By Alan Caruba
A history professor of mine once said that, “No nation is more than two weeks away from a revolution if it cannot provide food to its citizens.”
During the mini-ice age between 1300 and 1850, the weather was so awful that it killed off food crops and, in particular, wheat, a staple of the diet of the poor in France and elsewhere. Lack of bread was enough to trigger the French Revolution and the end of the monarchy. Ironically, it put Napoleon in power and it was the same mini-ice age that decimated his troops when he invaded Russia. Most froze to death on the trek back to La Belle France.
The word in America these days is that food prices are soaring with increases at double-digit rates. There are two places where people notice a rise in costs. One is food. The other is at the gas pump. The average household spends three times as much for food as for gasoline. It accounts for 13 percent of household spending as compared with about 4 percent for gas.
Pay no attention to the folks telling you that Big Oil is making unconscionable profits. ExxonMobil’s profits, despite its earnings, have remained around 10 percent for years. It’s a very expensive business, finding, extracting, refining, and transporting oil and gas.
The price of oil is being bid up beyond all reason by the speculators in the commodities markets. It has nothing to do with the availability of oil. The oil producing countries that control over 70 percent of the known reserves are telling you the truth when they say there’s enough. If you were them, would you go out of your way to drive the price down? I didn’t think so.
The other component of high food prices is also related to the pain at the pump. It’s ethanol, a gasoline additive made primarily from corn and soy. The government passed a law that it must be part of every gallon of gas you buy in order to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions in order to save the Earth from global warming.
Only there isn’t any global warming except for the one degree Fahrenheit the Earth has warmed since the end of the last mini-ice age. No dramatically rising ocean levels. No massive melting of glaciers and ice shelves. In fact, if you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, the United States and the rest of the world have been encountering some horrendous blizzards. There’s been more snow in more places than in the memory of many people.
When the government creates a subsidized market, farmers take note. Even wheat farmers decide to plant corn instead. That means less wheat and that increases the cost of bread and other wheat products. Since the corn is being burned for fuel instead of used as food, that drives of the cost of some 3,000 uses that are derived from corn.
Oil has hit $107 per barrel. Food prices have jumped from 25 to 40 percent. All of this is the result of artificial actions that have nothing to do with supply and demand, and everything to do with greedy Wall Street behavior (now there’s a surprise) and astonishingly stupid legislative policies based on bad and false science.
Americans are being screwed by their own government. It’s being led by a President who insists we are “addicted” to oil and a Congress that will not permit the exploration or extraction of the oil we have, so we have to import most of it.
It is a Congress whose leadership such as Rep. Pelosi, Sen. Reid, Sen. Lieberman, and others keep lying about global warming. Sen. Hillary Clinton wants to seize oil company profits and spend it in some fashion, presumably not to find any new oil. Sen. McCain is a global warming believer, too. All of these people are a danger to the future of this nation and there doesn’t appear to be a damn thing we can do about it.
Thanks to them, life for Americans is going to get more expensive.
One wonders when the revolution will begin?