THE WEEKLY STANDARD: The Democrats' Sweet Tooth

THE WEEKLY STANDARD: October 7, 2016. Written by Kevin Cochrane.

In the depths of the Great Depression, two progressive congressmen added a little noticed amendment to the Agricultural Adjustment Act that over the next 80 plus years grew like an octopus with its tentacles touching every single American. At its inception, the Jones-Costigan Amendment was intended to help struggling U.S. sugar farmers ride out a few rough years by installing sugar import quotas and paying small subsidies to domestic producers. It was but a small part of the whole bigger New Deal. But it's one that wouldn't go away—even after it had far outlived its usefulness.

By the 1950s it was estimated that Americans were paying 50 percent more for sugar than the rest of the world because of Jone-Costigan. It was an attractive business protected by the most powerful government in the world. So attractive in fact that four brothers from Cuba, the Fanjuls, soon arrived along with their father and began a fledgling sugar cane business in south Florida. From those beginnings, protected by the quotas and supported by the subsidies, the Fanjul Corporation now is among the world's largest sugar producers and processors —an American success story. Sweet, eh?

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