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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Sen. Richard Lugar is right on this one -- the U.S. government needs to get out of the sugar business:

As part of his support for the Free Sugar Act of 2011, Lugar proposes the elimination of the federally mandated program that controls the American sugar supply. Those controls lead to what Lugar calls artificially-inflated costs. Lugar cited figures that suggest domestic businesses pay about 60 cents per pound for sugar, compared to the 35 cents per pound that foreign candy makers pay on the world market.

Lugar, who grows corn and soybeans on his farm outside Indianapolis, said the federal government's current policy protects Southern growers of sugar. He says that needs to end.

“It comes back to the protection of a very few growers who have had a hammerlock on, and they are not unique. I'm opposed to subsidies in general,” Lugar said.

Of course, that could be said about the government's invlovement in almost anything -- that it protects the very few who know how to use the system at the expense of the many who don't. Most agricultural subsidies go to a handful of the wealthiest growers, not to all fabled family farms we're supposed to be protecting. Wonder how Mr. Lugar would feel about ending all government agricultural programs


Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:13am

I agree. I'm not reflexively hostile toward everything governments do, but I don't understand the corn subsidies. Well, I understand them as an indication of the corn lobby's power, but not as a sensible policy.
The excuse usually given is that ethanol, made from corn in North America, can replace gasoline in our cars. Except it can't. It requires roughly a gallon of petroleum to produce and ship a gallon of alcohol. There is no advantage.
In Brazil, ethanol can be made much more cheaply due to their abundant sugar cane crops. So, naturally, our government bans the importation of ethanol from Brazil. Ethanol that really would be cheaper than the gasoline it could replace.
Since most of the American food industry is based on corn, I'm confident that corn farmers would do just fine without all that protection, and eliminating the subsidy would put at least a dent in the national debt.

Harl Delos
Wed, 08/31/2011 - 4:15pm

If you import sugar from Mexico and make candy canes at Spangler's in Bryan, there's a heavy tax on the sugar.

If Spangler's makes candy canes from Mexican sugar in Mexico and imports them, they avoid that heavy tax. Hershey's, here in Pennsylvania, is really cutting back local production and replacing it with production in Mexico.

What it amounts to is a subsidy on exported jobs.

Eliminating the sugar and corn subsidies would NOT make much of a dent in the national debt, but they do more harm than good.

Thu, 09/01/2011 - 5:07pm

I agree the dent would be small, but it would be huge compared to Tea Party attempts to end federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood.