Real Clear Policy: Written by Karen Kerrigan. April 30, 2018.
Ronald Reagan liked to say, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” For America’s small business owners, these words still ring true. While recent tax reform legislation and regulatory changes from Washington have provided some relief and are helping to level the competitive playing field for small businesses, there is a long list of outdated, harmful, and baffling government programs that still need to change. Perhaps no program that fits that description better than the federal government’s sugar subsidy program.
First enacted more than 80 years ago, the sugar subsidy program was originally intended to help small sugar growers. It has since morphed into a tangled program of taxpayer-backed loans, government mandates, and arbitrary import restrictions. Even worse, this program — which is a hidden tax on manufacturers, food entrepreneurs, and consumers to the tune of $2.4–$4 billion a year — benefits only a handful of wealthy sugar processors.
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