U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., apparently has not heard about things like research and development, or the inevitability of an idea (or product) whose time has come. Instead, Franken insisted at FarmFest this week that the only way to move from the subsidized debacle that is ethanol to a "second generation" of biofuels is to have the government keep pouring billions into the ethanol industry. He describes this as being "pro biorefineries."
But the federal government should not be "pro" anything when it comes to business and industry. This is the definition of crony capitalism, and picking winners and losers.
Isn't it possible to imagine teams of researchers working in labs somewhere coming up with various fuel alternatives, given the time? And by time, we're talking about decades and decades, as the world continues to use the most sensible resource available for now, namely petroleum.
We should want to utilize the most convenient, most effective and least expensive resource so that we have the energy we need while alternatives are developed. And we have to stop pretending that our knowledge is greater than it is. In other words, we don't have a perfect solution for energy needs. To try to force something new on people in the United States and around the globe is wasteful.
Alternative fuels, wind, solar and other "green energy" products have to make sense economically. If they do not, they become drags on the living standards of everyone.