- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2013


In the opening summary of the report “Advertising by the Federal Government: An Overview,” analyst Kevin R. Kosar writes, “Government advertising can be controversial if it conflicts with citizens’ views about the proper role of government. Yet some government advertising is accepted as a normal part of government information activities.” Mr. Kosar notes the difficulty of calculating the amount spent by the feds on advertising each year, writing that “there is no governmentwide definition of what constitutes advertising” and “there is no central authority to which agencies are required to report advertising expenses.”

Mr. Kosar is, however, able to estimate the federal government’s “expenditures on contracts for advertising services derived from data in the Federal Procurement Data System.” Advertising expenditures for fiscal 2011 were $750.4 million. Beyond warning us of the evils of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, cyberbullying and cybercrime, we are now beseeched by government advertisements to “take time to be a dad today,” assess our flood risks and sign up for food stamps. Ads tell children they can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle by going to www.choosemyplate.gov and following links to learn about their farmers and “know” their food.

The problem is the government does not belong in the advertising business — and it should not be spending taxpayer money on the prospect of turning minds.


Shrewsbury, Pa.

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