Big Sugar’s subsidy — how sweet it is

Posted by Robyn, March 27, 2013

sugarCut by cut, the forced budget reductions known as the sequester are beginning to affect millions of Americans.

Head Start education programs for low-income students are being slashed. So are medical services for 2 million native Americans living on Indian reservations and in Alaska.

The Army is suspending tuition assistance for soldiers hoping to enroll in classes, while scholarship funds have been curtailed for children of troops who were killed in combat.

Cutbacks at U.S. Customs and Border Protection are causing long waits and security concerns at Miami International Airport. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture will furlough 6,200 food inspectors for 11 days this summer, which the agency says will create an $8 billion delay in meat exports.

Still, not everyone who depends on the federal government is suffering in these austere times.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the USDA is on the verge of purchasing 400,000 tons of sugar in a massive bailout of domestic sugar processors. The move would cost taxpayers about $80 million.

It’s the sweetest of deals for the big companies that grow cane and beets. For years the government has guaranteed an artificially high price for American sugar, undercutting foreign competitors and inflating consumer prices for everything from soft drinks to breakfast cereal.

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