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POLITICS

The candy lobby fights the sugar lobby on Halloween

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Your candy costs more because of federal policies that drive up the price of sugar. The sugar industry likes these policies. So does the corn industry, because higher sugar prices drive food-makers to use corn syrup instead of cane sugar.

The candy industry doesn’t like it, and neither do other companies that use sweetener. I wrote in July:

The biggest victims are the food producers who use sugar. If you sucked on Lemonheads, Atomic Fireballs or Red Hots as a kid, chances are they were made just outside Chicago. These days, the producer — Ferrara Pan Candy Co. — makes them mostly in Mexico and Canada because sugar prices are so much lower there.

The candy lobby used the biggest candy day of the year to lobby for abolition of the sugar program, as National Journal reports:

The Coalition for Sugar Reform, which includes the National Confectioners Association, sent Congress a Halloween-themed message today. “The U.S. Sugar Program” is scrawled across the top in blood-dripping font and below are “four scary reasons” why the coalition wants Congress should reform the program, including manufacturing job losses and high costs to consumers.

An accompanying release from the coalition also quotes Reps. Joe Pitts, R-Penn., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., who call on Congress to reform the sugar program.

“Halloween reminds us that while the sugar program is a treat for wealthy farmers who benefit from the sugar subsidies, it’s nothing but a trick for the millions of American families who pay a hidden tax on sugar every time they go to the grocery store,” Pitts said in the release.

A footnote: Otherwise conservative Sen. Marco Rubio supports the big-government policies that keep sugar prices high. A top sugar-growing family includes early fundraisers for his longshot 2010 Senate bid.

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