In honor of Valentine’s Day, a couple of sugar policy critics penned a hateful article for the Wall Street Journal that spewed the same old erroneous talking points that have been used by Big Candy lobbyists and disproven for nearly three decades.
Like countless articles before, it described job loss in the candy sector. Never mind all the government employment data and candy company news showing job growth and productionexpansion by U.S. confectioners.
And like numerous past attacks, it misleadingly described “high” U.S. sugar prices. Again, feel free to ignore the evidence that grocery shoppers abroad pay 20% more for sugar than Americans.
In fact, the only bit of original content in the article was an attack on the common-sense “zero-for-zero” sugar policy, which is gaining steam in conservative circles because it targets global subsidiesand seeks to bring about a true free market.
The recent Big Candy attack called such an approach impossible, despite the WTO’s movement in this direction at a recent meeting. And the authors implored lawmakers to give their unilateral disarmament approach – where the U.S. would let foreign subsidizers destroy its efficient domestic sugar industry – a chance.
News flash: You’ve already had a chance. America has unilaterally disarmed its sugar policy before and the results were disastrous.
After sugar policy was repealed in 1974, prices quadrupled over a 12-month period, leaving government officials with no choice but to reinstate the policy in hopes of market stabilization. Once U.S. sugar policy again went into effect, prices fell, much to the relief of consumers stung by unintended consequences.
Things stayed calm until the policy again lapsed in 1979 and 1980 at the behest of the same sugar policy opponents seeking change today. During that period, prices again more than doubled thanks to the volatility of the subsidized global market. And again, Congress reversed the failed unilateral disarmament experiment.
The fact that the authors were unaware of their proposal’s dismal track record is not surprising considering the sloppiness in which their work of fiction was prepared. What is surprising is that any publication, let alone the Wall Street Journal, would publish it without taking the time for basic fact checking.