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No more free lunch!

Posted By Jane Chastain On 06/02/2011 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

If you still believe there is no such thing as a free lunch, you haven’t been to school lately. On any given school day 31.6 million children sit down to a hot meal in the school cafeteria. Sixty-three percent of those meals are free, or virtually free.


Furthermore, many of those same children show up for a free breakfast. In addition, many schools have expanded their day to include help with homework and supervised play time – and, what do you know? It’s now time for dinner, which calls for another free meal. And, let us not forget free snacks. If liberals get their way, there will be no need for children to go home anymore.

All that is left are school sleep-overs and, voila, the door to the “nanny state” slams shut. Parents will be obsolete, except for the breeding and incubation process.

Just how free is the free lunch? The cost of that federal program in the agriculture bill that just passed the House Appropriations Committee this week was a whopping $18.8 billion, but this is only the beginning. State governments are required to contribute matching funds, and local taxpayers often pony up for this program as well.

Although this $18.8 billion at the federal level includes a $1.5 billion increase, it is $40 million below President Obama’s request, giving liberals the opportunity to cry about Republicans starving children. That should go nicely with the lies in the ad that ran in New York’s 26th Congressional District last week that had a Paul Ryan lookalike throwing granny over a cliff.

All this begs the question, what would happen if we were to abandon the school breakfast, lunch, snacks and – in many cases – dinner programs? Would some two-thirds of school-age children go hungry or die of malnutrition if, horrors, mom had to pack a lunch? What’s wrong with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cookie in a sack from home?

This would be a fraction of the cost of the school lunch. Furthermore, experts tell us that most of that hot food meticulously prepared by, in many cases, overpaid union workers, goes right in the trash because kids prefer the old-fashioned PB & J.

Construction workers manage to get through the day with a meal in a lunch box – why can’t kids?

Are the cupboards of the nation’s poorest Americans really bare? If so, what are these welfare recipients doing with the $71 billion that is spent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formally called by its less politically correct name, Food Stamps?

We can’t have anyone on public assistance using food stamps at the checkout counter anymore. The taxpayer who is next in line might think the recipient is a freeloader, especially if the poor soul has loaded up the grocery cart with steak when all the taxpayer can afford is hamburger. That’s why we now give these people credit cards.

Still, we can’t expect these welfare recipients to make out a food budget that will include the PB & J and some fruit and cookies for their children’s lunch sacks. They would have to get out of bed 30 minutes early to prepare those lunches. How cruel! 
The agriculture bill that just passed through the House Appropriations Committee will have a $4 billion increase in the SNAP program this year, which is $2 billion less that the president requested. Thus, you will hear more moaning and groaning. Don’t shed too many tears.

Bear in mind. These are not the only programs designed to help poor Americans. There are 70 different overlapping programs totaling $953 billion, or nearly four times what is needed to raise the income of all poor families above the official poverty line. Something is seriously wrong!

The term “double dipping” has been used to describe someone who is receiving a pension from one government program and a salary from another. It has a bad connotation. However, many on the receiving end of the myriad government assistance programs are double and triple dipping.

What would you call someone who receives federal assistance to buy food for the family who then turns around and sends his or her children to school to receive free meals? This is not frowned upon in Washington. It is encouraged. In fact, there are perverse incentives for schools to sign up as many children as they can for all this free food.

The biggest failure of our food programs is that they require absolutely nothing from recipients – in the case of the school lunch program– from the parents. Forget the peanut butter and jelly. That’s a lot of baloney. Cut out the free lunch!


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