The Big Candy lobby and others who want to outsource U.S. sugar production and U.S. sugar jobs have publicly decried U.S. sugar policy because of its cost to taxpayers.
Sugar critics base this talking point on a one-year anomaly. But is sugar policy really a drain on U.S. taxpayers?
Not according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Congressional Budget Office, or the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute – all of which agree that sugar policy will cost $0 over the life of the current farm bill.
2014 Farm Bill Sugar Policy Cost Projection
Sugar policy operates at no cost because U.S. sugar producers do not receive subsidy checks. Instead, they receive operating loans that are repaid with interest. In fact, sugar policy’s performance since the 2002 Farm Bill has made it, by far, the least expensive component of farm policy.
It cost exactly $0 in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014.
So why all the confusion? Because there was a cost in 2013 after Mexico dumped record amounts of subsidized sugar onto the U.S. market. The dumping and subsidies injured U.S. producers and made it hard for them to repay loans with interest. As a result, Mexico’s actions ended up costing U.S. taxpayers $278 million.
The U.S. government stopped Mexico’s abuse of U.S. trade laws and returned sugar policy to its no-cost status. But the candy lobby is hoping to upend the U.S. government’s work, and it wants to help Mexico again violate U.S. law and incur U.S. taxpayer cost.
Seems like confectioners really don’t care about taxpayer cost; just about getting mountains of heavily subsidized sugar from abroad.
The bottom line: Big Candy is complaining for the sake of complaining. U.S. sugar policy is working as Congress intended, and the 2014 Farm Bill should not be re-opened during the Appropriations process to gut it.
Vote no on all anti-sugar amendments during the appropriations process.