Occupy Sugar?

Evan-Amos (CC)

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]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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24 Comments on "Occupy Sugar?"

  1. So when taxpayer ‘money’ is at stake, then it’s worth protesting; but, when slave labour continues on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic/Haiti, it’s gimme my sweets?

  2. So when taxpayer ‘money’ is at stake, then it’s worth protesting; but, when slave labour continues on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic/Haiti, it’s gimme my sweets?

  3. So when taxpayer ‘money’ is at stake, then it’s worth protesting; but, when slave labour continues on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic/Haiti, it’s gimme my sweets?

    • I don’t know for certain, but I bet it’s tough for some people to accept that there is still slave labor in this world. Let alone accepting that these corporations are screwing everyone, royally. Last time I confronted a republican about predatory capitalism I was told I hate America. Also the constitution was mentioned like it’s some sort of crucifix for dirty bleeding heart pinko lefties.

      Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I bet the tax angle is more powerful, and more apt to get the attention of some people.

      • I like how you tried to break that to me all soft like. Yeah, I know, the tax angle is more powerful, but only to people who don’t know what ‘money’ is. The Fed toilet paper they pay their taxes in isn’t money; it’s a promise by the government that they’ll pay their debts back. But all of the constitution, left-right, republican-democrat stuff is going to fly out the window in short order soon. You watch. It’s coming. Buy some canned food.

      • I like how you tried to break that to me all soft like. Yeah, I know, the tax angle is more powerful, but only to people who don’t know what ‘money’ is. The Fed toilet paper they pay their taxes in isn’t money; it’s a promise by the government that they’ll pay their debts back. But all of the constitution, left-right, republican-democrat stuff is going to fly out the window in short order soon. You watch. It’s coming. Buy some canned food.

        • I am trying not to be perceived as a dick, It can be challenging online. I really hope things don’t go all nutty. Sugar and slavery won’t matter then either.

          • don’t worry….i don’t perceive you as a dick. god speed down there, tho. not enough fed budget here in canada to lock people up in camps and get the zyklon b going.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 15, 2013 at 2:51 am |

            Zyklon? Most of the camps just used CO. Not much venture capital needed there.
            Have you ever looked at the mobile CO execution vans they used. The Chinese still do.

          • i have actually. that’s how they started it going, right? my neighbour’s 14 year old tabby got sick so he jerry-rigged a tube from his truck’s exhaust to a wooden box with the cat in it. I was going to crack a joke about Schrödinger’s Cat, but he looked pretty bummed about doing it afterwards.

          • Calypso_1 | Mar 15, 2013 at 3:46 am |

            Poor cats. I’ve resorted to the gunny sack in a barrel of water. Tender mercies….

            The vet once let me euthanize my own dog. Sedative…then direct cardiac administration of barbiturates. Shot through the heart & my own pitiful howl. & the tears are streaming even now…the love we have for these fellow travelers. What an honor.

          • That is not a charming thought at all.

          • That is not a charming thought at all.

  4. Odd. I was having a related discussion with a friend, just yesterday.

    We were on the subject of why Coca-Cola from say, Mexico, seems to taste better than what you get in the U.S.

    The general consensus is that some places outside the U.S. still use Sucrose instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup. (Note: The “Throwback” versions of soft drinks which claim to use “real” sugar actually use something called “Invert Sugar”.)

    Part of the reason for using HFCS is Government price supports and import tariffs on Cane Sugar.

    I find it surprisingly annoying that we’re propping up an industry that is helping to wreck the Everglades.

  5. Odd. I was having a related discussion with a friend, just yesterday.

    We were on the subject of why Coca-Cola from say, Mexico, seems to taste better than what you get in the U.S.

    The general consensus is that some places outside the U.S. still use Sucrose instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup. (Note: The “Throwback” versions of soft drinks which claim to use “real” sugar actually use something called “Invert Sugar”.)

    Part of the reason for using HFCS is Government price supports and import tariffs on Cane Sugar.

    I find it surprisingly annoying that we’re propping up an industry that is helping to wreck the Everglades.

  6. Anarchy Pony | Mar 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm |

    See? Another industrial complex, more bad news.

  7. BuzzCoastin | Mar 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm |

    I’d like to see an article about a large corporate client of Uncle Homeland
    that doesn’t get welfare from UH
    to my knowledge all the Fortunate 500 suck at Uncle Homeland’s teat
    Big Sugar is meely one of Unck’s many patrons

  8. BuzzCoastin | Mar 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm |

    I’d like to see an article about a large corporate client of Uncle Homeland
    that doesn’t get welfare from UH
    to my knowledge all the Fortunate 500 suck at Uncle Homeland’s teat
    Big Sugar is meely one of Unck’s many patrons

  9. I kind of view the Bloomberg soda ban as a cop-out. Giving struggling New Yorkers access to produce, better food, and education about health would be a more serious undertaking.

  10. I kind of view the Bloomberg soda ban as a cop-out. Giving struggling New Yorkers access to produce, better food, and education about health would be a more serious undertaking.

  11. chinagreenelvis | Mar 15, 2013 at 4:58 am |

    I’m confused. Is this about sugar, or corn syrup?

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