Food Fight: Taxpayers Fork Out to Fight Impact of Programs They Subsidize

Eric Scheiner
By Eric Scheiner | July 27, 2012 | 9:06 AM EDT

There’s a food fight going on in Washington and it’s eating up taxpayer money.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group held a conference in Washington on Wednesday criticizing the 277 billion dollars in agricultural subsidies that the government has spent over 16 years. The group claims it’s a conscious policy to support commodity crops that are likely to be processed into junk food additives.

Their latest report ‘Apples to Twinkies’ claims 18.2 billion in taxpayer dollars has been spent since 1995 just on subsidizing 4 common junk food additives: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils. These additives are found in a variety of items from Twinkies to soda.

While taxpayers are forking out money for junk food additives, they are also helping to serve up costly government efforts to fight obesity. Earlier this year Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) was criticizing the spending of $230 million dollars in stimulus cash to promote efforts to fight off the impact of fatty foods.

During an appearance on Fox Business Channel on March 14th, Whitfield said millions in taxpayers funds were being used to lobby lawmakers to focus their efforts on anti-obesity legislation, “To give you another example, the city of Los Angeles received 16 million dollars and some of that money was used to lobby to prohibit the building of fast food restaurants in certain sections of Los Angeles.”

If taxpayers haven’t given enough salad yet, consider the logic of lawmakers like Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) who says , “One of the things we ought to consider is a soda tax.” Soda is available at a low cost, because Americans subsidize the high fructose corn syrup it contains.

Billions in agricultural subsidies, millions in fighting obesity and even more money possibly gathered from taxes on the products taxpayers subsidize. Perhaps it’s time to fight obese government spending instead?

Eric Scheiner
Eric Scheiner
Eric is the Senior Video Producer for