Loading...
BYH to the city Public Works department for paying for an expensive public input session on sidewalks and not telling...

Congress must reform unfair U.S. sugar regulations

Billy Sewell

Billy Sewell

Loading…

Monday, July 9, 2018

Like so many of you, I have been a small business owner for 22 years here in our community. The opportunity to invest and create businesses that provide quality products and experiences to area residents consistently reminds me of how fortunate our family has been to continue to have the faith and support of fellow community members.

As an entrepreneur, my goal has always been to maintain the family feel to our businesses and in particular, our Golden Corral franchises that are always known to bring families together, in the community, to enjoy a wonderful meal.

As you can imagine, our group of restaurants purchases a lot of food products and ingredients. It is by virtue of this experience that I first learned about the U.S. sugar program and its impact on small businesses like ours.

The U.S. sugar program dates all the way back to the Great Depression. Today, it is a complicated maze of price supports, quotas, government guarantees, and market allocations that raise the price of domestic sugar. And if you are like me, the first time you hear "market allocations," you ask yourself, "What the heck is that?"

In short, it means the government dictates to sugar farms what they can grow, how much they can grow, and how much they can sell. The result of the program is the price of sugar produced in the U.S. today is twice as high as the global average.

Who benefits from this? Not my restaurants. Not food manufacturers. Not bakeries. Not consumers. Not any business that uses sugar as an ingredient. Only sugar processors who get a higher price for their production and are shielded from foreign competition.

In fact, most of the benefits go to 13 mega-processors in a handful of states, which have been enriching themselves for decades with government support at the expense of the rest of us. Latest estimates put the direct cost to American consumers at somewhere between $2.4 and $4 billion per year.

For businesses like mine, having to pay more than our competitors abroad is a disadvantage. It means fewer resources to invest in our operations, in our employees, and in our communities. And the plain facts are these: The U.S. uses more sugar than it produces, but the sugar program further restricts our ability to import an adequate supply of sugar, protecting mega-processors from competition. This means that while businesses like mine are getting hurt, the sugar processors are getting protections.

The good news is that our representatives in Congress have an opportunity to finally modernize this program. The Sugar Policy Modernization Act (S. 2086) introduced by bipartisan leaders will modestly reform our country's sugar policy so that the sugar shakedown baked into every food, snack, and treat we eat is no longer a problem for everyone. I am proud that Rep. Virginia Foxx from the Tarheel State was the lead champion in the U.S. House of Representatives.

And now it is time for Sens. Burr and Tillis to step up and support this legislation. This month in Congress, they will likely get that opportunity as the Farm Bill comes up for a vote. I hope Sen. Burr and Sen. Tillis build on the existing bipartisan support for this legislation; modernizing a program that has not been touched in 80 years is common sense.

More broadly, North Carolina has been my home for decades — it's a place where I want to keep growing this business. Until the U.S. sugar program is reformed, however, North Carolina’s food manufacturing small businesses and workers will continue to suffer.

It’s time for Congress to say yes to fairness, yes to competition, and yes to protecting and creating American jobs.

Billy Sewell is the owner of Platinum Corral, owning and operating 10 Golden Corral restaurants throughout the state of North Carolina.

Note: Versions of the 2018 Farm Act have been approved by the U.S. House and Senate. Differences in the two, including differences on sugar reforms, are to be reconciled later this summer, according to reports from the Washington Post.

. But the bill faces challenges when lawmakers meet later this summer to reconcile gaping differences between the House and Senate bills.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

May 19, 2019

The Washington Post

The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has said she does not think anyone would argue that the perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre should have been able to livestream mass murder. Maybe that question elicits something close to unanimity — but in trying to…

May 19, 2019

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, adding his voice to calls to "break up" the social media giant, calls it a "powerful monopoly, eclipsing all of its rivals and erasing competition." In recent years, we've seen similar claims, and heard demands for similar remedies, aimed at Google, Amazon, and…

Knapp

May 19, 2019

With a competent president in the White House, the escalating confrontation with Iran would not rise to the level of crisis. With President Trump calling the shots, we should be afraid. Very afraid.

A rational president, of course, would not have abandoned the landmark deal that halted Iran's…

Eugene Robinson

May 18, 2019

I’ve been watching the emerging election for North Carolina’s Senate seat and wonder if we are seeing symptoms of a larger trend. Our traditional tribalism — Republicans and Democrats — has morphed into contentious sub-tribes within each party. Instead of a sure re-…

Tom Campbell.jpg

May 17, 2019

Tom McCuin served two tours as an Army public affairs officer in Afghanistan and worked closely with local nationals hired by American forces.

"They were not only our language interpreters, they were our cultural interpreters," McCuin wrote on clearancejobs.com, a site that lists openings for…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

May 16, 2019

Congressional elections in odd-numbered years? Odd is certainly one way to describe what many North Carolinians are experiencing right now. But in some ways, the special elections of 2019 are confirming rather than breaking the political rules.

Those elections are in the 3rd District, which spans…

john hood.jpg

May 15, 2019

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University Richard Vedder's new book, "Restoring the Promise," published by the Independent Institute based in Oakland, California, is about the crisis in higher education. He summarizes the three major problems faced by America's colleges and…

Walter Williams

May 14, 2019

We were hopeful that this would be the year North Carolina changed the way it does redistricting for congressional and General Assembly seats. After all, we’ve been slapped by the courts so many times we’ve lost count. Our record is so bad that the U.S. Supreme Court, which has long…

May 14, 2019

Amid the hoopla surrounding educational inputs in North Carolina, it's nice to hear some state lawmakers focusing attention on educational outcomes.

A couple of outcome-focused bills caught this observer's attention last week. Those bills attracted far less scrutiny from reporters and pundits than…

Mitch Kokai

May 14, 2019

On May 7, voters in Denver, Colorado narrowly approved a measure de-criminalizing "magic mushrooms" — mushrooms containing the consciousness-altering compound psilocybin. The measure, National Public Radio reports, "effectively bars the city from prosecuting or arresting adults 21 or older…

Knapp
256 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 26
        Next Page»   Last Page»