I'm thrilled that another component of the corporate welfare state is finally on the table for a real debate. The American sugar barons are a crime syndicate with heavy ties to Congress Critters but there may finally be a real fight brewing to dislodge the the power of the sugar barons and the fight is long overdue.
Big Candy Revives Sugar Fight On Halloween
The sugar industry wants the federal government's sugar program -- which places tariffs on most foreign sugar -- to continue as it is in the current farm bill. The candy industry wants it repealed or reformed.
The Coalition for Sugar Reform, which includes the National Confectioners Association, sent Congress a Halloween-themed message today. "The U.S. Sugar Program" is scrawled across the top in blood-dripping font and below are "four scary reasons" why the coalition wants Congress should reform the program, including manufacturing job losses and high costs to consumers.
An accompanying release from the coalition also quotes Reps. Joe Pitts, R-Penn., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., who call on Congress to reform the sugar program.
"Halloween reminds us that while the sugar program is a treat for wealthy farmers who benefit from the sugar subsidies, it's nothing but a trick for the millions of American families who pay a hidden tax on sugar every time they go to the grocery store," Pitts said in the release.
On the other end of the fight is the American Sugar Alliance, which casts the candy industry's release as being in poor taste...Not only have the sugar barons been ripping off American consumers for decades, sugar subsidies have also cost America thousands of candy manufacturing jobs as candy producers flee to nations with much lower sugar prices because sugar is a major ingredient of candy. Sugarreform.org, which is an excellent source of information on sugar and government subsidy programs, has posted some documented facts on what the thieving sugar barons have imposed on us.
“Last month, Americans paid 49 percent more for raw sugar than if they were allowed to freely import it. Clearly the sugar program is not a ‘no-cost’ policy, as sugar producers assert, since it increases prices for everyone who buys sugar or products that contain sugar.”
—The Heritage Foundation, “End the U.S. Sugar Program,” blog post, June 6, 2012
“Under this central planning scheme, the federal government restricts the sugar supply, fixes the domestic price at high levels and keeps out competition. Despite record world prices for sugar, the program continues to impose unnecessary price supports, strict production and marketing controls and outdated import quotas. The program is counterproductive, antithetical to a free market economy and has long outlived its usefulness.”
—Fran Smith, Board Member and Adjunct Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Sugar Program Isn’t Sweet for Consumers or the Economy,”Op-ed in The Daily Caller, April 19, 2012
“Government interference in the sugar market hurts consumers and food manufacturers by driving up the price of sugar, threatening competitive farmers and ranchers by jeopardizing export growth, and weakening the U.S. economy by diverting resources from more competitive uses. This Depression-era program, which was supposed to end in 1940, has outlived its intended lifespan by 72 years. It should be abolished.”
—The Heritage Foundation,“The U.S. Sugar Program: Bad for Consumers, Bad for Agriculture, and Bad for America,” Policy Brief, April 18, 2012
“The sugar program is a central planning system that makes consumers pay more for many foods and beverages, means real jobs lost in sugar-using companies, and shuts developing countries out of important markets.”
—Christine Hall, Competitive Enterprise Institute, March 30, 2011
“The federal government has been meddling with sugar production since 1934. Today’s convoluted system of supply controls, price supports, and trade restrictions benefits domestic sugar producers at the expense of consumers and utilizing industries. In other words, sugar producers “win” and the rest of the country ‘loses.’… The federal government engages in a lot of activities that are difficult to defend. But when it comes to sugar, the government’s protections are clearly indefensible.”
—Tad DeHaven, Cato@Liberty, Blog Post, March 30, 2011
“The sugar program diverts billions of dollars from American consumers to the “Big Sugar” cartel and would understandably make sense to the members of the American Sugar Alliance. But that very costly program certainly doesn’t make any sense at all for the millions of American consumers and thousands of U.S. businesses who were burdened last year alone with $4.5 billion in higher sugar costs.”
—Mark Perry, American Enterprise Institute, “Sugar Policy: Sweet Deal forProducers, Sour for Consumers,” Blog Post, January 24, 2011
“These policies impose a burden on consumers through higher prices. In recent years, USDA data show that U.S. sugar prices have been more than twice world market prices.”
—Cato Institute, June 2009
“A ripe target for reform is the sugar program, which protects sugar growers and inflates domestic sugar to twice the world price. This racket costs U.S. families about $2 billion annually, hitting them whenever they buy chocolates, breakfast cereal and the like.”
—Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy, Cato Institute,
“Why Congress Should Repeal Sugar Subsidy,”
Op-ed in Investor’s Business Daily, June 20, 2007
Since US sugar prices are about double the global free market sugar price, US candy manufacturers are relocating, primarily, to Canada and Mexico. The exit of US candy manufacturers includes Brach's, Hershey, Fanny May, Kraft and more. Thousands of jobs in the US have been shed because of protectionist sugar pricing. Chicago was once America's leading candy manufacturer but those candy producers have fled the US.
The free market think tank, Cato.org. summed up the sugar racket splendidly "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.", here.
One think tank exposed the government's logic for sugar subsidies. According to the government, sugar subsidies create US sugar manufacturing jobs. However, for every sugar producing job that is created through sugar baron subsidies, at least 3 more jobs are lost. That's government math in action!
Will consumers and free market capitalism win the sugar baron battle? When it comes to dethroning America's corporate welfare queens it's always an uphill battle. However, public awareness is growing and that translates to political pressure. Congress isn't listening.
Sour vote on sugar
THE U.S. SENATE this week narrowly missed an opportunity to make progress in restoring fiscal sanity to Washington.
By a 50-46 vote Wednesday, the Senate defeated an amendment to the farm bill that would have phased out price supports and quotes to the sugar industry.The sugar barons remain a very wealthy and powerful lobby that lavishly fills campaign coffers and the buying of politicians is what the subsidy game is all about. At the core of the DC Wheel of Fortune's Pay to Play game lies a big pot of fascist gold - monopolies and taxpayer cash.
Political corruption is not without profound geo-political consequences. When the sugar barons successfully lobbied Congress to embargo Cuban sugar to avoid competition and strengthen their own cartel power, Cuba lost vital revenues from its critically important sugar crop. This drove Castro straight into the orbit of the Soviets who bought Cuban sugar. Moreover, the US decision NOT to peacefully trade with Cuba on any level resulted in human suffering and a vastly strengthened Cuba-Soviet alliance. We got the Cuban Missile Crisis and a botched CIA engineered invasion of Cuba.
Isn't American crony capitalism just great!!