Three From Papola: Ethanol, Inequality, & Consumption

John Papola authored the Forbes piece, and linked to the other two.

It appears that government is the cause of (rather than the solution to) most of our problems. Don’t tell Joe Stiglitz.

The Unequal State of America: Redistributing Up - Reuters: “The federal government has emerged as one of the most potent factors driving income inequality in the United States – especially in the nation’s capital.

In the town that launched the War on Poverty 48 years ago, the poor are getting poorer despite the government’s help. And the rich are getting richer because of it. The top 5 percent of households in Washington, D.C., made more than $500,000 on average last year, while the bottom 20 percent earned less than $9,500 – a ratio of 54 to 1. That gap is up from 39 to 1 two decades ago. It’s wider than in any of the 50 states and all but two major cities. This at a time when income inequality in the United States as a whole has risen to levels last seen in the years before the Great Depression.

We can not spend our way to prosperity, individually or collectively.

Think Consumption Is The ‘Engine’ Of Our Economy? Think Again. – Forbes: There is a fundamental illogic to the notion that an economy can be grown by encouraging consumption. When a person consumes, by definition, they use things up. The very process leaves us with less than before. Growing the availability of valuable goods and services for society by using them up is not just an impossibility—it’s an absurdity. Consumption is the goal, but it is production that is the means. For most of human history, ordinary people had to spend their lives growing food. Today, we have many billions more people on the planet. And yet food is cheaper, better and of greater variety than ever before. Still, almost nobody works in agriculture. We didn’t create this wealthy, amazing world… by eating. We did it by saving our seed corn, investing and ultimately inventing our way out of farming jobs. Thank heavens we did.

In case you needed another reason to dislike the burning food in our cars.

Study: New E15 gas can ruin auto engines – WashingtonExaminer.com: Now, according to a new study, cars and truck may face the same fate thanks to President Obama’s demand for a higher ethanol in the new E15 gas. The fuel industry’s American Petroleum Institute tested the 15 percent ethanol gas approved in 2010 and found it gums up fuel systems, prompts “check engine” lights to come on, and messes with fuel gauge readings.