Derek Hunter

What does a group scheduling an event for lawmakers and their staff that includes such groundbreaking things as “Breathing: the Core of Wellness (with demonstration)” have to do with big sugar? Well, Washington is the home of strange bedfellows, and money makes the strangest bedfellows of all.

The sugar lobby has an interest in attacking any alternative to the sweetheart deal, so to speak, it has with government. That deal comes in the form of federal government support that artificially keep sugar prices high – 41 percent higher than in the rest of the world, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Why are consumers paying out of their own pockets to support the sugar industry, especially when we are facing an obesity problem in this country? The answer is simple – money.

Sugar spends millions every year not just to lobby Congress, but to support groups with friendly sounding names such as Citizens for Health to endear themselves to as many avenues as possible to influence policy and public opinion.

There’s nothing wrong with lobbying, even though it’s become a dirty word in American politics. A lobbyist, used in the pejorative form, is simply someone who advocates for something with which the person using the word disagrees. We’re guaranteed in the Constitution the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. The problem is with government itself.

Our government has gotten so big, has its fingers in so many pies and spends so much of our money that even a crumb from the crust of that pie can be worth billions. So you get a group allegedly interested in health (well, as much health as “Reflexology,” the belief that pressure points in feet are the key to wellness, can offer) would involve itself in extolling the virtues of sugar.

There’s nothing wrong with sugar by itself. The problem comes when producers, who aren’t going broke, become as addicted to trade protection and government-guaranteed high prices as some people have become to their product – and we, the consumer, ends up with bills from both ends.

As for Turner’s sweetheart deal with sugar, he told Bloomberg, “If a marketplace player is willing to support advancing the consumer interest, it’s really important to work with them.” Of course, massive government programs do nothing but distort that marketplace, so…

So while members of Congress are taking the Wellness Expo’s Master of Ceremonies’ advice and “grounding” around their lawns barefoot (twice a day to start), let’s hope they’re wondering why they’re making you, the consumer, pay, even indirectly, for this crackpot advice. Then again, their campaign fund most likely gets a crumb of two of the “sugar subsidy” pie, so it probably won’t matter too much anyway.


Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.