The problem is that our sugar industry has even better lobbyists than big ethanol. They enjoy price supports, which we pay for both through the Treasury and in the supermarket. The price of our sugar is usually twice that of the world market. The sugar growers love it — even if they cannot sell all of their sugar, they have a guaranteed government buyer at an inflated price. The corn growers love it too, because high U.S. sugar prices push our food industries to use high-fructose corn syrup (ever seen that on a product label?) as an alternative sweetener — yet another artificial support for the world price of corn.
Not to mention wreaking havoc on the Everglades. Price-supported sugar cane is using up a lot of the water that both south Floridian humans and animals need, and they do this with the same political clout that they use to get the subsidies and tariffs, for an industry that is not all that big in terms of the economy.
Even if we want ethanol, we can’t solve the problem by importing sugar, because there are tariffs in place. We can’t import the ethanol itself because there’s a high tariff against that, too. Wherever you turn, there’s no way out — Americans don’t enjoy economic freedom, we live in a managed economy.
It makes me especially proud of my country when I see Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) call foreign delegates’ concerns over a potential doubling of world hunger “a joke…”
Let’s call these people out for what they are–Republicans and Democrats alike–fascists. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
[Update a few minutes later]
[Update early evening]
Key House and Senate farm bill negotiators reached agreement today on the main elements of the farm bill…[T]he five-year bill would raise the target prices and loan rates for northern crops beginning in 2010, raise the sugar loan rate three-quarters of a cent and include a sugar-to-ethanol program.
Oh, that’s just great. We have a program that makes us overpay for sugar, and now we’re going to start a new program to subsidize the ethanol we create from it — because without the subsidy, the inflated sugar price we’ve created will make the ethanol unprofitable.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, they always find a way.