The federal government has spent more than $3 billion over the past 35 years to help multinational agriculture businesses with their overseas marketing. Taxpayers pay about $200 million per year to fund these business activities, which companies could do on their own.
A few weeks ago, the House had an opportunity to repeal the Market Access Program, one of the most egregious corporate welfare programs, when it voted on a key amendment during its original farm bill debate. But by an astonishing 322–98 vote, the House rejected this amendment.
Here are just some things that taxpayer dollars have helped pay for through the Market Access Program:
- International wine tastings in places such as London and Denmark. To be fair, at least one of the wine tastings was “educational,” according to the Department of Agriculture.
- Whiskey tasting in Hong Kong.
- Japanese “Tweet While You Eat” campaign to promote U.S. beef.
- Dinner party for food critics in New Delhi to discuss prunes.
- Animated series to promote California walnuts in Spain. The series features a squirrel named Super Twiggy who throws walnuts at his enemy, the Colesterator. The animated series may not increase walnut consumption, but in the event anyone watches, it has a chance of increasing the number of Spanish children who throw walnuts at each other.
- Let’s Design, a reality series in India where fashion designers use cotton for their outfits. According to the Cotton Council International, which received the money, the program was designed to promote cotton in general, not U.S. cotton—so American taxpayers get to promote commodities for other countries too.
- Organic hair products for cats and dogs.
The Market Access Program is the epitome of corporate welfare and fiscal irresponsibility. Even Super Twiggy and the Colesterator would likely agree that the Market Access Program needs to be repealed.