The Honorable Richard Lugar
United States Senate
306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Lugar:
On behalfof the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in strongsupport of your “Free Sugar Act of 2011.” This vital legislation woulddismantle the complicated and burdensome scheme of price manipulation, quotas,and tariffs that conspire to artificially raise sugar prices in this country.These policies are damaging to millions of hard-working American families andbusinesses and should be ended immediately. Your straightforward bill would doexactly that by repealing all of these misguided provisions and eliminatingbillions of dollars in higher costs.
For threequarters of a century, American businesses and consumers have paid a price forsugar far above world averages. This price premium is attributable not to alack of plentiful supplies or other market difficulties, but instead to atangled web of manipulative federal policies. These policies include a slew ofdirect and indirect price supports, quotas that dictate how much each processoris allowed to sell, and punitive tariffs preventing the import of lower-pricedsugar from abroad. The net effect is forcing Americans to pay as much as twicethe world price for sugar, a situation that is grossly unfair and untenablemoving forward.
Becausesugar is a core commodity in a vast array of products, the higher pricesAmericans must pay for it have contributed directly to heavier food and beveragecosts that weigh down family budgets. Furthermore, these higher prices havebeen a contributing factor to the withering of America’s domestic candymanufacturing sector. American candy companies are reducing or shutting downdomestic production facilities and in some cases moving just across the borderinto Canada or Mexico, so as to escape our artificially high sugar prices.
America’ssugar policies may benefit a select group of producers, but it exacts aterrible toll on the economy as a whole. A 2005 study by the U.S. Department ofCommerce concluded that for every job saved by these meddlesome practices,nearly three jobs were lost in confectionary manufacturing. At a time whenmillions of Americans are struggling to recover from a painful recession, Washingtonmust kick this market-rigging habit.
NTU urgesyour colleagues to embrace the “Free Sugar Act of 2011” and we look forward toworking with you in ushering it to passage for the benefit of taxpayers andconsumers.
VicePresident of Government Affairs