(p. A13) As if domestic price-fixing by the government–here, driving prices up by setting production limits–weren’t enough, the feds then set a limit on sugar imports, and punish any imports above that limit with heavy tariffs.
The result? Countries such as Canada openly advertise to U.S. companies that use sugar–for instance, in the food industry–that they will enjoy lower business costs if they move. And when companies leave, like some candy makers that have moved production overseas, they take their jobs with them. Even the Commerce Department admits that for every job that the sugar program “protects,” it kills three others.
Reforming this policy sounds like a no-brainer, but the small number of beneficiaries use their benefits to influence–by lobbying, for instance, or with campaign contributions–politicians who block any reforms. No wonder sugar was the only commodity program not to be reformed by having its subsidies reduced in the most-recent farm bill, in 2013.
For the full commentary, see:
JOE PITTS and DAVID MCINTOSH. “Your Funny Valentine Candy Pricing; Making a box of chocolates more expensive is one of many ways federal sugar policy hurts U.S. taxpayers.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., Feb. 12, 2016): A13.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Feb. 11, 2016.)