The New York Times has an illuminating dispatch, well-timed to Halloween, about the federal sugar program, which the paper describes as "a combination of import restrictions, production quotas and loan programs dating to the 1930s, all designed to keep the price of American sugar well above that of the world market."
"Opponents of the program say they hope that the $300 million the federal government will spend this year to buy excess sugar will prompt lawmakers to re-examine it," the Times reports.
The news that the federal government spends $300 million a year buying sugar so that it is more expensive for consumers (and thus more profitable for domestic sugar manufacturers) seems pretty outrageous. Candy makers are responding by moving manufacturing work overseas, to where sugar is cheaper, and then importing the finished goods back to America. So a program originally intended to save American jobs winds up costing American jobs, a fine example of the law of unintended consequences that so often applies to costly government programs.