Sugar industry notes Cruz error on sugar ‘subsidies’
The American Sugar Alliance, which represents cane and beet growers, noted in a news release today that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had made a mistake in this week’s presidential debate when he said that he would favor eliminating sugar “subsidies” and putting the money in the defense budget.
As Politico Pro Agriculture noted after the debate, the sugar program is constructed so that it rarely costs taxpayers money, although it does set prices through controls on imports. Sugar growers are entitled to payments if prices fall below certain levels.
“Sugar policy cost taxpayers $0 in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. It’s also projected to cost $0 throughout the life of the Farm Bill, which covers 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019,” ASA said in a news release today.
“You can’t buy many tanks, fighterjets, or aircraft carriers for $0, so it’s safe to say that sacrificing U.S. sugar farmers won’t be a big boost to our military might,” ASA added.
ASA acknowledged that the Agriculture Department did have to make payments to sugar growers in 2013, but said that was due to a spike in imports from Mexico. Sugar growers charged that Mexico was subsidizing sugar and dumping it in the United States. Mexico has since agreed to limit sugar exports to the United States.
“Presidential hopefuls might also want to keep in mind that there’s a whole lot of agriculture in swing states, and they’ll never arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania by running over farmers and ranchers along the way,” ASA said in the release.
–The Hagstrom Report