This article orginally appeared in The Hill on August 16, 2016
The U.S. sugar lobby constantly reminds people that crony capitalism is alive and well in Washington, D.C., as they continue to protect their sweet deal of federal subsidies that come at the expense of American consumers and taxpayers. To make matters worse, the sugar lobby is promoting a plan (called “zero-for-zero”) to push all other countries to get rid of their sugar subsidies before we do anything about our own. If it sounds unreasonable, that is because it is. Not only is this so-called “zero-for-zero” proposal for sugar policy unreasonable, it is also highly unlikely that other nations will abandon their protectionist subsidies, especially when the country demanding this false reform has a sugar industry that is so highly subsidized. Clearly, the only real purpose of “zero-for-zero” is to give the U.S. sugar lobby an excuse for zero reform. As an organization committed to protecting taxpayers and holding government accountable, it is troubling that some members of Congress who bill themselves as conservatives are advocating this proposal on behalf of the sugar lobby. The fact is, to reform sugar subsidies, Congress needs to begin with our own subsidies. America should lead by example. The U.S. sugar program is in desperate need for reform. That is because there are few, if any, federal policies that mandate more government intrusion in the marketplace than the U.S. sugar program.
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