The subject of King Corn's destructive iron grip on the United States can drive people a bit up the wall. Paul Krugman, for example, relates a rare bit of editorial interference from The New York Times:

However, I was told that I couldn’t use the lede I originally wrote for my column following the 2007 State of the Union address, in which Bush made ethanol the centerpiece of his energy strategy: “Before the State of the Union address, there had been hints and hopes that President Bush would offer a serious plan to reduce our dependence on imported oil. Instead, however, he took refuge in alcohol.”



Similarly, when I was in Chuck Schumer's office we were putting together some anti-ethanol talking points for Schumer to use in a committee hearing or on the senate floor or something and I wanted to include something about how "you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of corn" but that was deemed (correctly) to be over the top. Still, this is what happens when an uncontroversially correct policy argument, widely agreed to by experts from all ideological points of view, runs headlong into a deadly mix of special interest politics and America's idiosyncratic corn-boosting political institutions.

Photo by Flickr user edcrowle used under a Creative Commons license

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.