How taxpayers chip in to make Twinkies
Corn- and soy-based snack-food ingredients receive nearly 30 times more subsidies than apples. Critics say that's throwing off the nation's nutritional balance.
According to a new study released by the federation of U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, or U.S. PIRG, the federal government has spent $19.2 billion subsidizing junk food ingredients since 1995.
By comparison, it has spent just $689 million on apples, which are the only fruit or vegetable to receive a substantial government subsidy.
If all that cash were given directly to the American people, the subsidy on junk food ingredients would be enough to buy each American 20 Twinkies a year -- or 52 billion Twinkies since 1995. Do the same thing with the apple subsidy, and each American would only get half an apple.
So, how is the government subsidizing smaller, staler, less labor-intensive Twinkies? According to the study, taxpayers chip in for at least 17 of the 37 ingredients in a Twinkie, including corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable shortening and corn starch. Taxpayers spent $8.1 billion of the $844 billion in corn subsidies since 1995 on similar corn-based sweeteners, while soy-based products typically labeled "vegetable" shortening or oil accounted for $11.1 billion during the same period.
While it's ultimately a consumer's choice whether to accept the negative health and obesity implications of downing all that artificial sweetener, U.S. PIRG says the subsidy imbalance stacks the deck for the snack-food aisle. That's no small detail when the House of Representatives is voting on a farm bill that's looking to both trim subsidies and separate food stamps and their nutritional requirements from the bill altogether.
U.S. PIRG has lobbied for a "no" vote on the bill, and President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the House version if it reaches his desk. Each says the implications for American hunger, nutrition and health care costs are too great to dismiss.
But, hey, at least Twinkies are back no matter how this turns out, right?
Our Congress at work, giving out corporate welfare again and again while complaining about welfare for the poor. Too bad the poor cannot lobby Congress to get their fair share.
The Republicans can blame Obama for all the national debt but the Republican law makers fingerprints are all over the bills creating this corporate welfare that does not go for the American tax payer. Subsidizing the very thing that ruins American's health does not seem to be a worthy cause.
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