honey, aw sugar sugar

remember when soda was made with sugar instead of corn syrup? and ketchup and everything else? so what changed? agricultural policy. world sugar prices spiked, then crashed, so domestic sugar producers lobbied congress and got sugar price supports and import tariffs. this drove the price of sugar back up, so the big sugar consumers looked for a cheaper alternative. corn was (and still is) grown in huge amounts because a minimum price is guaranteed by the government, and a process had recently been invented to create high-fructose corn syrup on an industrial scale, leading to the replacement of sugar with HFCS in every product possible. all this to coddle domestic cane and beet farmers to the tune of more than $3 billion a year. sugar subsidies and tariffs should be immediately abolished, thus returning the sweetener market to an open and free one.

you might recall a few years ago that the price of honey was relatively low, but it’s sky-high now. guess how that happened. china started exporting cheap honey and domestic honey producers, already hit by colony collapse disorder (CCD), couldn’t compete, so they begged the government to intervene. the result was a 5 year import tariff on chinese honey, thus keeping prices high. the USITC is considering ending this subsidy. they should. large-scale beekeepers will tell you that they pollinate billions of dollars worth of crops; true enough. does this mean we should subsidize them? no. if they can’t compete with imported honey then perhaps they should charge more for their pollination services.

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