Though few outside of the Beltway pay much attention to the President’s budget every year, it is a noteworthy event inside Washington, DC.
Yes, Congress controls the purse strings and sets the nation’s budget, so the White House’s funding request for the fiscal year is largely symbolic. But this proposal signals the administration’s priorities and spotlights spending cuts that the President would embrace.
More importantly, it provides a glimpse into the government’s budget estimates for upcoming years. It’s similar to the work by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), only these estimates are generated by individual agencies and the Office of Management and Budget.
When it comes to sugar policy, the President’s budget may seem especially uneventful. Another year, another $0 requested. But to sugar farmers, the decades of monotony is a point of pride because it shows that sugar policy is working as designed.
Sugar has racked up an impressive string of zeroes in the cost column over the years – actually coming in $634 million below CBO cost estimates since 2008.
And this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it expected that no-cost trend to continue. The USDA officially posted online all the details of its long-term budget projections, and that document extended sugar policy’s no-cost forecast through 2026.
That would make sugar the least expensive commodity policy in the Farm Bill, and we think that’s noteworthy, indeed.