Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Tax Dollars Hard at Work: Twinkies Instead of Apples

The conversation about creating a healthier food supply is a complex discussion that involves trillions of dollars and dozens of industries and special interest groups. Our current system is expensive and costs taxpayers bundles, whether it be to pay for the primary and secondary health consequences of awful foodstuffs or subsidize the ingredients that constitute these concoctions.

The latter was the subject of a report ("Apples to Twinkies") released yesterday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization.

Here's the start of the group's press release announcing the study, which details the derailment of our federal agricultural policy:

"Federal subsidies for commodity crops are also subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 19 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to Apples to Twinkies, a new report by U.S. PIRG. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy less than a quarter of an apple per taxpayer.

"'At a time when childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing, it’s absurd that we’re spending billions of taxpayer dollars to make the problem worse,' said U.S. PIRG Policy Analyst Mike Russo. 'It’s absurd that junk food is subsidized by taxpayers, while fresh fruits and vegetables barely get a bite at the apple.'

"Between 1995 and 2010, American taxpayers spent over $260 billion in agricultural subsidies. Most subsidies went to the country’s largest farming operations, mainly to grow just a few commodity crops, including corn and soybeans. Among other uses, food manufacturers process these crops into additives like high fructose corn syrup and vegetable oils that provide a cheap dose of sweetness and fat to a wide variety of junk food products."
Click here to read a summary of the report.

Click here to read the entire study.

No comments: