Cost to Consumers

Cost to Consumers = High Sugar Prices

The experts agree—the costs to the American people of the U.S. sugar program are far too high. Don’t be fooled by those who claim that there are “no net costs” associated with the program.

The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that U.S. sugar policy will cost taxpayers $115 million over the next 10 years.

That is in addition to the up to $3.5 billion annually that American consumers pay in the form of a hidden tax at the grocery store.

—Congressional Budget Office, March 2015
Baseline for Farm Programs, March 9, 2015

If the current sugar program was eliminated, this country’s economy could see an increase of $514 million.

“Removal of the restrictions on imports of sugar is expected to result in an increase in U.S. [economic] welfare of $514 million.”

—U.S. International Trade Commission,
The Economic Effects of Significant U.S. Import Restraints, August 2009

According to the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), the sugar program previously cost American refiners, manufacturers and consumers approximately $2 billion each year.

“We estimate that the sugar program cost domestic sweetener users about $1.5 billion in 1996 and about $1.9 billion in 1998. Sweetener users included (1) sugarcane refiners…(2) food manufacturers…and (3) final consumers who bought sweeteners and sweetener-containing products.”

—U.S. General Accounting Office, Sugar Program:
Supporting Sugar Prices Has Increased Users’ Costs
While Benefiting Producers,
June 2000

Employing the same methodology, and using U.S. and world refined sugar prices from 2009 to the present, economists estimate the current cost to consumers is now more than $3.5 billion. 

“[The U.S. sugar] program certainly doesn’t make any sense at all for the millions of American consumers and thousands of U.S. businesses who were burdened last year alone with $4.5 billion in higher sugar costs.”

—Mark Perry, The Enterprise Blog: American
Enterprise Institute, January 2011



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