FACTS

Is sugar a government subsidized commodity?

Yes, and for good, if not universally accepted reasons. Maintenance and protection of a domestic sugar industry has long been viewed as an important, strategic goal by many countries, largely because sugar is an indispensable part of everyday life.

History has shown that when sugar trade is left entirely to free-market forces, periods of wild price fluctuations and uncertain supply inevitably occur. To insure stability, various forms of "protectionism" and market control have evolved in most countries. Such mechanisms are as imperfect as the people who, with their competing agendas, propose and inevitably compromise over solutions.

The US has long protected its sugar industry for compelling reasons. It is an important industry that provides jobs and a necessary, pleasurable product few of us care to, or could, live without. The very survival of much of the enormous American food industry depends upon a steady, affordable supply of quality sugar for sweetness and a host of functional properties for which there is no substitute.

The US sugar industry is almost as important to our economic vitality as is a steady supply of affordable energy. Subjecting sugar to the unpredictable forces of global laissez faire capitalism would likely lead to "dumping" by countries whose own sugar industries are much more protected than is ours. This would drive some, if not all, domestic growers and refiners out of business. The resulting dependence on foreign sources for our sugar could bring shortages more severe than caused by World War II’s rationing, with high prices to match.