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Jim Cook



Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

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The Best of Jim Cook Archive

Commentary Of The Month
August 1, 2007
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By Richard Russell

The idea of using corn to make ethanol is one of the stupidest ideas of the last 50 years. Farmers dropped other crops and turned to corn, which the government subsidized to the tune of over one billion dollars. Corn shot up to its highest price in a decade, but farmers over-planted. Then more recently, the price of corn collapsed. In the meantime, the price of other crops surged, running up the price of food in the US. In all, a new high in government stupidity.

The real problem with ethanol from corn is that it requires fuel to make the corn. David Pimentel a professor from Cornell has done the analysis. An acre of U.S. corn can be processed into about 328 gallons of ethanol. But planting, growing and harvesting that much corn requires about 140 gallons of fossil fuels and costs $347 per acre, according to Pimentel. That is $1.05 per gallon of ethanol before the corn even moves off the farm.

The energy economics get worse at the processing plants, where the grain is crushed and fermented. As many as three distillation steps and other treatments are needed to separate the ethanol from the water. All these need energy.

Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion to ethanol, 131,000 BTU's are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol which has an energy value of only 77,000 BTU. "Put another way," Pimentel says, "about 70 percent more energy is required to produce ethanol than the energy that actually is in ethanol. Every time you make 1 gallon of ethanol, there is a net energy loss of 54,000 BTU."

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