by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Sept 28, 2010
Cynical Cuts to Food Stamps the Definition of Cruelty; Offset Could Break Through Stalemate
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today announced that the Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that his proposal to revoke corporate tax deductions for advertising and marketing expenses aimed at selling junk food and fast food to children could provide $15-19 billion (over 10 years) for child nutrition programs. The House version of the child nutrition reauthorization requires an $8.5 billion offset over 10 years while the Senate version requires a $4.5 billion offset over 10 years. The child nutrition bill that Congress could consider tomorrow is funded by cutting food stamps.
“It is wrong to cut food stamp assistance,” said Kucinich. “In the Greater Cleveland Area there are over a quarter million people using food stamps to feed their families. We are trying to deal with a high level of unemployment, record foreclosures and poverty rates that continue to climb. It is unconscionable to speak of any reduction in food stamp assistance to the increasing number of Americans who are dependent on it for their survival.”
The number of overweight children in the U.S. would be reduced by more than 5-7% if HR 4310 were enacted into law, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of Law and Economics in 2008.
Fast food and junk food marketing to children is big business because it works. A child’s developing brain cannot tell the difference between fact and opinion and cannot yet think critically. It is no match for an industry that exploits this vulnerability by using cartoons, video games, cross-branding with popular toys, giveaways, and myriad other methods to develop brand loyalties and taste preferences as early as possible.
“Childhood obesity is directly linked to consumption of fast food and junk food, which is directly linked to their promotion in the media. We can’t address the obesity crisis without looking at those who receive multi-billion dollar tax deductions for manufacturing demand for the very foods that drive the problem,” said Kucinich. “It is cynical to steal food from families when we can save food stamps and fund anti-obesity programs at the same time.” said Kucinich.