To Top

Big Candy’s Nightmare on Subsidy Street

Like a full moon, it seems that every month a spokesperson for Big Candy trots out a story, article, white paper or op-ed bemoaning the cost of home-grown, made-in-the-USA sugar as though it were a bigger threat to the American way of life than Freddie Krueger.

Halloween, of course, is the Super Bowl of anti-sugar propaganda.  And this year was no exception.

Indeed, a hair-raising “article” published by Reuters a couple weeks ago titled “Surging U.S. sugar price to boost food company costs” included this Steven King-worthy frightful passage…

“Food manufacturers such as Mondelez International and J.M. Smucker Co. will face billions of dollars of additional costs this year because of soaring sugar prices, according to estimates from a sugar buyers group.”

A “sugar buyers group”?

Oh, yes, I’m sure those “sugar buyers” are completely objective and unbiased.

Fortunately, the light of day scares off such demons of doom and the truth emerges from the crypt.

The fact is the cost of the amount of sugar contained in the average chocolate candy bar is pretty much just where it was when Ronald Reagan was president.

Yet the cost of that same candy bar has sky-rocketed from around a quarter to around a buck-fifty today.  Meaning it’s not “demon sugar” that’s responsible for “billions of dollars of additional costs,” but something else.

My guess is labor costs, mixed with a spoonful of good, old-fashioned profit-making.

Nothing wrong with that.  But let’s not sugar-coat increasing shareholder value by scapegoating the domestic sugar industry for the fact that kids can no longer buy a candy bar for the spare change in their pockets.

The solution to this situation is simple: the free market.

But for the global market to be free, all governments need to get out of the sugar subsidy business.  Exporting artificially cheap sugar to compete with American farmers and processors does not a free market make.

And until other nations wean themselves from their addiction to government subsidies, Congress has no choice but to continuing protecting of our own from unfair competition.