By Sheryl Kaufman
A few Executive Orders quite quickly flipped the U.S. energy supply situation from surplus to shortage. Just wait until you see what they can do to the world food supply.
President Joe Biden campaigned on destroying the American fossil fuel industry. On “Day One” of his Administration, he leapt into the task. Canceling U.S. pipelines, oil leases, and infrastructure project permits, Biden turned the nation from the world’s largest producer and a major exporter to a net importer of oil and gas. Months ago, Biden was begging OPEC to increase petroleum production to alleviate U.S. shortages that had driven gasoline up a dollar across the nation during the first year of his Administration.
Compounded with the COVID-19 lockdowns and misguided employment policies that have wreaked havoc on our economy, food prices are also skyrocketing. World supply chain issues as well as energy shortages are driving inflation and leaving stores with empty shelves.
The Russian war in Ukraine tore away any remaining mask on the impact of Biden’s energy policy on our national security. That’s only the beginning of his policy errors.
Last week in Poland, the President announced that sanctions on Russia would inevitably result in world food shortages. No kidding. Russia exports 12.6 percent of the world’s fertilizer in addition to 17.6 percent of the world’s wheat exports, 38 million metric tons. Ukraine is known as “the breadbasket of Europe” as the source of wheat exports annually totaling 8 percent of the world. Further, natural gas is a key component in fertilizer, and farming requires energy, not to mention food distribution.
Without irony, at the same time Biden was in Europe, the Administration announced expansion of the Conservation Reserve Program, the federal program that pays farmers to NOT grow crops. No kidding, your tax dollars are being used to reduce your food supply, and this has been going on since the 1950s.
The Conservation Reserve Program is a typical federal program, although well intentioned, it is inefficient and ultimately misguided. Drawing an illustration from personal experience, decades ago, my dad’s construction company bought a field to make it a gravel pit. Every year they received a small payment for not planting wheat in the gravel pit. Dad tried to decline the payments, but the Department of Agriculture eventually notified him that the paperwork to stop the payments would equal the cost of several years of payments. The successor company is probably still getting payments.
If you were to assume that this program actually removed acres of land that were productive rather than rock fields or non-farmable swamps, the rationale of reducing domestic food supply at this time is unfathomable.
In food production as well as energy production, no Administration can set aside the laws of economics. Reducing supply will increase price.
You cannot deny the laws of supply and demand any more than you can deny the law of gravity. You can only deny culpability. “I didn’t push him. It’s all Trump’s fault. It’s all Putin’s fault.”
Sheryl Kaufman is a retired corporate Chief Economist and Americans for Limited Government Board Member.
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