As Congress looks to draft the 2012 Farm Bill, many members of Congress have set their sights on repealing one of Washington’s most indefensible program—the sugar program. Earlier this year, Sen. Lugar (R-IN) introduced the “Free Sugar Act of 2011,” designed to repeal the sugar program that has kept sugar prices artificially high through price manipulation, import quotas, and tariffs. Sen. Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Shaheen (D-NH) introduced a similar piece of legislation, the “SUGAR Act,” aimed at phasing out the antiquated program.
ATR sent a letter (pdf) to members of the Senate highlighting the harmful economic consequences of the sugar program, stating:
The current sugar program was introduced in 1934 with the goal of lowering sugar production and raising sugar prices. Unfortunately, it has done this well. The result has been that sugar prices in the U.S. are twice the world market price, costing business and consumers that use sugar over $4 billion annually. Even worse, the current system hurts U.S. manufacturers of sugary goods as foreign competitors can purchase sugar at half or even a third the price of U.S. manufacturers. This places them at a tremendous disadvantage. Ultimately, these policies have cost the economy 112,000 jobs over the last two decades.
It’s time to end this outdated program that benefits a few wealthy farmers at the expense of all consumers. ATR supports any legislation that repeals this inexcusable handout.