(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) issued its weekly spending cut alert, aimed at the federal sugar program. The program is ostensibly aimed at ensuring that there is an adequate supply of sugar for the U.S. market. Unfortunately, it has harmful effects, giving generous handouts to wealthy farmers and driving jobs overseas. CAGW also released a new report, The Bitter Taste of Sugar, which details the numerous flaws in the program.
The sugar program has done the opposite of what it was intended to do, while costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead of helping out small U.S. sugar farmers, this program has instead “concentrated a vast amount of wealth in the hands of a few large individuals and conglomerates,” according to CAGW’s report. The wealthiest one percent of sugar farmers receives 60 percent of the subsidies. The sugar program inflates the price of sugar to at least twice the world price of the commodity, which has the effect of decreasing domestic sugar refining jobs as well as secondary jobs in industries that use sugar, such as candy, cereal, and baked goods manufacturers.
“The sugar program is the epitome of government waste. Taxpayers spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on a program that kills jobs, guarantees an inadequate supply, and puts subsidies in the hands of wealthy corporations,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “In these tough financial times, President Obama and Congress could begin to exercise fiscal restraint by eliminating corporate welfare programs like this one.”
The sugar program has been among CAGW’s targets for spending cuts for decades and is included in CAGW’s Prime Cuts database, a compendium of 763 waste-cutting recommendations that would save taxpayers $350 billion in the first year and $2.2 trillion over five years. The elimination of this program would save taxpayers $160 million in one year and $800 million over a five-year period.
“While CAGW’s Prime Cuts is not the only answer, it will help reduce the $1.3 trillion deficit, the $13.7 trillion national debt, and keep more money in the hands of individuals and small businesses that can more directly address the stubborn 9.6 percent jobless rate,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Taxpayers now recognize that the big spenders in Washington will say anything to sound fiscally rational, but their actions tell a different story. They should read and adopt every recommendation in the 2010 Prime Cuts,” Schatz concluded.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.