Look – corn ethanol is basically dumb, and subsidizing it is subsidized dumb. But this isn’t really the problem here:
What’s going on? It isn’t that there isn’t enough food. It’s that the ability to fill up a gas tank with gasoline is, in the “wisdom” of the marketplace, the highest value use of the food crop.
Is the demand for one luxury meat meal really bigger than the demand for ten subsistence grain meals? This is true only if the wealthy person’s desires are valued more than the poor person’s desires. A starving Haitian’s desire for a scrap of bread exceeds your desire for your favorite meal by a considerable amount, but his ability to pay is constrained by your desire for steak.
We’re more concerned with feeding our cars (with corn that could be eaten by people) and housing them (by favoring zoning and urban planning that favors sprawl over density) than in feeding and housing people.