This Halloween, millions of Americans will, as every year, be handing out candy. But this year, the real trick could be finding treats made in the U.S.A. Because of government cronyism aimed at protecting big sugar producers, much of the candy in your child’s bag will come from overseas.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2012, the price of raw sugar was 40 percent higher in the United States than in the rest of the world. And, while an international sugar glut is expected to send prices tumbling everywhere else later this year, U.S. prices will remain about the same. That’s because of a U.S. government program that guarantees sugar processors a minimum price.
That program costs American taxpayers about $1.4 billion each year, while directly benefitting fewer than 5,000 beet and sugar cane farmers. Most of them, like most big farmers, are fairly well off to begin with. Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration says that U.S. consumers pay an extra $826,000 for each sugar-production job saved.