Columnist Kathleen Parker bemoans the idea of a “government-enforced nutritional mandate” (column, 5-22) while completely ignoring a conflicting role that our government plays in making us more obese and less healthy: the fact that U.S. agriculture policy makes poor eating habits an economically sensible choice by using our tax dollars to subsidize unhealthy foods over more nutritious ones.
Government subsidies for corn and soybeans make sugars and fats some of the cheapest foods to produce, and Big Ag has used its clout in Congress to ensure that billions in taxpayer subsidies continue going to high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and other products that are tied to obesity.
For our physical and fiscal health, we must reform agricultural subsidies to reduce or eliminate the subsidies for commodity crops that artificially lower the cost of unhealthy foods; our tax dollars shouldn’t be used to subsidized foods that we know are harmful to our individual and collective health.
As Congress reviews the federal budget and reauthorizes the Farm Bill, we have the opportunity to cut these wasteful subsidies.
For more information, visit WashPIRG’s “Stop Subsidizing Obesity” page.
(Breaux is a public-interest advocate for the Washington Public Interest Research Group.)