At the request of Congress, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has spent more than two billion dollars on the Market Access Program (MAP), a government program that uses your tax dollars to subsidize the advertising costs of profitable agriculture companies and trade associations doing business overseas. Many Americans might respond with disbelief that we are paying for private companies to market their products in the first place. That we are doing so overseas is even more troubling.
Taxpayers may be surprised to learn that their tax dollars are subsidizing, among other things, the marketing of livestock semen. According to an announcement from U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., group that received $1.1 million from the USDA in 2011, federal funds are available for "private livestock breeders, companies, or cooperatives interested in promoting livestock, semen, or embryo sales in international markets through December 31, 2010." The group also notes that the MAP funds partial reimbursement of "approved activities such as international advertising, the development, translation and distribution of promotional materials, and participation in foreign trade shows and exhibitions."
Our nation is in debt to the tune of $15.8 trillion. Even though Obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term, he has consistently racked up annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion and has exploded the $10.6 trillion debt he inherited. After all, Obama did warn us there would be "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come."
A few million on silly programs, like using your tax dollars to market livestock semen, may sound like a drop in the bucket, yet it shows the reluctance of Congress and the President to go line by line in the federal budget to root out waste.