tenant

Author Topic: Nation's sugar producers continue to get sweet deal  (Read 846 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Little Feather

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Karma: 2
  • Home on the Nest
    • Back 40 Books, Poultry Photos
Nation's sugar producers continue to get sweet deal
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2013, 06:46:00 AM »
By George Will  (georgewill@washpost.com)

WASHINGTON — The steamboat conveying Andrew Jackson up the Ohio River toward his tumultuous 1829 inauguration had brooms lashed to its bow, symbolizing Old Hickory’s vow to clean up Washington. But sweeping out Washington’s Augean stables never ends. Neither do the policies that cosset sugar producers.

These immortal measures just received the Senate’s benediction because they illustrate the only law Washington can be counted on to respect. It is the law of dispersed costs but concentrated benefits.

The provisions by which Washington transfers wealth from 316 million American consumers to a few thousand sugar producers are part of a “temporary” commodity support program created during the Great Depression. Not even the New Deal could prolong the Depression forever. It ended. But sugar protectionism is forever. The Senate recently voted 54-45 against even mild reforms of the baroque architecture of protections for producers of sugar cane and sugar beets.

The government guarantees up to 85 percent of the U.S. sugar market for U.S.-produced sugar. The remaining portion of the market is allocated for imports from particular countries at a preferential tariff rate. Minimum prices are guaranteed for sugar from cane and beets. Surplus sugar — meaning that which U.S. producers cannot profitably sell — is bought by the government and sold at a loss to producers of ethanol, another program whose irrationalities are ubiquitous.

All this probably means $3.7 billion in higher sugar costs. It also means scores of thousands of lost jobs as manufacturers of candy and products with significant sugar content move jobs to countries where they can pay the much lower world price of sugar.

What begins in Washington as simple garden-variety grasping becomes an entitlement, the argument being that the longer the benefit has lived, the more its beneficiaries have built their lives around it, so ending it would be disruptive.

Sugar protectionism is government planning. It is industrial policy — government picking winners and losers — applied to agriculture. It is politics supplanting the market in allocating wealth and opportunity. And it is perfectly all right with 20 of the 45 Republican senators.

That many voted against modest reforms, thereby rendering themselves forever ineligible to speak the language of limited government. One of them is known as tea-party-favorite (this compound word is his first name, judging by the way he is constantly identified by the media) Marco Rubio. He is fluent in that language but he represents Florida. Actually, he represents the state’s sugar cane growers better than he does its 19.3 million sugar consumers, or his own tea party expostulations. Texas, too, has cane growers but Sen. Ted Cruz, elected by espousing tea party principles, voted for those principles by voting for reform.

President Lincoln’s biggest blunder was creating the Agriculture Department. Since 1995, 75 percent of all agriculture subsidies have gone to the largest and wealthiest 10 percent of farms.

Until four generations ago, a majority of American workers were in agriculture. Today, less than 2 percent of the workforce are farmers, and one farm worker feeds 300 people. But 6,700 generations from now, there will still be today’s web of policies woven for the comfort of sugar producers.

Shop the GREAT Bargains Available in the Back40Books SALE BARN!
Many "special purchase" titles at up to 80% off the retail price. All items are new or in like-new condition except as noted; we have stated the condition of the product:  if it shows wear or is damaged.   
Click the Image Below:



Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.