Hostess Twinkies
Keep your government ad dollars off my sugary snacks.
Rep. Aaron Schock, the abs of the House, is upset by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's efforts to promote healthier eating through ads educating the public on unhealthy foods. Or, as Schock puts it:
We are talking about hundreds of millions of tax dollars that are being used to discourage the consumption of lawfully marketed American-made products.
When a company like Hostess — which employed hundreds of employees in my congressional district — dedicates millions of dollars to market its products, it shouldn’t have to worry about the company’s tax dollars being used against it to dissuade the public from buying its products. In fact, the brand damage that occurs from these government-funded attack ads results in businesses having to dedicate even more resources toward marketing — money that could otherwise be used to give pay raises to their employees or reinvest and grow their business.
What happened at Hostess was terrible, but the fact is that the company had money to reinvest and did not use it for that purpose. It cut worker pay and took their pensions while giving raises to executives. Some ads suggesting that Twinkies and Ho Hos are not the best thing for you are not the culprit in Hostess' downfall, and the fruit of Schock's outrage—a bill he's introducing, called the Stopping Taxpayer Outlays for Propaganda Act—would not have done a thing to protect Hostess workers from a series of CEOs and private equity owners determined to drive the company into the ground and extract from its workers every possible dollar. And Schock has never shown himself especially concerned with workers. No, this is about corporate profits, not worker wages.

Schock's bill would prohibit "the use of federal money for print, radio and television or any other media advertisement, campaign or form of publicity against the use of a food or beverage that is lawfully marketed under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act." So as long as a product is legal and governed by this one law, Schock thinks the CDC has no right to suggest that perhaps it's not actually good for you. Why is Schock restricting his bill to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act? Why not include cigarettes and hard liquor in these protections he wants to extend to companies that have known for decades that their foods were harmful yet have continued to invest in enticing us to eat more and more fatty and salty and sugary foods? Seriously, public health authorities shouldn't at least try to let people know that a Big Grab of Doritos and a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew a day is going to increase their chances of diabetes and other health problems? Because the junk food companies' profits and marketing budgets are more important?

But don't worry: Schock's advocacy for junk food doesn't mean he's going to let himself go. "I fully support and try to live a healthy life, myself, by making smart choices about what I eat and drink and by working out regularly," he closes by assuring readers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 08:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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