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Of the $113.6 billion in commodity subsidy payments doled out by the USDA between 1995 and 2004, corn drew $41.8 billion -- more than cotton, soy, and rice combined. By contrast, apples and sugar beets, the only other fruit or vegetable crops that draw federal subsidies, received $611 million over the same period.
"We're spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care."
Because so many more farmers grow corn instead of other crops because the governments gives so much in subsidies to corn growers.
I disagree with sustainable-food activists who claim that subsidies are the root of our food-system problems. Take them away, I've argued more than once, and you'd still have a food system that mainly produces junk churned out by a few big companies. Plus, rather than campaigning to end subsidies, I think we should be pushing to redirect them to more useful purposes: like rebuilding local and regional food infrastructure.