of this makes sense. In fact, Obama’s move only harms American consumers while protecting a corrupt federal program.
A drought is currently driving down corn production. The shortage of feed is forcing livestock producers to slaughter animals early, putting downward pressure on meat prices in the short run and guaranteeing shortages and higher prices next year. But nature is not the biggest factor in this crisis — the government is. Specifically, the federal government’s ethanol mandate, which requires that 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be produced in 2012.
There is a lot of support, often from both Republicans and Democrats, for government interventions into the marketplace to support this or that industry. The problem is the government’s forays into the market almost always have unintended consequences that are far worse than whatever consequences there may have been for no intervention at all, often leaving the public paying both for subsidies and other industry-supporting measures and higher prices due to things like shortages and protectionism.
We need more faith in the free market.Tags: ethanol, free markets, subsidies