So on Monday, Nov 22, 2010 in Athens, Greece, our Godfather of environmentalism admits that the ethanol mandate that he pursued so vigorously in our bio-fuels strategy was both mistaken and self promoting in seeking the presidency (h/t Newsbusters). Now he tells us!
Projection occurs according to Freud as a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings or thoughts. It was Gore who warned against listening to any scientist who’s research was funded by energy companies since the results would be tainted by funding bias. Yet it was Gore who now admits that his policy prescription for combating the burning of fossil fuels was mistaken as he was trying to buy off votes from farmers in his home state of Tennessee and in Iowa.
Now clearly this is barely newsworthy that a politician has been caught admitting that he crafted bad policy in order to secure votes. It smacks of a dog-bites-man kind of story. But from the Reuters story linked above, the US government in 2009 alone spent nearly $8 billion subsidizing corn based ethanol from which now 41% of our corn crop is used. This has produced a dramatic increase in food prices as well as being a monumental waste of tax payer funds. Why?
Studies have shown that it requires more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the energy contained in that same gallon and for this we are subsidizing the cost of its production and mandating its inclusion into our gasoline mixtures. And if this is true then why are we still doing this? Because once these corporate welfare programs are embedded into law, they become extremely difficult to get rid of. This is one of the fundamental reasons for the spontaneous emergence of the tea parties these past two years. Government expenditures on absolutely useless and wholly counter-productive programs are what drives the tea partiers crazy and there are literally thousands of programs just like this.
The government simply cannot be trusted to pick winners and losers in the economic marketplace. This is a prime example of why they are not to be trusted. They abuse the power of their offices in return for votes, creating policies that are harmful to our well being and diverting resources from their most productive uses to value destroying uses. And it costs them nothing to play this game. The costs are all born by those of us who are forced to pay higher prices at the supermarket.
While Al Gore is hardly the first politician to confess to this kind of tactic, it does beg a question about what other greater causes he has promoted while hiding behind a potential for personal gain (Global Warming anyone and his investment funds in green technology). The story also illustrates the dangers of government that is too big and un-accountable. It is high time that we-the-people paid much more attention to their value destroying mischief. Much better to support those who espouse frugality and prudence over those who want to interject government solutions into our all aspects of our lives.