George Will has a terrific column in today's Washington Post in which he takes on the US sugar industry, its protection from competition, and the gubmnt subsidies it receives, both directly and indirectly. I would add that because the price of sugar is high, that leads to increased demand for high-fructose corn syrup, which has affected many things (including the taste of Coke?)*.
*I called Coca-Cola about 25 years ago to ask why the taste of Coke was less rough/metallic, a taste I had come to enjoy, and asked if they had changed the formula. They said they hadn't changed the formula; all they had changed was the sweetener they use.
In the last four years, the U.S. sugar price has averaged between 64 percent to 92 percent higherthan the world price. The costs are dispersed to hundreds of millions. The benefits accrue primarily to 4,700 sugar beet and sugar cane farms....
The government guarantees up to 85 percent of the U.S. sugar market for U.S.-produced sugar. ... Surplus sugar — meaning that which U.S. producers cannot profitably sell — is bought by the government and sold at a loss to producers of ethanol, another program whose irrationalities are ubiquitous.
President Lincoln’s biggest blunder was .... creating the Agriculture Department. Since 1995, 75 percent of all agriculture subsidies have gone to the largest and wealthiest 10 percent of farms. Largely because of steadily loosened eligibility criteria — loosened at the collaborative behest of agriculture interests and the “caring class” (i.e., welfare workers) — food stamps are now used by 48 million Americans. The stamps buy less than they would were sugar quotas not raising the price of every edible thing, from ketchup to bread to yogurt, that contains sugar. But, then, big government always is most caring about the strong, the articulate and the organized.