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What Do Nixon, Einstein, the Titanic and Critics of the U.S. Sugar Program have in Common?


A May 16th article published by Confectionary News includes a number of claims about the U.S. sugar program that are as preposterous Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” claim.

For example, Jennifer Cummings, the Coalition for Sugar Reform’s spokesperson, said…

“The Coalition’s objective is to bring about reform and change to the federal government’s overly restrictive sugar program that has increasingly failed to provide adequate supplies of sugar to the U.S. market.”

Now, Ms. Cummings is entitled to her own opinion as to whether or not the U.S. sugar program is “overly restrictive,” but she is not entitled to her own facts as it relates to sugar supplies.

The fact is there is NO SHORTAGE of sugar in the U.S.  Period.  I mean, it’s not even debatable.  Some may honestly argue the effects of the U.S. sugar program on pricing – as many continue to do – but not on supply.

Indeed, to claim the sugar program “has increasingly failed to provide adequate supplies of sugar” is to perpetuate a falsehood right up there with the claim that the Titanic was “unsinkable.”

The second piece of disinformation in the article was the claim that the U.S. sugar program is “why many candy companies moved their manufacturing to other countries where the cost of sugar is lower.”

Demonstrably untrue.

As the article notes, “As of January of this year, US raw sugar is priced at 25.76 cents per pound.”

On the other hand, according to Stephen Marks and Keith Maskus, authors of “The Economics and Politics of World Sugar Prices,” the US raw sugar price way back in 1989 – more than 25 years ago! – was 22.58 cents per pound.

These prices are darned near the same even without factoring in inflation.

So the notion that it’s the cost of sugar – rather than the cost of labor, government regulations, taxes and profiteering – that’s driving candy manufacturing out of this country is as absurd as the claim that Albert Einstein failed math in school.

There’s plenty of room for debate over the merits of the U.S. sugar program.  And I share many of the concerns.  But you can’t have an honest debate when one side relies on so many false claims.  Let’s hope no one in Congress falls for them.