Are your tax payer dollars partially responsible for the fattening of America? The California Public Interest Research Group released some alarming numbers this week in a report titled, ""Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food." They state, "from 1995-2010, $16.9 billion in federal subsidies went to producers and others in the business of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils."
"If these agricultural subsidies went directly to consumers to allow them to purchase food, each of America's 144 million taxpayers would be given $7.36 to spend on junk food and 11 cents with which to buy apples each year — enough to buy 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple apiece," CALPIRG officials said in a statement.
I don't want to get into the discussion (for the moment) about whether or not high fructose corn syrup is a bad as we've heard. In fact, the corn syrup industry has done a fine job introducing doubt (concerning corn syrups risks/benefits) into the public eye. But let's realize that the vast majority of products containing these products are not healthy. Are they incredibly bad? Some are, some probably are not. But they certainly are not health-inducing.
The politics of these subsidies is enough to make your head swirl. So let's dodge that debate and re-frame this information.
Many people have said, "If you want to know a man's priorities, watch where he spends his money." In general, this will tell you what he prioritized; fun, scholarship, television, social activities, kids activities etc. If we place this same question in the context of federal spending, is it fair to ask, "Uncle Sam- where are your priorities when it comes to food and health?" The answer is disappointing and discouraging.