The Corner

Re: Sweet Deal

From a reader:

Jonah,

You say, “A lot depends on the details, but I think the buyout of U.S. Sugar is a great idea.”

What is great about Florida spending $1.75 *billion* taxpayer dollars to expand an already huge swamp. No wonder “the magnitude and location of the purchase left environmentalists and state officials giddy.”.

A truly “great idea” would have been to simply end the subsidies to the “biggest bunch of rent seeking corporatists out there.”. If you’re  correct about their inability to survive, they would still go out of business without the huge cost to Florida taxpayers.

Me: I hear ya. But Floridians are already being taxed to pay for restoring the Everglades. Unless this tax was imposed by an unelected judge, that decision was made democratically by those affected. Broadly speaking, Florida thinks it’s in their interest to preserve and restore the Everglades. (Personally, the Everglades represents nearly everything I can’t stand about nature — humidity, bugs, swamps, snakes and unrelenting heat. But I think it’s worth keeping around regardless for all the obvious reasons). My guess is that even on economic terms, the Everglades is more valuable to Floridians in terms of tourism etc, than U.S. Sugar is.

And I agree entirely that it would be a great idea to simply end the subsidies to U.S. Sugar — as well to pretty much the entire agricultural sector. But that’s a decision Floridians cannot make.

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