Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Sugar Swindle

Americans pay about double the world market price for sugar, a hidden tax that hurts everyone with a sweet tooth. Many beverage and food makers catering to that sweet tooth have long used corn syrup instead of sugar because it's cheaper, but the price of corn syrup is beginning to rise. So now would be a good time for the U.S. government to revisit its destructive farm policies.

This is a classic case of a narrow, vocal lobby — sugar growers — benefiting at the expense of the larger economy. The latest victim of high-priced sweeteners is Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, which announced last week that it would cut 3,500 jobs because of a $1.1-billion loss in 2006. Other soft-drink makers, confectioners and food companies also pay a steep price for the complex system of price supports and import quotas aimed at protecting U.S. sugar growers by insulating them from global market realities.

From today's
LA Times, thanks to Club for Growth.

MP: The current world price of sugar is about 11 cents per pound, and the U.S. price is about 21 cents per pound, because of protectionist U.S. trade policy that protects inefficient domestic sugar beet farmers from more efficient sugar cane farmers in other countries.


At 2/19/2007 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with your comments that globalization has hit the sugar farmers like all other industries in the U.S.. I may drink pop on a rare occasion and I wonder why the soft drink companies do not market and sell bottle water under their names. Sell Coca Cola bottled water. I think this would help with their losses. Coke decision makers probably are thinking this may take away even more from their soft drink sales. But I think the pop drinkers are here to stay and they would most likely buy the pop and also buy the Coke bottled water. Look at the bottle water industry, its huge. Bottled water did not exist when I was growing up, now it is everywhere.


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