6/23/08

Ethanol and the 2008 Presidential Election.  New York Times.

Ethanol is one area in which Mr. Obama strongly disagrees with his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona. While both presidential candidates emphasize the need for the United States to achieve “energy security” while also slowing down the carbon emissions that are believed to contribute to global warming, they offer sharply different visions of the role that ethanol, which can be made from a variety of organic materials, should play in those efforts. Mr. McCain advocates eliminating the multibillion-dollar annual government subsidies that domestic ethanol has long enjoyed. As a free trade advocate, he also opposes the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff that the United States slaps on imports of ethanol made from sugar cane, which packs more of an energy punch than corn-based ethanol and is cheaper to produce.   ...  Mr. Obama, in contrast, favors the subsidies, some of which end up in the hands of the same oil companies he says should be subjected to a windfall profits tax.

posted June 23, 2008 at 6:50 a.m.

Argentine Farmers Strike to Oppose New Taxes on Grain Exports.  From the Los Angeles Times.

"Growers on Saturday ended their fourth strike this year, but the battle rages on more than 100 days after it erupted when the government imposed new tariffs on farmers selling grain abroad.  Road closures, export shutdowns and a sense of looming calamity have replaced the relative calm and prosperity of recent years.  ...  Amid soaring global commodity prices, vast quantities of Argentine soybeans, corn and wheat sit while ships waiting to transport grain to Asia and elsewhere float offshore, their holds empty. Growers rejecting the tariffs have held back grain in silos and used trucks and farm machinery to block trucks that transport foodstuffs to ports. The shutdown is adding to world food prices while costing the country billions and dismaying foreign buyers and investors."

           Update:  Coverage from NYTimes here,  and from the Economist here.

posted June 23, 2008 at 6:30 a.m.

updated June 24, 2008 at 6:40 a.m.