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The Great Sugar Robbery Continues


That article hammered federal sugar policy as one of the most brazen interventionist failures in American history. Unfortunately, the political looting of sugar consumers and food producers continues unabated.

Federal price supports and import quotas combine to drive U.S. sugar prices far above the world sugar price. American consumers pay more than $3 billion a year in higher prices thanks to the sugar program, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Federal sugar policy has a long, sordid history. In 1816, Congress imposed high tariffs on sugar imports in part to prop up the value of slaves in Louisiana. In 1832, a committee of Boston's leaders issued a pamphlet denouncing sugar tariffs as a scam on millions of low-paid American workers to benefit fewer than 500 plantation owners. In the 1890s, Congress first abolished and then re-imposed the sugar tariff, spurring a boom-bust in Cuba that helped drag the United States into the Spanish-American War.

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