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ABC: 'Blame' Inflation on the 'Price of Wheat'

     Don’t expect the media to connect the dots between inflation, higher food prices and government mandated increases in the use of biofuels. ABC didn’t.

 

     “World News with Charles Gibson” explained on February 20 that biofuels are driving up food prices, which is driving up inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key inflation reading, rose 0.4 percent in January according to the Labor Department, matching December’s rise.

 

     “Blame it on the price of wheat,” said ABC correspondent Sharon Alfonsi. “Demand for alternative energy has farmers planting less wheat and more corn – the key ingredient of ethanol. Add the growing appetite for wheat from developing countries and the supply is strained.

 

     Alfonsi continued, “U.S. wheat stock piles have hit a 60-year low and wheat prices have never been higher. That means the cost of pasta has doubled and that loaf of bread – it’ll cost you an extra 20 cents. Economists say it is the fastest-rising rate of food inflation in nearly 15 years.”

 

     What Alfonsi didn’t explain is that the “demand for alternative energies” is an artificial demand created by government mandate. According to the February 12 USA Today, it is heavily-subsidized “government-mandated biofuels” that are contributing to the higher commodity prices.

 

     “Soaring demand, rising oil prices and government-mandated biofuel use have sent many commodity prices to their highest levels in history,” Sue Kirchhoff and John Waggoner wrote in USA Today.

 

     To add insult to injury, biofuels – including corn-based ethanol – aren’t even environmentally friendly, according to experts. A January 23 story by the Associated Press reported that biofuels do more harm than good to the environment.

 

     “But in recent months, scientists, private agencies and even the British government have said biofuels could do more harm than good,” AP reporter Michael Casey wrote. “Rather than protecting the environment, they say energy crops destroy natural forests that actually store carbon and thus are a key tool in the fight to reduce global warming.”

 

     Two recent studies have shown that the production of corn-based ethanol actually contributes more to “global warming” than the burning of fossil fuels.

 

     What about the use of bio-fuels supposedly “reducing our dependence on foreign oil?” – a notion presented by both Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

 

      According to an editorial in the February 21 Investor’s Business Daily, our dependence on “foreign oil” in a global oil market would be solved if Democrats in Congress would stop restricting the supply and open up part of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil drilling.

 

     “Suppose you had a ton of money sitting in your bank account but you decided to max out your credit cards anyway,” the editorial said. “That’s the energy policy of the United States as fashioned by the Democrat-controlled Senate. At these prices, we have a trillion dollars worth of oil sitting under a section of frozen tundra the size of Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C. We could go get it,” the editorial said.