Thursday, June 14, 2012

Congress Loves Corporate Welfare Queens - Votes to Keep $1.9 Billion in Annual Sugar Subsidies

America's corporate welfare queens have long been a most privileged American class that eats up gobs of taxpayer dough through the process of filling up campaign coffers and literally buying the votes of Congress Critters to keep their corporate welfare checks flowing. For years, libertarians, free market advocates and many Democrats and liberals have attempted in vain to end corporate welfare. Big Sugar is one of America's biggest welfare queens and has been sucking off the taxpayers teat for decades. Recently, there was a glimmer of hope that Big Sugar subsidies might finally be rolled back because there was indeed some level of motivation in Congress to finally end the practice of taxpayers being Big Sugar's sugar daddy.

The WSJ wrote a piece titled A Sugar Showdown, A vote to protect 5,000 farmers—or the general welfare.

The WSJ article justifiably opines about the billions in sugar subsidies that go to some of the richest farmers in America.  With over $15 trillion in debt and annual deficits of at least $1 trillion,  one would have thought that Congress just might be stricken with a case deficit remorse and vote for once to save the taxpayers a few bucks.  But alas, no such thing came to pass and the US Senate rejected a motion to end the sugar subsidies.  The Sugar Daddies will continue feasting on us, courtesy of a 50-46 vote, roll call vote here.

Cato wrote "Today we have yet another example of Republicans and Democrats teaming up to protect a special interest at the public’s expense. A few hours ago the Senate voted 50-46 to kill an amendment from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would have phased out subsidies and supports for the sugar industry...The big losers from federal sugar programs are U.S. consumers. The Government Accountability Office estimates that U.S. sugar policies cost American consumers about $1.9 billion annually."  Cato also noted that 32 Democrats voted in favor of keeping the subsidies.  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a possible running mate for Romney, voted against the amendment to end the sugar subsidies.  Cato further laments "An obvious sop to the powerful Florida sugar lobby, Rubio’s vote in favor of maintaining the federal government’s Soviet-style sugar racket is an all-too-common example of a politician choosing parochialism over principle....."

In another article on sugar subsidies, it’s more than clear that Americans are looted by the U.S. sugar industry and Congress.
The sugar program is essentially a producer cartel run out of Washington. The Agriculture Department operates a complex loan program to guarantee sugar growers certain prices, which it enforces with import barriers and domestic production controls.

The sugar program also causes environmental damage. Large areas of the Florida Everglades have been converted to cane sugar production as a result of sugar protection. That has caused damage from the related land drainage, runoff of chemical fertilizers, and the destruction of natural habitat. 
With all the negative effects of the sugar program, why does it survive? Because Congress often puts the interests of the favored few ahead of the general public good.
Sugar subsidies also cost our economy jobs because candy producers are fleeing America to other countries where free market sugar prices are substantially lower than US sugar prices. The high cost of sugar in the U.S. has cost 6,400 jobs in the sugar processing industry and the U.S. Trade Commission has the brazen audacity to claim that the program saved 2,200 jobs in the U.S. That’s government math in action – lose 3 jobs for every job it claims to save and drive up consumer food costs. Meanwhile, the number of sugar processing plants in the U.S. has dropped from 23 to 8 and food producers making products containing sugar are moving out of the U.S. In Canada, sugar is 50% cheaper than in the U.S.

America?  Well, we don't need no stinking jobs because Congress is fully committed to keeping its corporate welfare queens fat and happy.

We the People?  We are just slaves on the crony capitalist plantation because we are forced to pay higher prices for sugar (and many other things) while America continues to bleed jobs.

America continues its march toward becoming an impoverished third world oligarchy.

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