Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sugar. Oh Honey, Honey.

I need to run a correction.
On this website and in other bloggers' comment fields I've often written that sugar has been protected as an infant industry since the Thomas Jefferson administration.

I was wrong. According to The Freedom Daily, it's only been protected as a developing "infant" industry since James Madison's administration in 1816.

I regret the error.

My point was that it takes these millionaires a few centuries to get their businesses off the ground.

In case you're interested, shortly after The War Of 1812 sugar growers lobbied for tariffs against cheaper foreign sugar imports by claiming that if sugar was less expensive, it would decrease the value of their slaves. (An argument still being made by Florida's Fanjul family to this very day.)

We're paying so much more than we should pay for so many things. The cost per household for tariffs, quotas, and outright bans on foreign goods costs the average household around $6,000.00 according to these guys. I've read estimates as low as $4,000.00 and as high as $10,000.00 (BTW, the liberal estimates are by conservatives, and the conservative estimates are generally made by liberals.)

Here's my favorite example of how quotas and tariffs distort the market. From the first link above:

" On June 28, 1983, Reagan declared an embargo on imports of certain blends and mixtures of sugar and other ingredients in bulk containers. Naturally, businesses began importing some of the same products in smaller containers. The Economic Report of the President noted, "Entrepreneurs were importing high-sugar content products, such as iced-tea mix, and then sifting their sugar content from them and selling the sugar at the high domestic price." On November 7, 1984, the Customs Service announced new restrictions on sugar- and sweetener-blend imports.

You gotta love it. Bring in iced tea mix, boil the sugar out of it, and then sell the sugar at inflated "Made In The USA" prices to us sharecroppers who have no choice but buy everything from The Landowner's Commissary.

But wait, there's more....

Federal restrictions made sugar smuggling immensely profitable. The Justice Department caught 30 companies in a major sting operation named Operation Bittersweet. Federal prosecutors were proud that the crackdown netted $16 million in fines for the government — less than one-tenth of 1 percent of what the sugar program cost American consumers during the 1980s. The Justice Department was more worried about businessmen's bringing in cheap foreign sugar than about the sugar lobby's bribing of congressmen to extort billions of dollars from consumers. (Public Voice for Food and Health Policy, a Washington, D.C., consumer lobby, reported that the sugar lobby donated more than $3 million to congressmen between 1984 and 1989.)

Since reading about this has put me in a bad mood anyway, here's something to make it worse. Believe it or not, this was the #1 song when I was eight years old.


Anonymous said...

In related news, (


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington announced May 6 the arrest of a U.S. man and a Chinese citizen on charges that they conspired to avoid anti-dumping duties on honey imported from China by claiming that it was manufactured in Thailand or the Philippines. According to an agency press release, the U.S. man, who serves as president of two companies involved in honey imports and sales, is alleged to have purchased honey in China and then had it shipped to other countries where it was re-labeled to make it appear it was a product of these other countries. The U.S. has applied AD duties on all honey imported from China since 2001, and the current AD duty rate is 221%. The value of the unlawfully imported honey in this case is more than $1.4 million and the AD duties owed exceed $3.3 million. The press release notes that conspiracy is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Dr Ralph said...

Sweet!(Couldn't resist.)

Anonymous said...

I'm telling you, those honey cops play hardball!