The sour of sweetness


By Dan Wilson - Contributing columnist



With all due respect to a certain late-night television talk-show host, it’s time for some thank-you notes!

Thank you, President Obama, for your inability to save jobs from your adopted city and state (again).

Thank you, union bosses, for stealing dues and lying to their members.

Thank you, NAFTA, for those hidden clauses that prevent fair trade.

Thank you, U.S. sugar producers, for the loss of another 600 jobs to protect your own corrupt price gouging.

By the way, Mexico says thank you, too!

The manufacturer of Oreo cookies recently announced plans to move production of Oreos from Chicago to Mexico. This results in a loss of 600 U.S. jobs. This act has again brought into question the U.S. sugar program and other job-destroying trade barriers that continue to drive jobs out of this country, as the stench of back-door politics plays out behind closed doors in Washington and around the country.

The leading ingredient in Oreos is sugar (to which my doctor, my blood test and glucose levels are all screaming “why should you care”). The problem is not my prediabetic lifestyle, but the fact that U.S. trade barriers currently require Americans to pay twice the average world prices for sugar. This gives sugar-using industries a big incentive to leave and continue production in other countries where access to their primary ingredient is not restricted.

Does any of this sound familiar? Let’s just open one wound at a time.

The sugar industry is a relatively small sector of the Unites States agricultural economy. In fact, sugar represents just 2 percent of the total value of U.S. crop production, but the industry accounts for 33 percent of crop industries’ total campaign donations and 40 percent of crop industries’ total lobbying expenditures. Would you prefer skim, whole or 2 percent to dip that in?

Ohio used to be an integral part of this industry with sugar beet production. Sugar beet production in Ohio was around 3 million tons in 1991. But as other commodities became more profitable and easier to produce, Ohio farmers switched to more corn and soybeans and Ohio ceased any sugar beet production in 2005.

Of the current world production of more than 130 million metric tons of sugar, about 35 percent comes from sugar beets and 65 percent from sugar cane. In the U.S.A., about 50-55 percent of the domestic production of about 8.4 million metric tons derives from sugar beets.

The U.S. consumes 10 million tons of refined sugar each year and about 12 million tons of corn sweetener. White sugar is essentially pure sucrose and there is no difference between that derived from cane and that from sugar beets.

If the government wants people making Oreo cookies and similar products to keep their jobs, a logical starting point would be to eliminate the U.S. sugar program, including barriers to imported sugar. But why should they, when the sugar industry continues to use their profits to line the pockets of those same politicians. The same politicians bemoaning the loss of more jobs, all the while coddling the Unions and berating NAFTA. Don’t forget to eat the creamy inside first, then dunk.

Oreo — Mexico’s favorite cookie!

Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!

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By Dan Wilson

Contributing columnist

The writer is the owner of Wilson 1 Communications. He is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for over 30 years and the co-host and producer of “In Ohio Country Today,” a nationally recognized television show, and offers radio commentary and ag reports including locally for 92.1, the Frog WFGF Lima.

The writer is the owner of Wilson 1 Communications. He is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for over 30 years and the co-host and producer of “In Ohio Country Today,” a nationally recognized television show, and offers radio commentary and ag reports including locally for 92.1, the Frog WFGF Lima.