A Sweet Idea to End Worldwide Sugar War: A Free-Market Approach Would Ratchet Down Subsidies To Zero

June 6, 2013

June 7, 2013

By: Al Cardenas

As farm bill negotiations get underway, the rhetoric surrounding our nation’s sugar policy is again approaching a decibel level that likely will be rivaled only by this summer’s East Coast cicada bugfest. It’s ironic, given that we were debating this same issue during a similar insect invasion 17 years ago.

Currently composed of protective tariffs and other market-manipulating policies, America’s sugar program is without question in need of reform. What’s the best, most effective way to quash this issue once and for all and achieve the outcome that the vast majority of rational individuals ultimately want — a sugar market in which everyone competes on equal footing?

Let’s assess the current cacophony.

There are the typical calls for dismantling the program — proposals supported by some of our conservative colleagues. We’d support them, too, if we thought that they would result in a true “free market.” The harsh reality is these proposals hold serious food-security ramifications. Countries such as Brazil and Mexico have marketing-distorting policies and goliath subsidies that, if left unfettered, would allow these countries to flood the U.S. market, undercut domestic sugar prices and drive U.S. producers out of business.

This was the thinking behind a farm bill amendment offered by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat. That amendment was struck down recently — the third time a version of the same language has been defeated in the past year because of the powerful Big Sugar lobby.

The Toomey-Sheehan approach is well-intentioned, but does not deal with current realities. Instead, we think sugar-program reform advocates should look to a strategy that many are calling a “zero-for-zero” policy.

Under this idea, U.S. trade negotiators actively target and eliminate the market-manipulating sugar policies around the world, including the subsidy checks, sugarcane ethanol mandates, tax breaks, preferential loans and all market barriers. In a market devoid of foreign subsidies, Big Sugar already has publicly pledged to put its lobbying muscle behind eliminating the domestic protective tariffs and production quotas that drive conservatives crazy.

If American producers are as efficient as they say, then the U.S. industry should thrive under a true free market. If they aren’t, then they will be forced to evolve, or they will lose market share to better business people.

Zero-for-zero will not be a quick fix, and it will take a lot of political capital to persuade Brazil and others to adopt a cease-fire — especially since Brazil is aggressively increasing its sugar subsidies right now. It is the truest free-market approach, and it is likely the quickest path to solving what we all agree is an egregious sugar-policy predicament.

Without it, we’ll probably still be trying — unsuccessfully — to make the same, old policy reforms the next time cicadas surface in 17 years.

Al Cardenas is chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Read More: http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/7/a-sweet-idea-to-end-worldwide-sugar-war/

Join ACU

The ACU Blog

TWT: IRS’s Lois Lerner won’t be charged with contempt

Originally published by The Washington Times

 

By Stephen Dinan

The Obama administration informed House Speaker John A. Boehner this

Why the Busted Iran Deadline Matters

 

Originally published by Politico

By and

The failure of

[VIDEO] ACU Chairman Schlapp on WSJ Live

ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp joined Wall Street Journal Live yesterday to discuss the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act and it’s potential impact in the 2016 elections.

[VIDEO] Before Obama Goes to the UN, Learn the Truth About Climate Change

 

President Obama is poised to present a resolution to the UN about climate change, probably because he knows that America’s Congress wouldn’t

The Road to CPAC

From EAGnews.org: Michelle O’s ‘healthy’ lunches going to the pigs — literally

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 9.56.16 AM

by Kyle Olson

RIO RANCHO, N.M. – There’s one group of young eaters who like Michelle Obama’s school lunch program: pigs.

New Mexico’s

Washington Examiner: Benghazi panel summons Clinton

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 1.52.21 PM

Originally published by The Washington Examiner

BY SUSAN FERRECHIO

A House panel Tuesday formally requested Hillary Clinton to testify about the

AP: Clinton also used iPad for email; mixed personal, work chats

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.14.06 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite

[WATCH] Inventor’s Project: The Importance of Strong Patents

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.19.34 AM

Inventors depend on strong intellectual property laws to defend their innovations- create jobs- and secure investors. The Inventor’s Project was created to help protect those

Founded in 1964, the American Conservative Union (ACU) is the oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization in the nation. For more than forty years, ACU has served as an umbrella organization harnessing the collective strength of conservative organizations fighting for Americans who are concerned with liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense. As America's premier conservative voice, ACU is the leading entity in providing conservative positions on issues to Congress, the Executive Branch, State Legislatures, the media, political candidates, and the public. Read More

1331 H St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
Ph: (202) 347-9388 | Fx: (202) 347-9389

Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Opportunities/Careers

ACU. All Rights Reserved.