This week, Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) introduced legislation to prevent federal tax dollars from being used to advertise against American made products. The Stopping Taxpayer Outlays for Propaganda Act or the STOP Act, would specifically prohibit the use of Federal money for print, radio, 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.
"Businesses shouldn't have to worry about their tax dollars being used against them to dissuade the public from buying their products," said Schock. "Right now millions of taxpayer dollars are going toward government funded advertising efforts to actively compel Americans not to consume food or beverage's that have been lawfully marketed under current law."
Following the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the Stimulus bill, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was allocated taxpayer dollars to award grants for wellness efforts. However, these taxpayer funds are being used to run ads attacking and singling out legal American products and industries; attacks that will slow job growth and cost our communities jobs. When the stimulus well runs dry, this practice could continue through various streams of funding identified in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.
For example, Cook County, Illinois, received a $16 million federal grant for obesity prevention. Some of the grant money went towards the production of a document which outlines the benefits of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. One of Cook County's current legislative priorities is a one center per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The document goes on to state that a "pricing increase of one penny per ounce on sugary beverages would reduce consumption by eight to 11 percent In Illinois, a penny per ounce increase would result in raising $600 million per year."
Montana is using their $769,000 CDC funds to run "Think About Your Drink" anti-soft drink and anti-energy drink print, radio and TV ads. In cities across the country the same type of activities are taking place. In Philadelphia, Seattle, and New York, they are all spending millions of taxpayer dollars on multimedia advertisement campaigns to attack American made beverages.
"I believe the CDC, which does great work on early detection, prevention, and treatment for breast and cervical cancer, on immunizations, flu vaccines, and a whole host of worthy efforts, simply should change their priority from singling out one product and attacking American job creators to focusing their efforts on a more comprehensive approach to combating obesity," added Schock. "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. These are the types of behavior we should be promoting, not using our precious tax dollars to attack job creators in a time of sustained levels of high unemployment."