For years Congress has missed opportunities to reform the U.S. sugar program. This outdated and outrageous program has not been modernized in 80 years. It is a rigged system that protects a concentrated group of 13 mega-processors at the risk of American small businesses and workers.
This sugar shakedown is baked into nearly every food, snack and treat, which results in zero benefit for the American consumer. The U.S. sugar program forces manufacturers to pay twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world, putting American small businesses at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to creating jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the sugar program killed 123,000 jobs between 1997 and 2015. The American Enterprise Institute estimates that the program costs small businesses and consumers $2.4 – $4 billion a year.
Some in Congress believe that we should wait for agriculture policies in other countries around the world to change before we address this problem here at home. It’s time to stop pretending that the need to reform the U.S. sugar program is about how other countries operate their governments. Right now these mega-processors operate at zero risk year-in and year-out while American small businesses and manufacturers get zero access to an adequate supply of sugar at a fair price and American manufacturing jobs are put in jeopardy.
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