Tampa — Editorial boards from across the country are showing support for the sugar policy modernization movement with strongly worded editorials questioning the program.
The Tampa Bay Times noted the policy “pummels consumers and taxpayers in three ways: We subsidize growers, pay higher food prices and then pay even more for environmental damaged sugar production causes in South Florida.”
The Tampa editorial board went on to note that for every sugar-growing job saved by the program, “one more (at least) is lost.” In fact, the Commerce Department estimated the program destroys three times more jobs than it preserves.
“Reforming the federal sugar program is a rare point of unity among such disparate groups as environmentalists, consumer advocates and free-market adherents. That’s because crony capitalism is never in the public interest,” The Tampa Bay Times editorial board wrote.
New York states’ The Times Union editorial board reported sugar industry lobbying and campaign contributions rose dramatically in the past couple of years, totaling some $14 million, citing the Center for Responsive Politics data.
“Little wonder: The farm bill comes around once every five years, and that investment in influence has brought the industry some of the highest sugar prices in the world, thanks to long-standing import restrictions, price guarantees and other supports in past farm bills,” The Times Union editorial board wrote.
Referring to the program as “one of those strange Washington creations that has survived long after its gross defects became common knowledge to anyone paying attention,” editors at the Chicago Tribune noted the policy is causing some manufacturers to shift production overseas. The board highlighted the loss of a Brach’s factory in Chicago, with much of that work moving to Mexico, and the transition of Life Savers production from a Michigan plant to one in Canada.
“But a small, well-organized special interest group has persuaded Congress to preserve a system that disables the free market in favor of letting bureaucrats and politicians determine prices and production,” the Tribune’s board wrote. “If our lawmakers leave the sugar program intact, they will be punishing consumers and companies that use sugar, inflicting economic costs that greatly exceed the benefits.”