May 27, 2018
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Sugar is sugar

From wire reports

The makers of high-fructose corn syrup would understandably like to change the image of their product, which has gained a reputation as the trans fat of the sugar world. In fact, as sales sink, they’d prefer a name change altogether — to corn sugar — and have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to use it on food labels.

The liquid sweetener is a natural food, a Corn Refiners Association advertising campaign claims, and nutritionally the same as any other sugar. The makers of table sugar — the granulated or powdered substance made from beets and sugar cane — will be in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in an effort to stifle that campaign, but they’re making too much of minor differences.

True, high-fructose corn syrup requires more processing than the familiar table sugar, using enzymes to derive the sugar from corn starch, but both undergo some processing. More important, when it comes to how the human body metabolizes glucose, fructose, sucrose and the like, dietitians say the corn refiners have it mostly right: Sugar is sugar. It’s a source of empty calories; one isn’t more healthful than another, and Americans consume too much of it, period.

Los Angeles Times (Sept. 15)

Another bailout

Through the past few years, Americans have developed a hardened attitude about bailouts.

Now it is likely taxpayers will be on the hook for at least one more big one: The United States Postal Service is telling Congress it may have to end delivery by August of next year unless something is done about its expenses.

Like most bailouts, this one comes with a stark choice: Make the bailout or suffer a major economic loss. Congress likely will help the Postal Service, but it should do so by reforming the way the agency does business.

Granted, some of the Postal Service mess has little to do with policies of Congress or the agency itself. The Great Recession and the housing market collapse hit the postal industry hard. With business and credit offerings down, businesses stopped mailing as many solicitations.

President Barack Obama has suggested delaying the $5.5 billion payment for 90 days beyond the Sept. 30 deadline, but Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the gesture won’t help. The Postal Service usually only has one week’s worth of cash, and it is approaching its $15 billion borrowing limit.

Despite much criticism aimed at Postal Service efficiency, U.S. Mail delivery remains a popular service. The nation obviously still needs a postal system. But times have changed, and Congress and the Postal Service must adapt to the changes.

The News Journal, Daytona, Fla. (Sept. 15)

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