Stop Subsidizing Obesity

OUR TAX DOLLARS HELP FUEL OBESITY EPIDEMIC—Since 1995, $18 billion has been given away in subsidies to Big Agribusinesses, this money gets used to produce common junk food ingredients, like high-fructose corn syrup. These giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when one-in-three kids is overweight or obese.

PUT JUNK FOOD SUBSIDIES ON A DIET

Almost anything you can think of would be a better use of our tax dollars than subsidizing the ingredients in junk food, but every year more than a billion taxpayer dollars do just that. Huge, profitable corporations, like Cargill and Monsanto, have pocketed $18 billion in the last 16 years and turned subsidized crops into junk food ingredients — including high fructose corn syrup.

These taxpayer giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when one-in-three kids is overweight or obese, and obesity-related diseases like diabetes are turning into an epidemic.

Many of these wasteful subsidies are set to expire this year, but industry lobbyists are urging Congress to keep them. In 2008 alone, big agribusinesses spent $200 million on lobbying and campaign contributions.

No one in Congress wants to be seen standing up for taxpayer giveaways to junk food. Cutting wasteful spending while attacking childhood obesity could be the perfect storm we need to push past the junk food industry.

Obesity Quick Facts:

  • High-fructose diets impair learning and memory.
  • For each additional can of soda drunk daily, the odds of a child becoming obese increases by about 60%.
  • Childhood obesity has quadrupled in the last 40 years.
  • Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.
  • Once an adult problem, diabetes associated with obesity is increasing among children.

Issue updates

News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Food

Food Safety Scares 2013: How FDA Delays are Putting American Lives at Risk from Unsafe Food

 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) delays in implementing the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act have put Connecticut lives at risk and cost the country $22 million in economic costs, according to a new report by the ConnPIRG Education Fund.

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Food

Food Safety Scares 2013

 With millions of Americans getting sick from tainted food each year, more needs to be done to protect people from the risk of unsafe food. But important rules, standards, and inspections that could significantly improve food safety have been blocked, underfunded, or delayed, allowing the drumbeat of recalls to continue. 

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Budget

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Connecticut Taxpayer $1,965 a Year, Connecticut Small Business $5,989

With Tax Day approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. ConnPIRG released a new study today which revealed that the average Connecticut taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,965 in taxes – more per taxpayer than in any state in the country. - to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

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Report | ConnPIRG | Budget

Picking Up the Tab 2013

Some U.S.-based multinational firms and individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by using accounting tricks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes. They benefit from their access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security; but they pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Connecticut Receives a “C+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Hartford, March 27 – Connecticut received a “C+” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the ConnPIRG Education Fund.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

New Report: Connecticut Receives a “B” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Connecticut received a “B” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the third annual report of its kind by the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group (ConnPIRG).

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News Release | Food

Representative Jeff Flake Introduces REAPS Act

Statement of U.S. PIRG Federal Legislative Office Director Gary Kalman on the introduction of the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies Act.

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News Release | Food, Tax

Obama Budget Proposes Important First Cuts to Ag Subsidies

Statement of ConnPIRG Federal Public Health Advocate Elizabeth Hitchcock on the President’s proposed 2012 budget, which includes more than $1 billion in cuts over five years to agriculture subsidies that are achieved by reducing the cap on Department of Agriculture direct payments and tightening eligibility standards.

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News Release | Food

Cutting Ag Subsidies Key to Implementing USDA's Dietary Recommendations

Statement of Elizabeth Hitchcock, ConnPIRG's Federal Public Health Advocate on the USDA’s announcement of new Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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Media Hit | Food

Food Safety News: USDA Unveils New School Lunch Standards

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday unveiled proposed nutritional standards for meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the first major upgrade to nutritional requirements in 15 years. The tougher standards are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, recently signed into law by President Obama, that aims to reduce both childhood hunger and obesity.

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Report | U.S. Public Interest Research Group and National Taxpayers Union | Budget

Toward Common Ground

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayers Union and ConnPIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction measures. This report documents our findings.

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Report | Budget

Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and National Taxpayers Union (NTU) have joined together to propose a list of 30 specific recommendations to reform our future spending commitments. If enacted in their entirety, these changes would save taxpayers over $600 billion in total by 2015, the target date for the Fiscal Commission to reduce our publicly-held debt-to- GDP ratio to a more sustainable level of 60 percent.

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PRIORITY ACTION

Each year, our tax dollars pay for enough junk food additives to buy 8.5 two-liter bottles of soda for each person under 18. Help stop the subsidies for junk food.

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