“What does sparkly styling spray for dogs have to do with the 2012 farm bill?” asks The Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio.
“It’s among the thousands of products U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing through little-known programs that have been embedded in the farm legislation for decades and that lawmakers are now fighting to extinguish,” she adds.
It’s true. Your dollars are being used to support everything from multimillion-dollar studies on peas, to bird watching programs, to popcorn producers, to dog glitter. Yes, dog glitter.
“I know that mothers all over America, that have advocated for their children to eat their peas, will be pleased to know that there is a study that is going to cost them $25 million to study peas, lentils and garbanzo beans,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said last week.
Sen. McCain is part of a contingent of senators who are trying to cut the fat from the farm bill currently being considered by the senate.
“The massive farm bill sets policy and spending levels for the programs affecting agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry,” Ferrechio writes. “It includes everything from crop subsidies to food stamps. The bill, last renewed in 2008, now costs $969 billion over 10 years, and senators hope to shave off $23 billion in savings.”
See Sen. McCain discuss the farm bill [via CSPAN]:
Billions of dollars are also put towards programs like the Market Access Program (MAP), which alone pays out $200 million annually to trade associations to “promote U.S. products overseas.”
And while money is being put towards bizarre entities like Espree (the company that makes the dog spray), much more goes to well-known and profitable companies including Blue Diamond, Sunkist, and California Raisins.
“The truth is, MAP is classic corporate welfare that takes taxpayer dollars to benefit big businesses’ bottom line,” Steve Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, told The Washington Examiner.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) brought up MAP subsidies last week with an amendment that would cut the program by 20 percent, Ferrechio reports.
“Coburn pointed out that not only are profitable businesses collecting subsidies, but in many cases, there is duplication and overlap with other agencies,” she adds.
“The time has come to debate whether the federal government should be in the business of promoting private-market goods to foreign buyers,” Sen. Coburn said.
Front page photo source: Doggy Duds