CAGW Calls for Reform of Sugar Program | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Calls for Reform of Sugar Program

Press Release

             On behalf of the 1.2 million members and supporters of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), we call on Congress to reform the antiquated sugar program in the 2007 farm bill and applaud the efforts of congressional members of the Sugar Reform Caucus.

           The current U.S. sugar program, which escaped any reform in past farm bills, includes government-set price floors, government-enforced marketing quotas, and strict limits on imports.  It distorts markets, hampers trade liberalization, is costly to consumers, and will become increasingly costly to taxpayers in the years ahead.

            The restrictive sugar program keeps U.S. sugar prices at least twice the world level.  It also encourages opposition to trade agreements, even when the agreements are clearly in the best interest of the United States, including most other agricultural producers.

            Defenders of the sugar program have claimed that the program had no taxpayer cost and that it is necessary to keep small sugar farmers in business.  The truth is that the sugar program has always been a costly proposition for U.S. consumers ─ the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that the sugar program increases the price of sugar and sugar-containing products to U.S. consumers by $1.9 billion annually.

           Now, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the government will be forced to purchase surplus domestic supplies and taxpayer costs will be $1.375 billion over the next 10 years.  Nobody should be allowed to get by with calling the sugar program a “no net cost” program ever again.

          And who does it help?  GAO found that nearly 60 percent of all sugar program benefits go to just the wealthiest 1 percent of sugar farmers.  The truth is that the sugar program is an unconscionable transfer of wealth from those least able to pay ─ low-income consumers of sugar and sugar-containing foods ─ to a small group of growers and processors, most of whom are large corporations or wealthy individuals.

          Finally, the sugar program has almost wiped out the U.S. sugar cane refining industry and has forced candy manufacturers to move their operations abroad, destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs for American workers.

          CAGW believes that it is well past time to end the archaic sugar program.          

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