I’m often on the other side of the aisle from Glen Dean and his paleo-libertarian philosophy. For instance, total market-place dominance of the health-care industry can’t work efficiently because the customer has no real choice, nor do they have any real method of cost-shopping. You better have insurance if you wanna survive, and your insurance really isn’t as interested in your health as you are…but that’s another story for another day.
Where I’m almost all in with Glen is the issue of tariffs and free trade. Glen may never see a tariff that he likes, and I may want to reserve judgement based on the situation, there is one place I’m pretty sure we agree: the United States of America needs to stop subsidizing the US sugar industry by eliminating price supports and removing tariffs on the import of sugar. Glen’s main thrust right now is ethanol, but I want to start slightly sweeter, but with a quite akin topic: sugar. I’ll be back later with my ethanol take.
You wanna talk about a win-win for just about everyone but a handful of sugar and sugar-beet farmers (and even they won’t be left bereft)? Do you wanna help the environment, save the everglades, save jobs in our country, have cheaper products because the cost of sugar is market based, help third world economy, help stabilize central and South American countries AND help save the rain forest…ALL at freakin’ ONCE?
Ask your congressman and Senator to dismantle the sugar subsidy. Ask them to remove the unbelievably high tariff on sugar from Brazil (in some cases the tariff is over 200% of cost!). If the market was left alone and allowed to breath here, sugar would be grown where it is most efficient to grow sugar. Guess where that is? Guess where that isn’t?
Sugar is best grown in tropical climates where less land is needed to grow sugar. Florida’s climate is good for sugar but not optimal. The sugar plantations and farms in Florida are using up land needed by the Everglades to continue to survive (I hope you know by now why the Everglades are important). Many farmers in countries like Brazil are forced to use land for less efficient crops becaus the US tariffs and subsidies keeps the cost of imported sugar high enough not to compete with American-grown sugar. These farmers plant other less efficient crops, thus using land that once was claimed by the rain forest.
According to The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money, we in the US pay 1.8 BILLION more a year for food than we would if the sugar tariff was eliminated.
The elimination of tariffs and the ridiculous trade embargo with Cuba would allow Cuban farmers to once again grow the sugar cane that would compete with the less-efficient US stock, giving consumers here a better price AND allowing the Cuban economy to flourish, free-market-style.
Our Everglades are being choked by the pesticides of the government subsidized sugar growers. Let them compete on the global level, and the economies here and abroad will improve.
It’s time to tear down the tariff wall…let the sugar and the ethanol flow from Brazil. Let the market set the price, and efficiencies of scale and land use will have a chance.
The US guarantees sugar growers here at least $.20 per pound which is nearly 2 and 1/2 times the real cost of sugar. Jobs here in the US are being outsourced to other countries (such as Canada) because of the high price of sugar. Guess where ‘Life-Savers’ USED to be made..guess where they are no longer made?
Re the sugar growers who are guaranteed a ‘par’ amount for their crop, or GASP, have to give the government sugar if they can’t repay their loans…they’ll be guaranteed a soft landing, by the congress they have so richly endowed…and it’s not a GOP thang or a DemoCrat thang..it’s pretty much graft. And we get what?…THE SUGAR SHAFT.