US Sugar Programme 'Bad for Consumers, Bad for Agriculture'19 April 2012
US - The Coalition for Sugar Reform yesterday pointed to the findings of a new Heritage Foundation policy brief as further evidence that the US sugar programme costs American consumers and food manufacturers and should be reformed in the Farm Bill this year.
The brief, “The US Sugar programme: Bad for Consumers, Bad for Agriculture, and Bad for America,” takes on four of the most common myths about the sugar programme, including frequent claims by opponents of reform that the programme has no cost.
Released yesterday, the brief states: “Government interference in the sugar market hurts consumers and food manufacturers by driving up the price of sugar, threatening competitive farmers and ranchers by jeopardising export growth, and weakening the US economy by diverting resources from more competitive uses. This Depression-era programme, which was supposed to end in 1940, has outlived its intended lifespan by 72 years. It should be abolished.
"US sugar policy costs taxpayers millions of dimes per year. According to the US International Trade Commission, the sugar programme imposes a $49 million net cost on the economy. According to a study commissioned by the Sweetener Users Association, the programme costs consumers $2.9 billion to $3.5 billion. According to a study by the American Enterprise Institute, the programme costs consumers $2.4 billion per year, with a net economic cost of $1 billion per year.
The brief continues: “Sugar policy costs taxpayers by making them pay a little extra every time they buy a box of Lucky Charms, a Honey Bun, a package of Twirlers, or anything else that contains sugar.
"According to the American Sugar Alliance, 71 percent of Americans prefer to buy home grown sugar, even if foreign sugar is cheaper. Consumers deserve the opportunity to prove whether this is true. The government should give Americans that choice by removing caps on sugar imports. Congress is now working on reauthorisation of the farm bill, which offers a perfect opportunity to eliminate the sugar programme.”
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