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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cherry Coke vs. the corn industry

    Our campus is blessed with the sweet nectar known as Coca-Cola. There are debates as to whether the beverage should be called “”soda”” or “”pop””; I simply call it Coke. Among the Coca-Cola Company’s many fine products, however, is a divinely inspired ambrosia commonly referred to as Cherry Coke. Yes, it may be non-alcoholic, but it is an exquisite mixer, indiscriminately intoxicating man, woman and child with its distinct and exceptional cola taste – complete with a dash of cocaine-free coca flavor – infused with the exhilarating kiss of presumably the choicest cherries.

    Despite the wonders of this elixir plundered from Eden, however, Cherry Coke is in danger and it is up to us to save it. Not only is Coca-Cola running out of polar bears as models in its commercials, but there is a terrible evil that is anathema to the American Cherry Coke: the use of corn syrup in lieu of sugar in domestic cola production.

    Yet this problem is more complicated that it would seem. Allow me to explain. There is an industry that gives millions to national politicians, is given federal protection oil can hardly dream of and whose altar has been getting government offerings for over two centuries. This industry is sugar, and it is despised by capitalists, environmentalists, the common man and nearly anyone who is not a directly-involved politician or well-connected sugar baron. Indeed, to paraphrase Def Leppard, the industry is sticky sweet in corruption from its head down to its feet.

    Over the years, Congress has propped the sugar world on its shoulders, developing a system that demands strict quotas, pseudo-subsidies and tariffs that guarantees sugar producers the sale of sugar at up to three and a half times its global market price. Put another way, every American pays a shadowy sugar tax that is slowly but steadily risingthat totals to a couple billion or so dollars annually; obnoxious, but almost loose change to the modern Congress, you might say. However, the consequences of our sugar policy span much farther than our coffers.

    First, whenever we talk about free trade, we just wind up looking plain dumb. All the other countries know that whenever we sign trade agreements we protect sugar, spitting in every other friendly capitalist nation’s eye. More than just the working precedent for further corruption and needless protection of industries, the incessant sting of a few drives global sugar producers towards further poverty by denying them receptive American consumers.

    Big Sugar – fatter in its stolen riches than any other industry – likes to take the pro-business claim that if it loses money, it will lose workers. From a devout capitalist, the industry is merely giving us artificial sweetener without caring if we realize the truth of the matter. Many other businesses are tied in with sugar, and the Commerce Department found that each sugar job saved has resulted in the loss of roughly three confectionary jobs. For instance, nearly half of Chicago’s confectionary workforce vanished like Swayze, and LifeSavers was so desperate that it moved its factory to Quebec.

    But back to my fantasy sponsor: Cherry Coke uses corn syrup because, due to the artificial price controls, the high-fructose corn ingredient becomes much cheaper than processed sugar beets or canes. Sugar was once white gold. Even Homer (Simpson) once said, “”A mountain of sugar is too much for one man. It’s clear now why God portions it out in those tiny packets.””

    Throughout the development of modern civilization, sugar has proven itself as the most desired sweetener, above honey and the rest; empires were brought to their knees and the new global system was formed on the saccharine pillars of sugar cane. In spite of this, only outside of our borders can humanity be free to drink Cherry Coke that uses sugar as its sweetener.

    Domestically, sugar plantations and refineries can wipe out the surrounding environment and be guaranteed an exorbitant profit from either the extorted American public or the government’s hemorrhaging piggy bank.

    Ultimately, even staple food prices rise due to the deadly sugar clutch. But don’t expect anything to change soon: the most influential politicians, from Barack Obama down, are also the most heavily bribed by the sugar industry, guaranteeing bittersweet Cherry Coke for at least another four years. So enjoy Diet Liberty.

    – Daniel Greenberg is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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