Corn Conspiracy?

We see that The Dallas Morning News tackled the ubiquitousness of corn today, showing how everything from sodas to bread to bacon is suffused with high fructose corn syrup. Arguable result: fatso nation. But this just scratches the surface of rampant corn perniciousness and the powerful political (Iowa Caucuses) forces at work ramming this stuff down our throats and into our gas tanks.

Corn is a heavily taxpayer-subsidized commodity that leads to massive over production; mountains of corn have to be disposed of each year. It's used in food processing. We feed it to livestock in filth-ridden feedlots necessitating the use of antibiotics. We pay more at the pump thanks government regulations that mandate the use of corn-based ethanol (packaged with a 50-plus-cent-per-gallon subsidy, or about $3 billion annually) as an oxygenate in gasoline, which hits places like Dallas particularly hard because we're far from the corn industrial complex (Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska) and ethanol is difficult and expensive to transport.

Plus, converting corn into ethanol is highly inefficient, yielding very little or no energy when computed against energy inputs--fertilizer, tractor fuel, processing, transportation—needed to produce it. As Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma : A Natural History of Four Meals, says in this interview, we have dramatically distorted society to dispose of unneeded corn. We spend massive amounts of money to grow it and massive amounts to dump it, all to the huge benefit of politically connected welfare queens. That's why it's encouraging that beef pasture ranchers Jon and Wendy Taggart of Grandview are planning a store selling pasture-raised meats and cheeses in Dallas. It ain't much, but it's a start. We could also boycott corn, I suppose. Except for movie buckets. --Mark Stuertz

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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