Sugar Industry Getting a Sweet Deal From Uncle Sugar

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The Wall Street Journal reports today that three giant sugar companies received more than half of all sugar loans in the past year. But there’s trouble brewing:

Disclosure of the loan recipients comes as domestic sugar prices are trading around four-year lows, raising concerns that some processors—who turn sugar cane or sugar beets into the sweetener—may not be able to repay what they owe.

….During the past nine years, the government has lent $8.8 billion to sugar processors. The 2012 loans were granted with an interest rate of 1.125% to 1.250%, depending on the month in which they were issued….In case of a default, a processor would pay the government back in sugar rather than cash; the sugar is then typically sold by the USDA at a loss.

I’ll bet college students wish they could get a deal like that. Instead they’ll soon be getting their loans at 6.8 percent—with no allowance whatsoever for default until the day they die, let alone the possibility of repaying the government in used textbooks or something. Let us all now take a moment to marvel at our national priorities.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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