Saturday, August 8, 2015

Marco Rubio's Big Sugar Embrace Flunks Basic Economics

By John Tamny

Recently first tier Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio was asked about his support of federal sugar subsidies.  It was a reasonable question considering the Florida senator’s oft-stated aversion to business handouts.  Rubio responded with:

“I’m ready to get rid of the loan program for sugar, as long as the countries that export sugar into the U.S. get rid of theirs as well, and here’s why: Otherwise, Brazil will wipe out our agriculture and it’s not just sugar.”

“I’m prepared to say, absolutely, we should change the law so that as soon as countries get rid of theirs, we get rid of ours, and then there will be a free market for being able to sell food. Otherwise these other countries will capture the market share, our agricultural capacity will be developed into real estate, you know, housing and so forth, and then we lose the capacity to produce our own food, at which point we’re at the mercy of a foreign country for food security.”

Unfortunately, Rubio’s answer either revealed impressive ignorance on his part about basic economics, a crony capitalist streak within the Florida senator that he would rather have kept hidden, or perhaps both.

Missed by Rubio is that there’s no such thing as and no need for “food security,” “energy security,” and least of all “sugar security.” If the U.S. were utterly bereft of not just arable land, but also literally had no natural oil resources in any of its fifty states, its citizenry would and could still consume both food and fuel with ease, and as though it had been sourced in Iowa and Texas.

Of greater importance, the U.S. could be at war and embargoed by every food, fuel and sugar-producing nation on earth, yet its citizens would still be able to consume all three as though they originated in Iowa, Texas and Florida.  That is so given the simple truth that there’s no accounting for the final destination of any market good.

Assuming once again war and embargo circumstances with countries long on food, fuel and sugar, we could simply buy all three from those they have sold to.

Read the rest here.

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