Sugar Kiss-Off

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The Competitive Enterprise Institute (where I served as Warren Brookes Fellow in 1999) has a new paper exploring realistic options for ending one of America's stupidest agricultural subsidies: our sugar program.

They examine New Zealand's experience's in shock therapy with ag-subsidy killing, and America's with quota buyouts in peanuts and tobacco. The paper holds out the promise that past experience, plus growing international unhappiness with the sugar program in America as expressed in the WTO's Doha Round, might mean that the political power of Big Sugar could dissolve away soon.

NEXT: Unintended Consequences of the Fair Tax

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  1. If only.

  2. Speaking of sugar, did you catch the New York Times article on Brazil’s production of ethanol from sugar cane waste?

    But they cannot sell it in the US, because the corn producers do not want competitin from another ethanol source…

    First corn syrup and now this…

  3. Don’t mess wit dose sugar people.

  4. One rump, or two?

  5. Looks like I just arrived in fantasy land. Oooo pretty sky.

  6. “…they cannot sell it in the US, because the corn producers do not want competitin from another ethanol source…”

    Things like this just remind us all what the US government really is: a giant cartel.

  7. Brian:

    …one of America’s stupidest agricultural subsidies: our sugar program.

    As has been observed by a number of brilliant economists and other social thinkers who favor capitalism; so often subsidies, and other government programs as well, are absurd cuz they are there not by virtue of any merit. Rather they are in existence as a result of the ability of narrowly focused interests to trade political patronage for favors from the government which yield to these interests an economic gain.

    Common decency and common sense opposition to such unfair and stupid programs tends to be, in comparison, rather more diffuse since there is no such direct economic gain for this opposition. Folks who have liberty’s interest at heart need to start more directly focusing their opposition to these subsidies and other government programs.

  8. “…they cannot sell it in the US, because the corn producers do not want competitin from another ethanol source…”

    Things like this just remind us all what the US government really is: a giant cartel.

    The government may have helped the cartel, but that doesn’t mean the cartel is the government. HnRers (maybe not the ones on this particular thd) want to set things up so that people have the freedom to use their wealth to influence politicians. This this longstanding sugar tariff thing is the result of that. To then declaim (MES stylee) “it was the fault of the government, it was the fault of the government” is inconsistent.

  9. The government may have helped the cartel, but that doesn’t mean the cartel is the government. HnRers (maybe not the ones on this particular thd) want to set things up so that people have the freedom to use their wealth to influence politicians. This this longstanding sugar tariff thing is the result of that. To then declaim (MES stylee) “it was the fault of the government, it was the fault of the government” is inconsistent.

    We also wish to restrict the possible actions of government – the two go hand in hand.

  10. Where are the evil corporations? Why aren’t the Coke ‘n’ candy companies lobbying for sugar subsidies?

  11. “Where are the evil corporations? Why aren’t the Coke ‘n’ candy companies lobbying for sugar subsidies?”

    Depends on the “evil corporations” you are talking about. The producers or the users? Big difference. I think most candy companies are lobbying for access to cheap sugarcane sugar produced in tropical countries. So no, they are not lobbying for subsidies. They would be lobbying against subsidies if they were lobbying at all…or if anyone were listening to them.

    Unfortunately, it pays more to keep thugs like the Fanjul brothers in Florida on your side and pander to the well-organized beet farmers in several midwestern states for obvious political reasons. There is hope for the sugar reform lobby. It has a Santoral slant though. Ricky (why is this not surprising) has taken to pointing out how sugar protection has devastated Hershey, which if the rumors are correct, produces some sort of tasty, viscous brown substance.

  12. Earlier this week there was a thread discussing points of agreement between liberals and libertarians. This one should jump to the head of the list. The sugar rules hurt consumers and only benefit a tiny number of metastatic corporations in Louisiana and Florida. There’s a good argument that the sugar supports fuel the obesity epidemic, because cane sugar is more satisfying than corn syrup, people consume less of it at a time. The only people who care about this are a small group of enormously wealthy cane farmers, the directors of Domino and Imperial, and their pet Congressman.

  13. yeah, c’mon libertarians. remember about how some crazy hippies want to unilaterally eliminate all tariffs and subsidies in the spiit of left-libertarianism? big hugs. the only thing stupider than the sugar subsidies is the paying-people-to-grow-cotton-in-the-desert thing. environmentalists, third-world loving types and libertarians can all hate on those california bastards.

  14. The corn farmers are a hugh supporter of the sugar program (High Fructose corn syrup).

    The new york times has been pretty consistent in opposing farm subsidies. Some of the liberal talk radio hosts I listen to were opposing any change to the farm subsidies. Another case of their concept of what a government program does having no connection to how it really functions.

    I wonder if that person who did the article on why she loved to pay her taxes included the ag subsidies in her list. It really needed a sentence like the one below.

    I love to pay taxes so ag subsidies can take money from less well off tax payers and give it to wealthy farmers. It also increase poverty, and starvation in the third world. Paying my taxes really makes me feel happy

  15. yeah, c’mon libertarians. remember about how some crazy hippies want to unilaterally eliminate all tariffs and subsidies in the spiit of left-libertarianism?

    Not really. They turn out to have their own tariffs and subsidies in mind, at least when they’re not out to destroy a free market anyway.

  16. We have to protect our family farms. What will the Archers, and the Daniels and the Midlands do if we just toss them, squirming and squealing, into the ravening maw of the Free Market? And what about the Cargills?

    We can’t expect our family farmers to survive on world market prices; those Haitians will eat them alive. Think of those poor Gargills, huddled together in some slum outside Detroit, riveting window motor brackets together for Ford. At Piecework Rates, no doubt. Oh, the humanity…..

  17. Sometimes sarcastic comments are just a goof to give the author a moment of amusement, (not unlike many blog posts for all that) so this might be pointless, but Belle Waring, are you trying to say there is something “left”–as opposed to “libertarian” full stop–about opposing tariffs and subsidies? And why? That you can’t write a paper, or a blog post, talking about one subsidy without taking about other ones as well? Why? That it is inherently absurd, or commie, to be against subsidizing cotton growers in California? Why? Or is every word of your post meant sincerely and I’ve egregiously misread you?

  18. P. Brooks, that rocked.

  19. How to Eliminate Sugar from Your Diet

    Sugar can lead to many diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. So it’s definitely important to watch what you eat when it comes to sugar

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