by Myles Watts, Anton Bekkerman
American Enterprise Institute
July 14, 2011
This paper examines the structure and cost of the federal government’s primary program to support farmers who lose crops from natural disasters, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) program. Unfortunately, the SURE program is the budgetary and economic-efficiency elephant in the disaster aid policy room. This paper finds that: Farmers who do not suffer from “disasters” are actually eligible for disaster aid, given that the definition of “disaster” is so loose that virtually any drop in crop production triggers aid; additionally, the SURE program costs taxpayers billions of dollars, nearly five times what it was estimated to cost when approved by Congress; and that, ideally, Congress should repeal the program entirely.