You could be
forgiven for missing the signing ceremony of the
Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act,
coming as it did during the crazed
when a year`s worth of postponed legislation was crammed
into a few weeks. The event didn`t get much media
coverage, partially because the
was only $4.5 billion—a
paltry sum when much larger figures were flying around .
And the program could be seen as just an unduly
pet project of Michelle Obama, who has been focused on
nutrition and obesity
First Lady missionary work.
The First Lady
made her nutritional nannyism clear by declaring,
"We can`t just leave it up to the parents." [CNS
News, December 13, 2010].
Feeding their kids, that is. So the government will
choose the proper food, and the taxpayers will
to dispense it
to a lengthening list of deserving groups, such as
immigrants and illegal aliens.
"The National School Lunch Program
cost $9.8 billion in FY 2009. By comparison, the lunch
program`s total cost in 1947 was $70 million; in 1950,
$119.7 million; in 1960, $225.8 million; in 1970, $565.5
million; in 1980, $3.2 billion, and in 1970, 6.1
Not so many
decades ago, parents were expected to feed their
children and were considered competent to do so. The
was taught in school so kids would understand the basics
of nutrition and wouldn`t struggle so hard against mom`s
fruits and vegetables.
walked to school
as a grade-school kid in the previous century, I
returned home for lunch every day. I can still remember
of Campbell`s tomato soup with its curious red color,
plus the floating white
which were similarly mysterious because I didn`t
understand what an oyster was.
In later years I
carried a spiffy lunch-box with a home-made sandwich and
some cardboardish carrot sticks. School had machines
that supplied cartons of milk for a small price, but
that was it.
In high school,
there was a cafeteria that cooked up
pretty basic chow,
like sloppy joes and mashed potatoes. Everybody`s
favorite was a giant oatmeal cookie
the size of a dinner plate, known as a "flying saucer."
Some kids had just that for lunch.
So it`s hard to
understand the fixation of many adults that kids have a
"hot lunch" rather than mom-built food. Certainly a
room-temperature whole wheat sandwich with turkey and
sprouts is a lot healthier than a steaming fried grease
If kids were
required to bring their own food for lunch, it would
also have the advantage of avoiding culture clashes,
such the demanding
served to their so-special kiddies, from
Sometimes the schools find it more convenient to quietly
halal food only,
as has happened in the UK.
Halal meat is
slaughtered with particular cruelty,
so it is objectionable for more than religious reasons.
Plus non-Muslims might consider Allah-blessed food to be
And some Americans
regard pork chops an
essential part of their culture.
The alleged joys of increased diversity could never
compensate for the loss of barbecued ribs.
Sadly, the schools
have become Commissar Central for training kids to
believe that food comes from the government. Many poor
families are fine with that idea since it saves money
for other needs. Immigrants in particular acculturate
quickly to state-supplied chow.
Some years back (1853
in New York City!)
the idea of free school lunches for poor kids started
up. In our own time, generous do-gooders added snacks
and breakfast. Later, worries accumulated about what the
children were eating during weekends and in the summer,
so programs for those times were created as well, like
When some Maryland districts were closed because of snow
in February 2010,
schools put out free food
families wouldn`t have to spend their own money to eat,
since the taxpayer`s pocket is always open.
has gone off the rails here in California, which is the
Big Enchilada of nanny-state giveaways. Concerns now
extend beyond mere nutrition to
school administrators became anxious that kids might
feel bad if their peers knew they got free or subsidized
food. So the trend has been for schools to provide free
meals for everyone to eliminate possible stigma,
courtesy of the unwilling taxpayer, despite the cost in
a tough budget environment.
For example, 18
schools in Santa Ana offered free breakfast and lunch
for every kid, with no requirement of financial need.
“Every student at 18 of Santa Ana
Unified`s campuses will receive a free breakfast and
lunch for the entire school year regardless of whether
they qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meal
“For the third consecutive year,
the district will participate in a U.S. Department of
Agriculture program aimed at improving nutrition among
students in schools serving the neediest populations.
“The 18 schools each have at least
85 percent of students already qualifying for free or
reduced-price meals. Officials say the program will also
help reduce administrative costs by freeing up district
staff from processing thousands of free and
reduced-price lunch applications."
Free meals for all at 18 Santa Ana schools
By Fermin Leal,
Orange County Register,
September 3, 2010|
As a consequence
of the creeping nanny state, the idea that free food is
only for the genuinely needy is disappearing rapidly.
schools don`t discriminate against non-students. It`s
not unheard-of in some schools for
families to be lined up for food
with doggie bags in hand.
tries to split hairs by emphasizing Nutrition rather
than the irreconcilable opposites. It`s long been my
opinion that she wanted to
and decided to make it into her personal First Lady
getting finicky kids to actually eat the healthy chow
that`s good for them. Kids throw away a lot of good food
prefer chips and Cokes.
(For an infuriating earful on this subject, listen to a
and Ken radio show
where southern California listeners vented about waste
and mooching in school feedings, starting at 7:20 in.)
As a result of
picky eaters, we see rather fancy menus cooked up for
acceptance by junior palates.
School dinners in DC
recently began including items like salmon salad, whole
wheat rolls and corn relish. Nice eats, and the price is
On the other hand,
the economy stinks and many families are having a rough
time making ends meet. Isn`t it grinchy to begrudge
hungry children a few billion dollars in free-to-them
year-round breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks?
Not so much,
according to Heritage scholar
His studies have shown the incidence of actual hunger is
highly overstated, even given our economic difficulties.
“Political advocates proclaim that
the USDA reports show there is widespread chronic hunger
in the U.S. But the USDA clearly and specifically does
not identify food insecurity with the more intense
condition of `hunger,` which it defines as `discomfort,
illness, weakness, or pain … caused by prolonged
involuntary lack of food.` As the USDA report explicitly
states, most `food insecure` homes did not cut back
their intake at all."
(Significant food shortages rare in America,
By Robert Rector,
Washington Times, November 24, 2010)
appeared in a
(October 19, 2010) commenting on the expanding
government food bureaucracy in which
"more than 30
million US students receive some type of
government-funded meal at school each day."
Taxpayers who are
furious about a government addicted to spending
shouldn`t hold back from criticizing programs that
appear to serve innocent kiddies. The Washington nanny
state must be pruned back to the ground, because we are
the alleged good intentions of liberals whose generosity
is unbounded when spending other people`s money. Their
real aim is control, although the argument is wrapped in
wholesome vitamins and minerals.
As for the
immigrants and illegal aliens who
themselves of aubsidized food
they do so to spend on other things, like
nifty electronic gadgets and billions of dollars in
It`s bad enough
that we have given the aliens the rope with which to
hang us (in
But we are also
feeding them breakfast and lunch.
Brenda Walker (email
her) lives in Northern California and publishes two
As a Berkeley resident, she is a thoughtful eater of
nutritious fresh fruits and veggies because she
considers nutrition an important part of a healthy