The Food Tax Strikes Again

by William Yeatman on April 9, 2008

Latest unstable country to experience riots as a result of increasing food prices brought on, at least in part, by the Ethanol Mandate is our old friend Haiti

“Hungry Haitians stormed the presidential palace Tuesday to demand the resignation of President Rene Preval over soaring food prices and U.N. peacekeepers battled rioters with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Rioters were chased away from the presidential palace but by late afternoon had left trails of destruction across Port-au-Prince. Concrete barricades and burned-out cars blocked streets, while windows were smashed and buildings set on fire from the capital's center up through its densely populated hills.

Outnumbered U.N. peacekeepers watched as people looted businesses near the presidential palace, not budging from the building's perimeter. Nearby, but out of sight of authorities, another group swarmed a slow-moving car and tried to drag its female driver out the window.

"We are hungry! He must go!" protesters shouted as they tried to break into the presidential palace by charging its chained gates with a rolling dumpster. Moments later, Brazilian soldiers in blue U.N. helmets arrived on jeeps and assault vehicles, firing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters and forcing protesters away from the gates.

Food prices, which have risen 40 percent on average since mid-2007, are causing unrest around the world. But nowhere do they pose a greater threat to democracy than in Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries where in the best of times most people struggle to fill their bellies.”

Haiti follows Egypt, Indonesia and Mexico to suffer such unrest in recent months.  If you want to destablize poor countries, raising food prices is a good way to do it, and supporting ethanol mandates is a good way to do that.  The poor Haitians have been reduced to eating dirt:

“For months, Haitians have compared their hunger pains to "eating Clorox" because of the burning feeling in their stomachs. The most desperate have come to depend on a traditional hunger palliative of cookies made of dirt, vegetable oil and salt.”

What a triumph for the socially-conscious!  Henceforth, in the spirit of Cobden and Bright, I shall be referring to the ethanol mandate as the Food Tax.

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