Your tax dollars at work:

And again:

Add $7.0 billion annually in corn ethanol subsidies – helping to link the price of corn to the price of gasoline – poor harvests worldwide, and the high price of energy, and you can get things like this:

There appears to be no federally-recommended dietary allotment for mud.

The usual answer, as with biofuels, is that subsidies are always bad, and that a thorough liberalization of the agricultural sector will solve all of our problems. I don’t know if that’s true. The problems here seems to be A) we are subsidizing inefficient uses of resources, and, independently, B) competition for resources is pricing the poor out of the market. Perhaps if cattle feed/corn ethanol costs were not subsidized, American farmers would efficiently grow more inexpensive grains to feed the world’s poor. Optionally, they might stop growing corn, and instead grow something else that sells to well-fed people with lots of disposable income, or get out of farming entirely. I don’t know enough about the farming business to tell you which one is more likely to come to pass, but I see no general reason to think the first is any more likely than the second, and I see no reason why the second is less of an obscenity than what we have now.  If there’s $1.5 billion available to subsidize delicious, nutritious tobacco – to say nothing of the untold billions we spend subsidizing the delusions of the most hated President in history – there’s probably money available to feed starving children, even at the current, extravagant cost of $0.16 a meal.