Sugar Producers To Tap Into Ethanol Subsidies
Ah, the politics of American sugar. I once read that Caribbean cane growers protected their power by lobbying the English parliament to prevent America's colonists from achieving political representation. Nice. Flash forward two hundred fifty years or so and The New York Times reports that a "little-noticed provision in the new farm bill would oblige the Agriculture Department to buy surplus domestic sugar caused by the expected influx of Mexican sugar next year. Then the government would sell it, most likely at a steep discount, to ethanol producers to add to their fermentation tanks." Note the word "surplus." in other words, the feds would be legally obliged to buy U.S. sugar at a price determined by the U.S. sugar industry, to provide the somewhat-less-than impoverished, already heavily subsidized industry an "insurance policy" against the impact of cheap NAFTA-enabled imports. It gets worse. The ethanol industry doesn't event want the sugar; they'd have to invest in new machinery to use it. “In today’s grain-based biorefineries, the amount of sugar you could introduce into the process would be fairly small,” said Matt Hartwig, spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association. Our tax money hard at work.