The (Not So) Great American Candy Migration
Just as thousands of birds migrate every year in search of better weather, thousands of jobs in food manufacturing, such as those in the candy-making industry, migrate out of the country in search of cheaper sugar. Who is to blame behind the mass exodus of jobs? The culprit is none other than the federal government. Through the U.S. Sugar Program, the federal government artificially raises the price of sugar in the U.S. to double the world price, just to benefit a small number of sugar farmers.
The U.S. Sugar Program is a relic of Depression-era policy. Its origins start when the federal government passed The Sugar Act of 1934. The original program sought to protect U.S. sugar farmers with generous protectionist policies and special treatment. Since then, the sugar program has ballooned in size, thanks to the efforts of special interests.
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.
Because of these protectionist policies, the price of sugar in the U.S. is twice the world price. The high price of sugar 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.
Above all industries, food manufacturers that use sugar are harmed the most. The sugar program forces certain manufacturers to seek cheaper sugar abroad, costing thousands of jobs. For instance over the past decade 22% of candy-making jobs have migrated out of the country, three times more than in other manufacturing industries. Food manufacturers such as those in the candy industry must often make these decisions in order to survive. One such candy-maker is the Atkinson Candy Company, which moved 80% of its peppermint-candy business to Guatemala.
Other candy-makers that have been forced out of the country include the Jelly Belly Candy Co. and candy-cane maker Bobs Candies Inc. In regard to the decision to move Bobs Candies, company president Greg McCormack remarked that eliminating candy-making jobs in the U.S. left "a bad taste in your mouth, but it was the medicine you had to take to stay in business."
Simply put, the U.S. Sugar Program is the epitome of crony capitalism, akin to the Export-Import Bank. Since the Depression, this program has caused immense economic harm at the benefit of a small number of sugar farmers.
Above all, the biggest casualty of the sugar program is jobs – the Sugar Program has forced the migration of thousands of good-paying jobs in the food manufacturing industry. Yet unlike the thousands of migrating birds, however, these jobs do not return to the U.S. As ATR President Grover Norquist and Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) recently wrote in the National Review, we must finally put an end to this expensive, insider sweetheart deal.
Photo Credit: Camille Iman
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform would like to bring to your attention some interesting statistics on the 20
Posted on Monday, March 27th, 2017, 12:28 PM PERMALINK
2002 Tax Facts
Individual Income Tax Returns Filed (projected):
|Filers using 1040EZ||9.8 million (7%)|
|Filers using 1040A||13.9 million (11%)|
|Filers using 1040||57.9 million (44%)|
|Electronic Filings||50.1 million (38%)|
|Filers using 1040PC Returns||Discontinued after 2000 tax year|
Filers Using Professional Preparers:
(53% of all returns)
|(Tax Year (TY) 1999)|
(3% of EZ filers)
(13% of 1040A filers)
(91% of 1040 filers)
|Estimated Preparation Time (TY 2001):|
|Form 1040||13 hr., 27 minutes|
|Schedule A (Itemized Deductions)||5 hr., 37 minutes|
|Schedule B (Interest and Dividend Income)||1 hr., 26 minutes|
|Schedule C (Profit or loss from a Business)||10 hr., 35 minutes|
|Schedule D (Capital gains and losses)||7 hr., 36 minutes|
|Miscellaneous Statistics (TY 1999):|
|Filers who Itemize:||40.2 million||(32%)|
|Filers with Charitable Deductions:||35.5 million||(28%)|
|Filers with Interest Deduction:||33.7 million||(27%)|
|Filers with Medical Deductions:||5.9 million||(5%)|
|Filers with Capital Gains or Losses:||21.5 million||(17%)|
|Filers with Dividend Income:||32.2 million||(25%)|
|Filers with Taxable Interest Income:||67.2 million||(53%)|
|Filing Status (TY 1999):|
|Single Filers:||56.9 million (45%)|
|Joint Filers:||49.9 million (39%)|
|Married Filing Separately:||2.4 million (2%)|
|Head of Household:||17.9 million (14%)|
|Number of Returns with Presidential Election
Campaign Fund Checkoff (TY 1999):
|14.2 million (11%)|
|Individual Tax Refunds Expected (FY 2001):||93 million|
|Taxpayers with Direct Deposit of Refunds (CY 2001):||29.4 million|
|Federal Tax Revenues:|
|Total Taxes Paid (Fiscal Year 2001):||$1.991 trillion|
|Individual Income Taxes:||$994 billion (49.9%)|
|Social Insurance Taxes:||$694 billion (34.8%)|
|Corporate Income Taxes:||$151 billion (7.6%)|
|Other (excise, estate, and others):||$152 billion (7.6%)|
|**misc. receipts not included|
Income Taxes Due:
(Taxable Income for tax year 2001, taxes payable by April 15th, 2002)
|Taxable Income||Income Taxes Due
(* taxes may be reduced due to the earned income credit)
(Taxable Income for tax year 2002, taxes payable by April 2003)
Married Filing Jointly
|$0 to $6,000||10%||$0 to $12,000||10%|
|$6,001 to $27,950||15%||$12,001 to $46,700||15%|
|$27,951 to $67,700||27%||$46,701 to $112,850||27%|
|$67,701 to $141,250||30%||$112,851 to $171,950||30%|
|$141,251 to $307,050||35%||$171,951 to $307,050||35%|
|over $307,050||38.6%||over $307,050||38.6%|
Who Pays The Income Tax? (Calendar Year 2001):
Share of Population
Share of Income Taxes
|$200,000 and over||2.7%||49.7%|
|$100,000 to $200,000||9.0%||23.9%|
|$75,000 to $100,000||9.1%||11.6%|
|$50,000 to $75,000||15.4%||10.6%|
|$40,000 to $50,000||9.2%||3.5%|
|$30,000 to $40,000||11.1%||2.4%|
|$20,000 to $30,000||13.0%||0.4%|
|$10,000 to $20,000*||16.4%||-1.3%|
|Less than $10,000*||14.0%||-0.7%|
|(*due to cash payments to EIC recipients)|
|Employee Tax Rate||7.65%|
|Employer Tax Rate||7.65%|
|Social Security, or Old Age and Survivor\'s Disability Insurance Portion||6.2%|
|Medicare, or Hospital Insurance Portion||1.45%|
|Self-Employed Tax Rate||15.3%|
Maximum Taxable Earnings Base for 2002:
Maximum Tax for 2002:
|Social Security||$5,264 ($10,528 for both employer and employee share)|
Age Which Workers Must Reach to Fully Recover Their Social Security Taxes Plus Interest (Based on retirement at Age 65)
(Age When Workers Fully Recover payroll taxes plus interest)
Year of Retirement
The Earned Income Credit (TY 1999):
|Number of Returns Claiming an EIC:||19.3 million (15%)|
|Number of Returns with No Income Tax Liability:||16.1 million|
|Taxpayers with Two Children:||$32,121|
|Taxpayers with One Child:||$28,281|
|Taxpayers with No Children:||$10,710|
|Recipients with Two Children:||$4,008|
|Recipients with One Child:||$2,428|
|Recipients with No Children:||$364|
|With Two or more Children:||43%|
|With One Child:||40%|
|With No Children:||17%|
The Internal Revenue Code:
Number of Words: Over 2.8 million
War and Peace
Number of Words: 660,000
Number of Words: 774,746
The Internal Revenue Service:
|Annual Budget||$9.4 billion (FY 2002)|
|Number of Employees:||99,887|
|The F.B.I.||The Border Patrol|
|Annual Budget: $4.2 billion (FY 2002)||Annual Budget: $1.5 billion (FY 2002)|
|Number of Special Agents: 12,582||Number of Agents: 10,551|
Keep Central Planning Out of Space
Private space company Blue Origin is planning to test their own manned missions later this year while Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) gears up for the first launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V that first got Americans to the moon. Exciting things are happening in space thanks to new technologies being developed by private companies.
On March 10, the Center for a New American Security published a study by Robert Zimmerman that took a look at the history of the American space industry to compare how different approaches in space policy yielded radically different results in outcome and costs.
The study compared space systems developed with heavy government control versus private-industry centric approaches to see which path was better for taxpayers and the industry at large. It is no surprise, then that Zimmerman found the most dramatic success stories in the private sector, while centrally planned programs floundered and stalled.
In 2005 the United States committed itself to a long term program to get people to the moon, and possibly beyond. NASA was tasked with replacing the Space Shuttle program with what was dubbed the Crew Exploration Vehicle, set to explore the solar system and get to the moon in ten years. It has, of course, failed the time frame for the mission. The program was modified by the following administration to create what we now call the Orion Space Capsule and Space Launch System (SLS).
After more than 15 years and $43 billion spent, the United States has not been able to produce the much anticipated SLS and has yet to find a use for it. This is a rocket without a mission.
A healthy space ecosystem serves many purposes. Besides the obvious military implications, the global economy has reaped massive dividends from technologies birthed in space development. Without satellite GPS, lasers, and water purification it is difficult to imagine modern society; yet they were all developed thanks to the space race.
Regrettably, billions of dollars have been squandered in heavy-handed approaches that do little to advance space technology. Zimmerman found that
When we add in the cost to build Ares/SLS as well as all NASA’s carrying costs, the total outlay to build and launch these three capsules equals about $43 billion. From conception to first operational flight will take about 15 years, assuming that first manned Orion flight occurs in 2021.
Meanwhile, after spending $5.4 billion and 7 years of development, the private sector has been able to launch 42 cargo and unmanned flight capsules and 42 rockets.
In fact, while the government is still struggling to get its massive rocket without a mission airborne, SpaceX has announced that by the end of the year they will send two people on a trip to circumnavigate the moon before returning to earth on their Falcon Heavy rocket.
The SLS will likely launch for the first time in 2018, and is likely to only launch once per year. It may have a higher payload than the Falcon Heavy, or other heavy lift rockets currently in development, but the current estimates for each launch run at a low end of $500 million. For that price a costumer could launch 5 (!) Falcon heavies at $90 million per launch, and have change to spare for space ice cream.
Space is too important to leave to government central planning. In spite of decades of over-regulation, breakthrough companies are reshaping the world’s aerospace industry. Not only is it becoming cheaper for space programs to perform science in space, but more companies are entering the launch market, and new players are finding ways to innovate, making telecommunications cheaper for everyone and paving the road for affordable space travel.
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Free Market Groups Urge Opposition to Importation of Price Controls
In an open letter to Congress, 17 conservative, free market organizations and activists urged federal lawmakers to oppose efforts to allow the importation of price controls of prescription medicines.
Importation schemes are NOT the solution to lower prices and will NOT result in a more efficient healthcare system. Implementing an importation policy is simply adopting market-distorting price controls from other countries, which would disrupt U.S. innovation of life- saving and life-preserving medicines.
In addition, these proposals open the door to deadly medicines flooding the market. Importation should not be confused with free trade and should be opposed.
The full letter can be found here and is below:
Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of the undersigned conservative, free-market organizations, we write in opposition to proposals calling for the importation of prescription medicines.
Importation schemes are NOT the solution to lower prices and will NOT result in a more efficient healthcare system.
Instead, implementing an importation policy is simply adopting market-distorting price controls from other countries, which would disrupt U.S. innovation of life- saving and life-preserving medicines. Over the long-term this will result in substantially higher costs to the healthcare system, because there will be fewer research dollars to reinvest, thousands of jobs will be lost, and fewer lifesaving treatments will be available that will keep people out of the hospital and enable them to lead productive lives.
The United States is a leader in medical innovation, with more than half of pharmaceutical / biotech research being conducted in this country. Even so, it costs more than $2.6 billion and takes 10-12 years to develop a drug, conduct clinical trials, and obtain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for each drug that makes it onto the market.
In contrast, almost every country in the world has excessive price controls that hinder medical innovation. In these countries, prices are often determined by politicians offering voters seemingly cheap medicines. In reality, the world rides on U.S. research and taxpayers.
Importation of prescription medicines should not be mischaracterized as an issue of free trade. Free trade means transparent prices with no tariffs, barriers, or price controls. Drug importation is the opposite of free trade.
Importation schemes are also potentially dangerous to consumers. The FDA has stated there is no way to assure the safety, authenticity, or effectiveness of imported drugs, or whether the drugs are from the country the packaging claims it to be.
Even attempting to construct such a system would be incredibly costly to taxpayers. In addition to drugs being adulterated, they could be deadly. The FDA has long expressed concern with the importation of medicines for these very reasons.
While some argue that importation would increase competition and lower costs, the solution to lower prices should be less government interference, not more.
Lawmakers need to help create an environment that encourages competition in the pharmaceutical realm. For example, Medicare Part D has provided medicines to seniors at less than half the projected costs because it facilitates private competition and encourages different stakeholders to offer savings.
Prescription drug importation would have disastrous effects on the economy, would hurt American innovation, and is dangerous to consumers. Members of Congress should reject these proposals.
President, Americans for Tax Reform
Chair, Alabama Center Right Coalition
President, American Commitment
Chairman, American Conservative Union
President and CEO, The Buckeye Institute (Ohio)
Peter J. Pitts
President, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest
Former FDA Associate Commissioner
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
President, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Co-Chair, Florida Center Right Coalition
President, Galen Institute
Don Racheter Ph.D.
Iowa Conservative Activist
President, Institute for Policy Innovation
Chair, Maryland Center Right Coalition
President, National Taxpayers Union
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance
President and CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
More from Americans for Tax Reform
ATR Supports the Register of Copyrights Selection & Accountability Act
The bipartisan, bicameral Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act was introduced today By House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlate (R-Va.), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Americans for Tax Reform supports this legislation that makes the Register of Copyrights a Presidential appointment confirmed by the Senate.
The following can be attributed to Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist:
"America’s copyrighted industries are the envy of the world and one of our greatest exports. Making the Register a Presidential appointment confirmed by the Senate is the first step in bringing the Office up-to-speed with the modern booming copyright industry. In America we protect people’s property and respect originality. We don’t praise plagiarism. We value the real McCoy."
The following can be attributed to Executive Director of Digital Liberty, Katie McAuliffe:
"By elevating the position, we raise the profile of the Copyright office within the United States government and around the world. It shows that we recognize the importance of copyright to the United States’ and global economies. Countries that recognize and protect property rights, including copyright, have stronger economies that attract business investment, research and development. Its not a surprise that people and businesses prefer governments that don’t steal their stuff."
The Copyright Office needs autonomy to carry out its mission going forward. Designating the register of Copyrights as a Presidential appointment confirmed by the Senate is the first step in achieving that goal.
See ATR's comments on Copyright Office Modernization here.
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform Will Rate the Vote on AHCA, HR 1628
Americans for Tax Reform WILL RATE a vote for passage of the American Health Care Act as a pro-taxpayer vote
This is part of a $270 billion tax cut.
The AHCA Also Has Big League Spending Cuts:
Norquist Statement in Support of Obamacare Repeal and Replace Bill
Posted on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017, 11:00 PM PERMALINK
Norquist: Passage of AHCA makes fundamental tax reform possible this year
ATR founder and president Grover Norquist's statement in support of the American Health Care Act:
“The American Health Care Act is -- to start -- a $1 trillion tax cut and $1.2 trillion spending cut over the next decade. It's passage makes fundamental tax reform possible this year. The AHCA block grants Medicaid and expands Health Savings Accounts. It’s a giant step forward in reforming our nation's health care system.”
Competition Reduces Costs, Price Controls Reduce Innovation
Congress is considering health care reforms to lower costs, increase access, and empower doctors. As part of this legislative agenda, they may consider price controls. Price controls never work as advertised. They do not lower costs and do not increase access to new medicines. Instead, they allow the government to ration the supply and development of new life-saving medicines at the expense of consumers, patients, and doctors. To learn more about the negatives consequences of price controls, tune in to ATR President Grover Norquist's latest podcast below:
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Public Safety Success: South Carolina Reduces Crime and Reduces Spending
Nearly six years after enacting a major sentencing and corrections reform package, South Carolina’s prison population has declined 14% while violent and property crime rates have both fallen by 16%.
In 2010, lawmakers enacted S.B. 1154, the Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act. The law made South Carolina a leader among the dozens of states employing research-driven criminal justice policies to produce a greater public safety return on corrections spending.
Between 2011 and 2014, the state averted over $141 million in operating costs that would have been required to house a projected inmate population of over 28,000 by 2014 and avoided the construction of a new prison space projected to cost $317 million. There have been an additional $33 million saved in operating costs through 2016.
After decades of rising prison populations, reforms in 33 states have helped cut the national incarceration rate by 13 percent since 2007. States are finding smart, new ways to get tough on crime and, in the process, changing how America views crime and punishment.
This podcast goes through the dramatic changes in South Carolina’s justice system. It features leaders in South Carolina who are implementing their innovative reforms – state Senator Gerald Malloy (D); Bryan Stirling, S.C. state corrections director; and Adam Gelb, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts public safety performance project.
Voters and legislators are looking more intently at improving the results of incarceration. “There really is a sea change in this attitude towards crime and punishment across the country over the past ten years” said Gelb. Little wonder that two thirds of states have moved in this direction.
More from Americans for Tax Reform
ATR Supports Better Sentencing in Nebraska
Americans for Tax Reform this week released a letter to Nebraska lawmakers urging support for State Senator Ernie Chamber’s LB 447.
Nonviolent drug offenses make up a significant proportion of mandatory minimums and result in arbitrary and severe sentencing outcomes that neither fit the crime nor the individual's unique circumstances. Nebraska prisons are now filled with low-level offenders, resulting in overcapacity prison populations and higher costs for taxpayers.
LB 447 is an important step toward comprehensive sentencing reform. This legislation would turn sentencing over to the judges who know the specifics of a crime and can properly determine what an appropriate sentence is. This avoids excessive incarceration and maintains families intact for longer. Children and spouses will not have to be deprived of breadwinners, reducing the negative effects on their own lives.
Below is the text of the letter, which can also be found here.
March 23, 2017
Dear members of the Nebraska Legislature,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Nebraska, I write today in strong support of LB 447. If passed, LB 447 would focus Nebraska’s overcrowded prisons on dangerous offenders and save the state several millions of dollars.
Nonviolent drug offenses, which make up a significant proportion of mandatory minimums, result in arbitrary and severe sentencing outcomes that neither fit the crime nor the individual's unique circumstances. Nebraska prisons are now filled with low-level offenders, resulting in overcapacity prison populations and higher costs for taxpayers. This is why over 30 states have reassessed mandatory minimum sentences in the last 15 years.
LB 447 is an important step toward comprehensive sentencing reform. Judges are denied the right to bring their experience, discretion, and sense of what is just into the sentencing procedure. This approach fills prisons with people who pose little risk to society, straining public resources without any gains in safety.
This legislation would turn sentencing over to the judges who know the specifics of a crime and can properly determine what an appropriate sentence is. This avoids excessive incarceration and maintains families intact for longer. Children and spouses will not have to be deprived of breadwinners, reducing the negative effects on their own lives.
In addition, LB 447 has the potential to save the state of Nebraska $3.5 million annually. The current results of a high rate of mandatory minimum offenders in prison are not cost-effective. As of 2013, Nebraska's correctional expenditures were nearly 193 million. Unless state policymakers act, they will likely need to spend another $100 million to build yet another prison.
Given the undeniable costs and dubious benefits of mass, long-term incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders, the Nebraska Legislature should take steps to give judges more flexibility in sentencing those offenders. The Cornhusker State has already passed legislation to improve public safety through smarter crime policies, this bill represents another step in the right direction.
I encourage you to extend your support for this important legislation. For more information, please contact Jorge Marin in my office at email@example.com
Grover G. Norquist
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Grover Norquist supports Sen. Flake's CRA on FCC privacy rules
ATR President Grover Norquist welcomes Sen. Flake's (R-AZ) proposal for using the CRA to rescind the FCC's false broadband privacy rules. In a recent letter to Congress, Norquist outlines the costs of additional FCC rules and regulations for American taxpayers and consumers and explains why the FTC maintains the correct approach to privacy protection.
The letter in full is written below:
I write urging you to use your Congressional Review Act authority to withdraw the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules and support the Federal Trade Commission framework for privacy protection.
We should always be wary of regulation for regulation’s sake. Duplicative rules at different agencies often create confusion and added costs without a significant benefit.
The Federal Trade Commission has been policing privacy for the last decade, and there has been no indication that other agencies are needed. The FCC is not needed here.
At a time when our goal is to pare down the cost of government and let taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, the FCC is no poster child for efficiency.
FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly has pointed out that the FCC, through information gathering requests alone, requires 73 million hours and $800 million just to fill out requests. The Competitive Enterprise Institute found that in FY 2015 the FCC spent around $464 million in regulatory development and enforcement, and it accounts for more than $100 billion annually in regulatory and economic impact.
Please find enclosed a coalition letter from 21 organizations detailing why the FTC rules are the correct approach, and our opposition to the FCC rules. This letter requested that Congress use its Congressional Review Act authority to rescind the broadband privacy rules. It also details why we do not believe the rules will do as they claim.
Americans value their privacy. That is why Americans for Tax Reform has been a vocal defender of privacy and the Fourth Amendment. However, the FCC rules use our highly valued privacy as a tool to empower agency regulatory expansion at the expense of consumers.
If you have any questions, please contact Katie McAuliffe by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, 202-785-0266."