When you walk into a grocery store, you have the option to buy two kinds of food: subsidized and unsubsidized. The subsidized (and usually unhealthy) foods appear to be cheaper, and thus people purchase them in order to save money. However, subsidizing the commodity crops, that make the unhealthy foods cheaper, is not how the government should be spending our tax dollars. As a result of paying taxes, we have essentially paid the government to see lower prices of the unhealthy food in the grocery store aisle. If you add up all the costs associated with the unhealthy foods, you will find that they no longer cost significantly less than their healthier and more nutritious counterparts. Commodity crops should no longer be subsidized because subsidized commodity crops are driving down the price of unhealthy foods. In order to convince people to purchase healthy food, the unhealthy food needs to sell at the price that it actually costs, not at a subsidized price.
The main reason why unhealthy foods appear to be so cheap and affordable is that the government is subsidizing the cost of the commodity crops that are used in the production of “junk food”. The most common subsidized commodity crops are “corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice” (Pollan 601). These subsidized commodity crops then make their way into the unhealthy food that is sold for little cost. After World War II, the government began to subsidize farmers for all the grains (a commodity crop) they could produce (601). Because the farmers were receiving money from the federal government, they could afford to sell their grains for less than it cost them to grow the grains (601). The government originally started the subsidies because they wanted the commodity crops to be mass-produced. The reason for this was so that there would be enough food after the war was over. The government wanted to store food in case of a food shortage. Today however, so much food is now stored that we no longer need to worry about storing even more.
One catch to farmers receiving a paycheck from the federal government is that they cannot produce “specialty” crops. Specialty crops are fruits and vegetables. This means there is no incentive for farmers to grow healthful fruits and vegetables. Farmers would rather receive payments from the government, so they stop growing their fruits and vegetables. The result is a decrease in the supply of produce, which in turn means the cost of healthy food goes up, resulting in the unhealthy food costing even less in comparison.
With the abundance of cheap grains, many companies began exploring how to use them to lower their own costs. Since corn is the most heavily subsidized crop, with $84.4 billion coming from the federal government, it is able to be sold at extremely low prices (Gad). With the abundance of cheap corn, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup have made their way into the everyday diets of many Americans. High fructose corn syrup can be produced much cheaper than...