Twinkies may be on the chopping block this next election, if OSPIRG has its way.
This morning, Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group members petitioned to cut as much as $30 billion from federal government subsidies that lower prices on unhealthy food. Along with general national health, OSPIRG hopes to target childhood obesity, which has taken a spike in the past years. Stationed outside of Lloyd Farmer’s Market, the group compared a pile of unhealthy foods — Sno Balls, potato chips, chocolate syrup — to a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. OSPRIG's David Gamburd compared the prices between the piles, illustrating the significant difference in cost.
“People get that this food is unhealthy, but they don’t understand that it’s their tax dollars going towards these subsidies,” said Gamburd. "That's the real issue."
Titled “The Price is Wrong,” the national USPIRG campaign aims to eliminate the major agribusiness influence on government subsidies in the 2012 election. However, Gamburd said that they have no position on what to do with the money if it is cut. “For now, we’re just attacking it at the ground level,” he said.
Representative Earl Blumenauer's office is supporting the local campaign, and sent a statement (his spokeswomen wasn't able to make it due to the Mt. Hood fire) to the group to read at today's event. The letter focused on local farms, which these subsidies originally meant to help, and the necessity of regaining a local economy.
For now, OSPIRG aims to roam the streets for support and hold similar events prior to the 2012 election, in hopes of taking a bite out of the corn syrup-laden grub.