David Poppe's article in the October issue of Florida Trend, "Sweet Talk," presented an inexplicable paradox. If we do not give out welfare and other entitlements to individuals without first determining their financial need, how can the government conceivably suggest that it is in the public's best interest to subsidize sugar prices when they have no idea of the financial need of that industry?
Reform of our government's farm subsidy policies is imperative. The alarming history of federal largess, for the benefit of not only individuals but also business and industry, must cease if government aspires to regain the confidence of the governed.
Robert D. Wille
Bob's candy left a sour taste in my mouth. We won't be buying it anymore. After reading "Sweet Talk" I realized how Bob, Hershey's and other large sugar users want to make more money, buy sugar for less than it costs to produce, thus make the candy a fraction of a penny cheaper and since Bob, Hershey's, etc. can't lower the price 1/2 penny -- Bob keeps the change.
Regarding the sugar policy, David Poppe appropriately asks, "What are the economics?" Under the Republican reform proposal there will be:
a free domestic market, thus the market and not the government will determine the price,
a trade policy that will continue to allow 14% of U.S. consumption to come from abroad, while preventing dump prices from devastating the U.S. industry,
GATT Plus Provision to encourage more access to the U.S. market by other countries, and a lowering of subsidies abroad, and
no cost to taxpayers.
That is a thoughtful policy, not a campaign slogan. With the exception of Congressman Dan Miller, Republicans are delivering on their promise to make government and the market more efficient and, yes, help me to keep my change.
Carlos M. Arruza
Interesting article on "no cost" federal sugar subsidies in the October issue. Here's an idea. Do what the bankers do! Needing to know how various industries are doing in terms of profits and so forth (an annual effort through their trade group, Robert Morris Associates), they share non-identifiable summarized financial information originally provided by their borrowers. RMA then aggregates the numbers by SIC code to develop an average for the industry in question.
Perhaps a bright congressperson would demand that the IRS prepare a similar financial study for the sugar industry's SIC Code (0133 is Agriculture-Production-Crops Sugarcane and Sugar Beets). Of course, those pesky special tax breaks and tax accounting gimmicks for depreciation, etc., would have to be converted into GAAP accounting (which would cost a little extra for C.P.A. time). And remember, Commissioner, no company names because that would probably be illegal. Of course, it might be better, faster and cheaper just to obtain the industry's average numbers from RMA's most recent annual publication known as "Statement Studies."
With this information our government could initiate and justify legislative work meant to temper the far-reaching cost impact on the consumer of this uncooperative oligarchy known as Big Sugar.
Robert D. Cowman
Orlando's story in your November issue has one incorrect comment (by Jim Bacchus). Orlando is a city built on a continuing strong public/private leadership partnership. Jim Bacchus was not active early on but I assure you Mayor Carl Langford was a very dynamic leader and many of the areas Bill Frederick and Glenda Hood excel in -- Carl Langford started them.
We have a history of good mayors that remain in office. Carl Langford deserves credit for being a leader.
Jerry Chicone, Jr.
MONEY TALKS IN BROWARD
I read with interest David Poppe's article, "Money Talks in Broward," in the September issue. The article decries the huge countywide school districts set up under the Florida constitution. I, too, share the author's concern that these huge districts are unresponsive to parents and the communities they are intended to serve. Our research indicates there are no economies of scale when districts get larger than 50,000 students. When there are over 50,000 students, administrative costs go up significantly and there is less money for the classroom.
In the last legislative session, I sponsored a bill which would place on the ballot a constitutional amendment to allow voters in the large school districts to decide whether or not to break up their countywide school districts in favor of smaller districts. While the bill got many favorable responses, in the end it was defeated in committee by the same institutional forces which Poppe described in his article; groups who benefit from the huge bureaucracies which feed on the big county school systems.
I intend to pursue the same legislation in the next session. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the bill may contact my legislative office at (407) 223-5010. I would also be delighted to come and speak to any groups interested in pursuing or supporting this reform.
District 82, Stuart