What 8 cents a year buys you

Published online: Mar 08, 2014
Farm policy accounts for just one-quarter of 1 percent of overall federal spending. It came in under budget during the 2008 farm bill. And the new farm bill promises to cut even more.
 
And as the cheapest of all major commodity policies, sugar’s share of this relatively insignificant budget footprint is almost non-existent.
 
Here’s a closer look at sugar-related spending over the past decade. It should be noted, that the only expense since Fiscal Year 2003 was a direct result of subsidized Mexican sugar that flooded the U.S. market.
 
Sugar Policy Cost to Taxpayers
 
FY'03: $0 FY'09: $0
FY'04: $0 FY'10: $0
FY'05: $0 FY'11: $0
FY'06: $0 FY'12: $0
FY'07: $0 FY'13: $278m
FY'08: $0  
 
Put another way, sugar policy has cost each American just 8 pennies per year over the past decade. In return, Americans received an inexpensive supply of a homegrown ingredient that is key to the food supply.
 
That’s a heck of a return on investment, especially since sugar policy underpins 142,000 U.S. jobs and $20 billion a year in economic activity.
 
No wonder Big Candy’s multi-million-dollar lobbying effort to gut sugar policy failed in each of the five recorded sugar policy votes during the farm bill debate.