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U.S. Clean Energy Investment Puts Upward Pressure on Rising Food Prices

In U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, he highlighted clean energy investment as a key component of America's future, one that will be reflected in his budget proposal for fiscal 2012.

"With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015," the president said in his speech to members of Congress. "[I]nstead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's."

This commitment to clean energy investment increases the importance of biofuels like ethanol, made from corn and other agricultural products. About 40% of U.S. corn is used to make ethanol, and increased ethanol production leads to higher corn and food prices.

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Hidden Inflation: Food Prices Flying Under the Fed's Radar

Soaring food prices have been, perhaps, the most pressing global issue of the past two years – yet the U.S. Federal Reserve has taken a "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" approach to the global crisis.

Instead, the Fed has dutifully maintained its focus on so called "core inflation" in the United States – even as Americans suffer the consequences of the "hidden inflation" the government refuses to account for.

The Federal Reserve excludes food and fuel prices from its preferred gauge of inflation because they are often influenced by erratic weather patterns and political turmoil. That at times has been the case over the past few years.

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