Candy-makers and confectioners – intent on importing artificially cheap, foreign subsidized sugar – have recently ratcheted up PR efforts to kill the U.S. sugar program, including shooting at the presidential campaign of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
- “Marco Rubio owes his political existence to Big Sugar,” declares Alan Farago in the Huffington Post.
- “Marco Rubio needs to get past his sugar problem,” opines Timothy Carney in the Washington Examiner.
- “Marco Rubio’s Billion-Dollar Sugar Addiction,” blares National Review Online.
- “Rubio and Big Sugar,” the Wall Street Journal editorialized.
- “Rubio’s position aligns with that of the sugar industry,” wrote Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post.
- “Marco Rubio’s continued defense of the economically indefensible US sugar program,” intoned Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute.
- “Rubio has consistently voted for and defended the federal sugar program,” wrote Steve Benen of MSNBC.
- Mary Clare Jalonick of U.S. News and World Report reports that Rubio “has consistently voted to maintain the sugar program.”
- Blogger Greg Sargent wrote that “Rubio is solely interested in keeping the sugar subsidy program because it keeps people employed in his state.”
You’d almost think this “surge” of attacks was being coordinated by some special interest!
The amazing thing about the criticism, however, is the claim that it’s the cost of sugar that’s costing American consumers more money when, in fact, the cost of sugar today is about where it was some 30 years ago while the cost of a candy bar has skyrocketed.
Meaning the burden taxpayers are shouldering for Hershey bars is coming from somewhere other than sugar.
Indeed, the WSJ editorial claimed that “The U.S. candy industry has been hollowed out as companies have fled to places like Guatemala and Thailand where they can remain competitive by buying sugar at world-market prices.”
Does anyone really believe candy-makers are relocating to third-world countries because of a 10-cent difference in the global cost of sugar rather than the huge gulf in labor costs, taxation, benefit mandates and government regulations?
Rubio’s position on the U.S. sugar program is fair, reasonable and defensible. “I’m ready to get rid of the loan program for sugar as long as the countries that export sugar into the U.S. get rid of theirs as well,” he declared at a Heritage Foundation forum this summer.
Tit-for-tat. Zero-for-zero. You drop yours, we’ll drop ours.
Makes perfect sense, despite the impressive surge of outrage coming from Big Candy’s PR machine.