The ethanol craze

Private businesses shut down mistakes that can’t be fixed. Governments make hopeless programs bigger and claim success.With tax incentives and a market mandate, the US government has stirred up a national craze over fuel ethanol. Politicians from both major parties, including President George W. Bush, have oversold ethanol as a way to reduce US dependence on foreign oil and improve air quality. In truth, the purpose is political: to stimulate agricultural businesses and farm-state economies. There’d be nothing horrible about that if the help came at no one else’s expense. But the ethanol program costs fuel consumers and taxpayers plenty.The craze, however, has begun. Aut...

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