by Kris Pitcher
It's tax season and while you're thinking about that shoe box where you "file" your receipts I thought I'd throw a little tax information out there. Did you know that your U.S. taxes subsidize the food industry?
But not all foods are created equal when it comes to getting help from the government. According to Thomas Kostigen, author of The Big Handout, the average U.S. household contributes about $1,500 in taxes annually to food subsidies.
Wheat is a close second with a $32.4 billion dollar subsidy over a 15 year period (1995-2010). Soybeans, one of the most highly genetically modified crop in the U.S. (91% according to the Institute for Responsible Technology) was subsidized at the tune of $24.3 billion.
But the big kicker is that over a fifteen year period vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli and lettuce...zero. Zero. In 15 years. Tobacco even got a $1.1 billion dollar allowance (thanks for your help btw). There was some reported subsidy for the apple industry at $262 million, for blueberries at $207, 659. Blueberries got just about $13,843 per year. I'm not sure how that would even help one farmer?
So, if your money is where your mouth is...we certainly can't vote with our shopping cart. It doesn't work that way. You've got to let your representatives know you'd like to support lettuce instead of corn. If that is the case. I guess I just never thought about how my taxes were supporting the food industry.
When I think about it, and about the way I eat...it's pretty much backwards. We're spending the most on the things that make us fat. We're making corn syrup. Meanwhile, we're spending the least on vegetables. They aren't stable. We can't get them to the table fast enough etc. But what if we at least tried?
Becoming aware of how you eat, how you spend, where you shop, whether you support your local growers and markets - and how your tax dollars are allocated make you a more informed consumer. Nutrition is all about choices. Vote with your voice. Looking for something to do? Call your Congress Person. Your taxes are on the table.