Sugar Reform Highlighted in National News Segment
by Edwin Portugal ATR, December 10, 2015
ATR’s effort to advance sugar reform was recently featured in a segment by One America News Network, a nationally broadcasted news channel available in over 15 million households. In the segment, One America News reporter Neil McCabe interviewed Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), one of the leading voices for sugar reform in Congress. Additionally, McCabe interviewed ATR Federal Affairs Manager Justin Sykes. In the interview, Justin provided his expert analysis of the costly, antiquated U.S. Sugar Program.
Originally conceived during the Great Depression in 1934, the U.S. Sugar Program has evolved into a thicket of complicated government interventions. Currently, the U.S. Sugar Program encompasses numerous benefits, including generous subsidies, import quotas, marketing allotments, and the “feedstock flexibility program”, in which the government must buy excess sugar and re-sell it at a loss to ethanol plants. In order for sugar producers to reap these generous handouts, taxpayers, consumers, and businesses are subjected to unnecessary economic burdens.
This generous corporate welfare package raises the price of U.S. sugar to more than twice the world price. Expensive sugar greatly harms American consumers with higher food prices. This program costs American consumers up to $3.5 billion every year in higher prices for sugar-containing food, and of course sugar itself. For an individual family, the sugar program adds an extra $40 on their grocery bill every year.
In addition, the sugar program costs thousands of good-paying jobs in food manufacturing. Many food manufacturers simply cannot compete with foreign competitors with access to cheaper sugar, which forces many businesses to leave the country. This pain is especially felt in the candy industry, where numerous companies have moved their businesses abroad in order to survive.
The U.S. Sugar Program is a relic of the past, and should be swiftly and deftly overturned. Luckily, Rep. Pitts is building momentum within Congress to reform this archaic depression-era corporate welfare package. ATR strongly backs Rep. Pitts’ effort to free the American people from unfair crony capitalism. Just this week, ATR sent a letter to member of Congress and Speaker Paul Ryan urging them to take action to repeal this program.