I am simply amazed at this level of cronyism enjoyed by the sugar industry -- import restrictions on cheaper world sugar, price supports, and government loans that can be paid back with excess product rather than cash.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is likely to buy sugar in the domestic market this year in order to drive prices up and prevent defaults on loans made to sugar processors, according to a USDA economist.
The USDA estimates it would need to buy 400,000 tons of sugar to boost prices to an “acceptable level,” said Barbara Fecso, an economist at the department. A purchase of 400,000 tons would amount to about 4.4% of projected U.S. sugar production in the marketing year that ends Sept. 30.
Domestic sugar prices have been trading at about 20 cents a pound, their lowest level in nearly four years, putting companies that make sugar from cane or beets at risk of defaulting on loans they received from the USDA when prices were higher.
People talk about these supposed government subsidies for oil companies, but every time I see a list of them they are dominated by things like depletion allowances, FIFO accounting, and investment tax credits, which are either standard accounting rules that apply to all industries or tax credits that apply to all manufacturers. But Big Sugar gets real heavy-duty subsidies no one, except maybe ethanol companies and other farmers, get.