Friday, January 3, 2014

Sweet deal for the sugar industry

Washington Examiner, Jan. 3, 2014


While Congress is still shaping a new farm bill that will set federal agriculture policies for the next five years, at least one item is almost certain to remain intact in the final draft: the sugar program.

Farm subsidies typically are among the most bipartisan measures on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers from agricultural states and districts — despite party — come together to ensure their success. And the sugar program is no exception.

But a growing coalition of fiscal conservatives, free marketers and environmentalists, along with with the powerful food-manufacturing industry, say the federal policy aimed at helping sugarcane farmers is archaic and unfair, and vow to continue their fight.

"The sugar program is the most Soviet [style] centrally planned of all the agriculture programs," said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning Washington think tank. "It really is astounding."

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