Refunds and Recipients

Let’s do a little math, shall we? Uncle Sam, in the name of “economic stimulation,” is giving each of us $600, plus $300 per child, of our own money back, to help pull our economy back from the brink.

Let’s see where that goes…

Eighteen months ago gas prices in, oh, say Baltimore, were low. about $2.12 a gallon. That’s about the time agribusiness started spooling up for the great ethanol ripoff.

Price now: $3.55. So, assuming 12,000 miles a year, that’s 18,000 miles times. At an average of 21.9 MPG, that’s $1,060.27 more for the next 18 months, assuming (LOL) that the price of gas won’t rise any more.

That’s the big gorilla. For those of you not afflicted with a car, here’s a small one:

Got Milk? Got Money? According to a NY Daily News article in January, milk prices are up 36% year-to-year. So what was $3.18 is now $4.41. I guess it’s a good thing we’re using less of it, since cows are eating corn that would otherwise be used for ethanol.

Makes a great case for breastfeeding and leaving it at that, only the cost of soybeans has also risen, due to the diversion of acreage to growing corn for ethanol instead of food. But these are trivial rises.

Bottom line: the $1,800 a family of four (with two cars) would receive from the government’s economic stimulus package melts, just opposite the $2,120 in additional cost just from gas increases, not to mention all the other food and essential goods increases.

So if someone wants to stimulate the economy, I have the following suggestions:

  1. Stop making ethanol from corn. It’s increasing food prices all over the world, and competing with feed corn for livestock and milk production.
  2. Put negative price pressure on the cost of a barrel of oil. Price increases are a function of purchase of oil on the spot market; refineries and distributors peg their increases to them.
  3. Oil companies are engaging in profiteering. While Libertarians might rejoice in this exercise of the free market at work, it puts an incredible burden on those of us who depend on this liquid for our lives. Trucks, trains, planes, automobiles, generators… you know, civilization as Americans like it? If an electric trading company decided it wanted to play with the cost of electricity… oh, wait: Enron! Anyone seeing this? ExxonMobil’s excessive profits are at the cost of the entire US economy, and if the government really wants to loosen the pressure on it’s citizenry, getting prices audited and under control is a big deal. (And before anyone talks about price control, realize that cutting Strategic Reserves oil stocks loose is a direct form of price control as well.)

Well? What are you doing sitting around? Go and tell people!