- Text smaller
- Text bigger
The verdict is in: Michelle Obama’s school lunch program is about as popular and cost-effective as her husband’s “unAffordable Care Act” and much more wasteful.
Doubtful? Just look in the garbage cans at your local public school cafeteria. A new report from the General Accounting Office confirms that the new standards for the school lunch championed by the first lady have not only been a nightmare for officials responsible for planning the menus and sourcing the food, but they have resulted in higher costs and much more waste.
In short: students won’t eat the food. Contrary to the popular belief perpetrated by liberals promoting the nanny state, hunger is not a problem in the United States. Those who have spent time in Third World countries where it is will tell you that hungry children will eat anything that is put before them.
I am not suggesting that America’s children are spoiled, though undoubtably some are. It’s just that, with or without the school lunch, they are not going hungry. In fact, one of the biggest health problems among those we classify as poor, who habitually live off the taxpayers, is obesity.
With the increase in the welfare state, the school lunch program has outlived its usefulness.
The overwhelming majority of school lunches are free or virtually free to the students. In fact, some districts give free meals to everyone so as not to stigmatize those who are classified as “poor.” In short, this has become a welfare program for thousands of union workers who are hired to provide these meals.
However, the so-called “free lunch” is far from free. The federal government spends some $12 billion – that’s billion with a “B,” a year on the school lunch program alone. State governments are required to match these funds, and local taxpayers are often dinged as well. Many schools also provide free breakfasts and snacks. Others with after school programs have added dinner as well.
At a time when many school districts are struggling to make ends meet, why not spend this money on books, buildings or teachers?
The GAO reported numerous problems with the implementation of the so-called “Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act,” such as the sheer volume of the new regulations. There were 1,800 pages of guidelines to help schools follow the mountain of new regs for the 2012-2013 school year. Some of these guidelines appeared to change the rules or were contradictory. All arrived too late to be helpful. Does any of this sound familiar? In short: Obamameals is a lot like Obamacare.
Let’s be honest. Most children would be better served with a lunch brought from home. Yes, even those classified as poor. Most certainly, taxpayers would be better served if the money spent on the school lunch program were returned and they packed those lunches themselves.
Is it too much to ask those on the receiving end of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, to get up a half hour early to pack a sack lunch and a few snacks?
The argument from the do-gooders who have never seen a government program they wish to cut back or eliminate is that these sack lunches may not be nutritionally balanced. This is true, but a child is not getting a meal that is nutritionally balanced if the majority of that meal winds up in the trash!
Seriously, what are they going to do to these children who are not eating the Obama meals? Hold a gun to their heads? I forgot. Schools are gun-free zones.
If a child does not have a lunch, for whatever reason, emergency rations such as peanut butter crackers and apples could be kept on hand at a fraction of the cost. If a child comes to school without an adequate lunch every day, then bring the parent in for a little chat with Child Protective Services. No amount of free lunches is going to solve the problem of poor parenting.
While hot lunches are nice, they are not necessarily more nutritious. Construction workers go to work every day with their lunch boxes, and they build roads, bridges and buildings.
Children spend enough time at school every day to learn about proper nutrition. It should be part of every curriculum. Hopefully, as children age, they will make better choices. Nevertheless, they are likely to adopt the food preferences of their parents.
What can the government really do to change that? Make every home subject to the kitchen gestapo? Is that where this is headed?
“Hello, we are the food police. We’re from the government and we are here to help you.”
Media wishing to interview Jane Chastain, please contact email@example.com.