Feds funding fattening foods while healthy ones get a pittance

Ever wonder why it’s cheaper to buy a box of Twinkies than a bag of apples?

Well, you can thank the feds.

Every year billions of our tax dollars go into a program that helps make sure that corn, soy and other junk food ingredients are plentiful — and cheap.

The latest farm bill “reform” calls for payouts of over $24 billion in just four years!

You’ll have to look far and wide to find a fat federal giveaway that matches that kind of generosity.

And while the CDC and the USDA pay lip service to the idea of reducing obesity, Congress is happily writing huge checks that fuel the fire of a massive junk food industry.

The fat of the land

According to a new study — coincidentally from researchers lead by a CDC team — government agricultural subsidies heavily finance the production of farm crops that provide the raw ingredients that end up as HFCS, pizza, pasta, fries, doughnuts, chips… the list goes on and on.

Your tax dollars hard at work to make sure there’s plenty of HFCS to go around.

But you can probably guess what types of crops get only a small fraction of support from this big bucks giveaway. Yep, the feds toss a pittance to the growers of vegetables, fruits, and nuts — the cornerstones of a healthy diet that the government refers to as “specialty crops.”

Meanwhile, if you’re an agribusiness giant that produces corn (especially corn), soy, rice or wheat, well then stand aside and let them back up the government money trucks.

The CDC researchers crunched dietary data taken from more than 10,000 volunteers in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The subjects were sorted into groups according to how much of their diets came from subsidized commodity crops.

And those who piled up their plates with the greatest amounts of these foods were nearly 40 percent more likely to be obese and have high blood sugar and indicators of chronic inflammation.

In other words, those dietary choices directly linked them to metabolic time bombs.

But don’t think this is a shocking new finding. The New York Times reports that four years ago, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group showed how subsidies play a hand in wrecking America’s health.

The group put it bluntly: “Taxpayers are paying for the privilege of making our country sick.”

So how can we put a stop to this program of subsidizing sickness? One CDC official told the Times, “We’re hoping that this information reaches policy makers and the people who influence how subsidies work.”

They’re hoping? I don’t think hope is what we need here! But I guess that’s what passes for action over at the CDC, where they must stay pretty busy making colorful dietary advice posters to hang in school cafeterias.

This megabucks mess is not what lawmakers of 80 years ago had in mind. The original idea behind the farm subsidies program was to keep the U.S. food supply flowing during the Great Depression. Farmers were literally in a life-or-death struggle against famine.

And they were real farmers.

Today, you’ll find “farmers” in three-piece suits who are in charge of producing the lion’s share of the commodity crops. These guys do their farming from executive suites. Most of them have never scraped the soil off their boots at the end of a long day in the fields.

But hey, who has time to do any actual farming when you’re busy counting all that government cash?

Sources:
“How the government supports your junk food habit” Anahad O’Connor, July 19, 2016, The New York Times, well.blogs.nytimes.com