David Stokes
Among the mandates, tax credits, and tariffs that are all used to prop up an ethanol industry that depends on government support like a tick to a dog, which is the worst subsidy? I would say that the tariff is the worst of the three, followed closely behind by the mandate here in Missouri that a 10 percent ethanol blend be included in all gas sold in the state. I don't like the tax credit, but without the mandate and the tariff, ethanol's credit is no worse than other farm subsidy programs. So, the blender's credit might be the least bad of the three, but it is still absurd.

Why is the tariff on sugar cane ethanol from Brazil the worst of the three? In my opinion, it is because it directly contradicts the main reason politicians say that we should be supporting ethanol in the first place. Of all the arguments for ethanol subsidies, the one that hits the hardest is that we need to do all we can to end our reliance on oil from the Middle East. Using American gas dollars to support governments that (directly or indirectly) fund terrorists to kill Americans is something I recoil from. So, in order to stop relying on Middle Eastern oil, wouldn't we want as much ethanol as possible being used in the United States?

Well, apparently not, because we have this stupid tariff on sugar cane ethanol from Brazil. Perhaps Brazil is actually an enemy of ours and we can't possibly allow American gas dollars to benefit the Brazilians.

I, for one, would gladly welcome war with Brazil. I think it would go down a lot like our war with our supposed "ally" England in the early 1960s. During that British invasion, our hearts and ears were conquered by English rock stars. I think the same thing would happen here, except that we would be invaded by supermodels instead of rockers. We'd probably have to arrest both Tom Brady and Leonardo DiCaprio because of their conflicted loyalties, but let's all admit that should probably be done anyway.

If the ethanol industry is to be believed, the unstoppable Brazilian supermodel army would do little environmental harm to our country because their tanks probably run on green ethanol fuel. I don't think it would be a particularly violent war, either. I think a lot of American soldiers would be more than happy to surrender to the attacking supermodels.

War with Brazil in 2012. Fought over energy. Powered by ethanol. Conquest by Gisele.

About the Author

David Stokes
David Stokes was a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute from 2007 to 2014 and was director of development from 2014 to 2016.