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

Blog Post | Budget, Tax

Senate Budget Debate Shows Bipartisan Support for Closing Offshore Tax Loopholes | Jenny Levin

A bipartisan group of senators agree that closing offshore tax loopholes, which allow large profitable companies to dodge billions in taxes, needs to be part of the budget.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Budget

Baltimore Receives a Grade of “B+” for Spending Transparency

Baltimore received a grade of “B+” for spending transparency, according to a new report released today by Maryland PIRG. The report reviews Baltimore’s progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

 

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Report | Maryland PIRG | Budget

Transparency in City Spending

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness, and promotes greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility.

 

 

 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Food

POULTRY INDUSTRY AND USDA WANTS TO PUT DANGEROUS CHICKEN ON YOUR PLATES. | Jenny Levin

The new USDA proposed poultry inspection rule is being hailed as a commonsense, cost-saving rule by OIRA and of course the poultry industry.  It will purportedly streamline antiquated poultry inspection requirements, allowing companies to choose a more flexible approach with five-year savings apparently in excess of $1 billion. But in reality the proposed rule might actually put more dangerous chicken on your plate. 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Budget

Small Farmers and Citizens Speak Out Against Agricultural Subsidies in Farm Bill

Small farmers and ordinary citizens across the country are taking a stand against wasteful agricultural subsidies in the federal Farm Bill. With only a few weeks left before they adjourn for the election, reauthorizing or extending the Farm Bill is one of Congress’s top priorities.

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News Release | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

Senator Carl Levin Introduces Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act

The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act is a timely and critically important proposal that seeks to stem flight of capital from this country. The bill will force open and honest accounting of profits. It will put an end to the price and profit shifting that allows companies to engage in such pervasive tax avoidance.

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News Release | Budget, Tax

Off-Shore Tax Havens Cost Maryland Taxpayers $470 a Year

Maryland taxpayers gathered at a Baltimore Bank of America branch on Monday to show their support for closing loopholes that allow 83 of the 100 largest corporations in America to avoid an estimated $100 billion a year in taxes by hiding their profits overseas.

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News Release | Budget, Financial Reform

Maryland Earns “C” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Maryland got a “C” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to "Following the Money 2011: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data," the second annual report of its kind by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (Maryland PIRG).

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News Release | Budget, Tax

Unlikely Allies Uncover Billions in Federal Government Savings

As a federal commission continues to debate recommendations for addressing future federal deficits, a new study released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provides the panel with a great place to start: more than $600 billion of spending cuts with appeal across the political spectrum.

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News Release | Food

Recipe for Disaster

Last month’s nationwide recall of half a billion eggs was just one of more than 85 recalls involving 153 food companies since July 2009.  During this time, the U.S. Senate has failed to pass needed protections, according to “Recipe for Disaster,” a study released today by Maryland PIRG, Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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Report | Budget

Toward Common Ground

Our nation faces unprecedented fiscal challenges, as the commitments we’ve made now and into the future far outpace our fiscal capacity. Congress, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and citizens across the country must grapple with very difficult decisions about how we can put our fiscal house in order.

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Recipe for Disaster

The recall of more than 500 million eggs from two Iowa egg farms is the largest but not the last of 85 recalls that have taken place in the year since food safety reform moved to the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act (H.R. 2749) on July 30, 2009. However, the Senate’s version of the bill – the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) – has languished while waiting for time on the Senate’s floor schedule.

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Report | Budget, Tax

Tax Shell Game (2010)

The IRS estimates that individuals and corporations currently hold $5 trillion in tax haven countries and asserts that the United States is responsible for a large portion of these assets.

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Report | Budget

Following the Money

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Spending transparency checks corruption, bolsters public confidence in government, and promotes fiscal responsibility.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Budget, Financial Reform, Transportation

Greasing the Wheels

In the wake of the Minnesota I-35 bridge collapse there was enormous public outcry and recognition of the need to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Americans expected public officials to respond to the tragedy with a large scale effort to address the nearly 73,000 structurally deficient bridges in this country. The findings in this report suggest that did not happen.

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You Can Help

We have a chance to cut billions in junk food subsidies this year. Your support will help us do the research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to convince our elected officials to act.

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