Corn, Fill ‘er Up? or On the Cob?

Summer is almost here, and we all know what that means. That’s right, it’s almost BBQ season. Burgers, Hot Dogs, Potato Salad, and good ole’ homegrown Corn on the Cob. Mmmmm, just off the grill with melted butter and just enough salt, that first bite is just a little slice of heaven. So sweet and juicy, gotta start at the bottom, save the top for last, those are the tastiest kernels in my opinion because it’s the youngest part of the corn cob, thus the tastiest. But we have another use for corn these days don’t we? We figured out how to put it in the gas tanks of our cars instead of the traditionally used fuel…..Gasoline. My aren’t we clever people, we keep telling ourselves.

What’s the big deal right? We grow lots of corn here in America, we’re good to go. Not so fast Mr. Idealist, besides that little slice of heaven we enjoy every summer, and this clever idea we’ve come up with to power our cars, corn is used for many more things than you probably realize. Why is all of this important you may ask? What is this crazy conservative talking about now?

Well, despite the fact we grow a lot of corn in this country, there is a finite supply available every year. The amount available goes up and down each year depending on crop yields that year, but within a small range our supply of corn is rather stable, reliable, and cheap from year to year. That was until we had that “clever” idea of ours to put corn in our cars instead of gasoline. At the time , it was promoted as a clean alternative to that nasty mean old Oil. It was renewable – That’s a plus. We controlled the means of production – Also, a plus. It burns cleaner than gasoline….oh wait, nevermind that part was a lie. In fact, Ethanol is actually more polluting than gasoline. Not only when it’s burned in the engine, but when you also factor in all the pollution involved in growing the corn, processing the corn into Ethanol, oh and transporting the Ethanol in diesel burning big rigs to where it’s needed….it’s actually much worse for the environment than oil. As bad as oil is, Ethanol is worse environmentally. But this is no time for rational discussions, we have a planet to save.

The problem with Ethanol goes even further than the so-called clean energy aspect of it. You have to look at the larger picture to see the true fallacy of burning our food supply for fuel.

There is this truth of economics that liberals consistently fail to comprehend, despite the fact they keep telling us they’re the smartest people in the room. It’s called Supply and Demand. For those of you that don’t know what I mean, I’ll try to explain it in simple terms. If there is a lot of something for sale ( Supply ), but not too many people want to buy it (Demand) the price per unit of that item goes down. The supplier is trying to make their product more attractive to more people by lowering the price. This works, the price goes down, more people buy the product and demand goes up. Well, if the supplier doesn’t keep up with the increased demand by manufacturing more of the product, the Supply of the product goes down. Now you have increased demand, but lower supply. The price goes up because now more people are trying to purchase a smaller supply of goods. The ideal is to keep enough Supply on hand to handle the Demand and thus keep prices somewhat stable. Ok, Econ 101 lesson over.

Remember I said the amount of things that use corn would probably surprise you? Here is a brief list, and a link to the full list of products, etc that use corn as part of their process.

Adhesives (glues, pastes, mucilages, gums, etc.)
Antibiotics (penicillin)
Asbestos insulation
Automobiles (everything on wheels)
xxx– cylinder heads

xxx– ethanol – fuel & windshield washer fluid
xxx– spark plugs
xxx– synthetic rubber finishes
xxx– tires

Baby food
Batteries, dry cell

Instant coffee & tea
Insulation, fibreglass
James, jellies and preserves
Latex paint
Leather tanning
Livestock feed
Malted products
Mustard, prepared
Paper board, (corrugating, laminating, cardboard)
Paper manufacturing

Those are just SOME of the things that use corn as part of the manufacturing process. Here is a link to the website that shows the rest. This site estimates that about 2500 of the typical 10000 items in a Grocery store use corn in some way or another to create their product.

So what you say. Big freakin deal. That might be true except, have you seen how the price of basic staples at the store has gone steadily upwards? It’s not really a big mystery as to the cause. We use about 40% of our corn supply to make Ethanol. This is where the liberals get confused as to the concept of cause and effect. Remember our Econ 101 Lesson, what happens to the price of a product when demand is high, but supply is low? That’s right, the price goes up. In the last year, if I recall correctly, the price of a bushel of corn has more than doubled in price. Well hey, those corn farmers must be making out like bandits right about now. I’m sure they are, and good for them. The problem for the rest of us, and the corn farmers too, is that corn now costs more. That means all those companies, ranchers, etc that use corn as part of their process , now have to pay more for the same amount of corn. The supply has been cut by 40% but demand did not go down , in fact, by adding in Ethanol, demand has skyrocketed while the supply has dropped. Milk costs more now because they use corn to feed cows. Meat costs more now because they use corn to feed the cattle, pigs, chickens, and assorted other farm animals. The cost of vegetables has gone up because corn is used in some pesticides that they use to protect their crops. The cost of drywall has gone up because corn is used as part of the manufacturing process of something as simple as wallboard. Add to this, the increased cost of gasoline in general and it’s really no surprise that we see such insane inflation in consumer goods these days. It’s not rocket science, it’s simple math.

The disgusting part to me, and I’m sure many of you is the fact that when this whole Ethanol thing began a few years ago, we warned against burning our food to run our cars. We were called ignorant rubes that weren’t capable of understanding the benefits the liberals wanted to bestow upon us. They were trying to save us from ourselves, it was no time to worry about idiotic conservative ideas like Supply and Demand.

The phrase, We Told You So, just doesn’t cut it.


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