Photo by Uwe Hermann/Flickr CC
Last week the Wall Street Journal reported some bad news for Americans with a sweet tooth: the U.S. faces a sugar shortage so severe, it could "virtually run out of sugar." Big food companies like Kraft Foods Inc., General Mills Inc., Hershey Co., and Mars Inc. wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warning him of the shortage and asking him to ease trade restrictions on the commodity, which are structured to encourage companies to buy domestic sugar. What if the government doesn't drop the quota on importing foreign sugar? The companies say they'll lay off workers and raise prices on their products--from chocolate bars to breakfast cereal.
Stephen Colbert reacted to the news with his signature dramatic flair. After a Home Alone-style yelp, he ripped open a 5-pound bag of Domino sugar, and poured it over himself. "Can you imagine an America with no sugar?," he asked. "Juice would contain nothing but 10 percent juice. And we'd all be eating uncaramelized apples."
But not everyone is so alarmed about the impending sugar crisis--and some wonder if there's a crisis at all:
"Blame Uncle Sam" The Cato Institute's Daniel Griswold wrote on the libertarian think tank's blog that the shortage is the government's fault and that the US should acquiesce to the food company's request by allowing them to import more foreign sugar: "If the Obama administration wants to encourage the domestic production of sugar-containing products, it should raise the quotas as far as they can and allow American companies to buy sugar at world prices."