A movement whose time has come? Kevin Roose makes a strong case against the United States government subsidizing the sugar industry, at New York Magazine:
Right here in America, under our collective nose, there is an industry that survives on political patronage and government subsidies, that regularly receives mysterious and untraceable bailouts funded by taxpayers, that is disproportionately influential in Washington as a result of its massive lobbying efforts, and that is making huge profits at the expense of ordinary consumers.
I’m not talking about Wall Street. I’m talking about the American sugar industry, which for years has been a perfect case study for the corrupting influence of money in politics. These days, beverage-makers like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are catching flack for working behind the scenes to build opposition to Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban. But the sugar industry has been exerting its power in politics for decades. And while camping out at a Florida sugarcane farm isn’t as sexy and eye-catching as a Zuccotti Park protest, it’s clear that Big Sugar needs to be kept in check with an Occupy movement of its own.
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a story about the Department of Agriculture’s decision to consider bailing out the U.S. sugar industry by buying 400,000 tons of sugar from major U.S. producers, at a taxpayer-funded cost of roughly $80 million. The massive purchase would “prop up tumbling U.S. sugar prices, which have fallen 18% since the USDA made the nine-month operations-financing loans beginning in October,” according to the Journal.
Why does the U.S. sugar industry need an $80 million bailout, you ask? Because sugar-makers are in danger of defaulting on loans the government gave them as part of a previous bailout program…
[continues at at New York Magazine]