Free Market Sugar

Free Market Sugar

by Kenli Schoolland
 

There is sugar in your candies, cookies, drinks, cereal and most other foods you eat. It is even in some toothpaste and medicine. If the United States would support a free market, then the prices of imported goods such as sugar would go way down. The free market means buying or trading goods with whomever you want, without regulations or taxes on your goods. I am going to show you how the free market would help us, using the example of sugar.

The price of sugar in the United States is about 22 cents per pound, but in the Philippines it is only about 7 cents per pound. That is almost one third of the price of sugar in America! Suppose, you have 3 dollars, and you want to buy some sugar. Do you want to spend 3 dollars or 1 dollar for the same amount? If you spend the 1 dollar, you have 2 dollars left over to buy other things.

The only problem is, the government won't allow it. It is a crime to buy more than a regulated amount from outside the United States. You can be sent to jail and called a smuggler if you bring in too much sugar. Some people say that if we are allowed to buy sugar from outside the United States, then all of the money will leave America. But actually, if we spent the 1 dollar out of the United States, then we would have 2 dollars to spend on other American goods.

Yes, I know that the precious 1 dollar left the country, but is that really so bad? The government sends billions of dollars in foreign aid, to countries like the Philippines, every year. If the Filipinos could earn a dollar selling sugar to us, then maybe they wouldn't need a dollar of our aid. This could help end poverty in the Philippines. In any case, they could spend that dollar back to America, to buy farming tools to help them develop.

Did you know that some farmers, who can't profit by selling legal products, such as sugar, switch to selling illegal products, such as drugs. If those farmers could profit from legal products, they might not risk their lives in the drug industry.

Why does the government want the prices so high? Well, I don't know, but stopping us from buying from other countries is not enough. They even pay farmers to destroy crops!

All of this hurts us, the consumers who have to pay higher prices, and us, the taxpayers, who have to pay higher taxes. I plan to write letters to our lawmakers and urge them to change this harmful policy. Please help me.

Kenli Schoolland is a 7th grade student at Punahou School, and the daughter of well-known free market author and professor of economics at Hawaii Pacific University Ken Schoolland.