Nader takes shots at first lady’s health initiatives

Michelle Fields Contributor
Font Size:

Although the White House has been vocal about its childhood obesity concerns, a new report released this week shows that billions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year in federal subsidies to support food additives associated with unhealthy food.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the report found that billions of dollars are spent in federal subsidies for commodity crops. Much of these tax dollars are used to support corn, the key ingredient in the often demonized ingredient high fructose corn syrup.

Issued by left-wing activist Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the report shows contradictions between President Obama’s public policy and his own household rules: The first lady does not allow her children to eat any foods made with the corn sweetener.

Nader has been an increasingly vocal critic of the president, most recently proposing assembling a large group of Democratic candidates to challenge the president’s re-election.

The report from CALPIRG (Public Interest Research Group) and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that the United States  is currently spending enough tax dollars for each American taxpayer to buy 19 twinkies per year. On the other hand, federal subsidies for produce won’t cover a single apple per taxpayer each year.

Federal taxes paid by San Franciscans translate to more than $2.76 million each year in subsidies for junk food, but less than $42,000 annually on subsidies for apples.

“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. (RELATED: Nader proposes new model to challenge Obama, threatens to throw primary process into chaos)

High fructose corn syrup has become a controversial ingredient since its introduction into the packaged food supply, after a 1977 trade and tariff law dramatically increased the cost of sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beets.

The average U.S. cost of sucrose — table sugar — is approximately twice the global average. High fructose corn syrup prices are kept artificially low through a system of government subsidies paid to American corn growers.

Follow Michelle on Twitter