Free Food Nation (Immigrants Welcome, Of Course)

You could be
forgiven for missing the signing ceremony of the




Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
,
coming as it did during the crazed



Lame
Duck December,

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



cost
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




expensive

pet project of Michelle Obama, who has been focused on



nutrition and obesity

as


her
First Lady missionary work
.

Nevertheless, the
Act is another building block in the




ever-expanding nanny state
,
food sub-division. And, as always with American public
policy problems, there is an



immigration dimension.

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



pay
to dispense it

to a lengthening list of deserving groups, such as
immigrants and illegal aliens.

The upward slope
of



school lunch spending

is a good measure of growing Washington involvement, as
noted on a


USDA
fact sheet
:

"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
billion."

Not so many
decades ago, parents were expected to feed their
children and were considered competent to do so. The


Food
Pyramid

was taught in school so kids would understand the basics
of nutrition and wouldn`t struggle so hard against mom`s
fruits and vegetables.

When I



walked to school

as a grade-school kid in the previous century, I
returned home for lunch every day. I can still remember
the



mesmerizing appearance

of Campbell`s tomato soup with its curious red color,
plus the floating white



oyster crackers
,
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
school-supplied
"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
extravaganza.

If kids were
required to bring their own food for lunch, it would
also have the advantage of avoiding culture clashes,
such the demanding



Muslim parents

who want


halal
food

served to their so-special kiddies, from




Dearborn

to


Lodi
.
Sometimes the schools find it more convenient to quietly


serve
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
repellant.

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


"Seamless Summer."

When some Maryland districts were closed because of snow
in February 2010,



schools put out free food

so



families wouldn`t have to spend their own money to eat
,
since the taxpayer`s pocket is always open.

Food do-gooderism
has gone off the rails here in California, which is the
Big Enchilada of nanny-state giveaways. Concerns now
extend beyond mere nutrition to




self-esteem
:
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
program.

“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
|

Significantly,


Santa
Ana

is one of the


most
densely Hispanic cities in America

and also had


53.3
percent foreign-born residents

as of the 2000 Census.

As a consequence
of the creeping nanny state, the idea that free food is
only for the genuinely needy is disappearing rapidly.

Incidentally, the
schools don`t discriminate against non-students. It`s
not unheard-of in some schools for



whole
families to be lined up for food

with doggie bags in hand.

The food issue is
further complicated by



Hunger
versus


Obesity
.
Washington nannies try to have it both ways at once,
which doesn`t work. If kids are going hungry, then they
are not obese.

Michelle Obama
tries to split hairs by emphasizing Nutrition rather
than the irreconcilable opposites. It`s long been my
opinion that she wanted to


go on
a diet

and decided to make it into her personal First Lady
project.

Another problem:
getting finicky kids to actually eat the healthy chow
that`s good for them. Kids throw away a lot of good food
because many



prefer chips and Cokes
.
(For an infuriating earful on this subject, listen to a
2009


John
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
right!

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



Robert Rector.

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)

Rector also
appeared in a


Fox
News segment

(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


broke
. We


cannot afford

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



avail
themselves of aubsidized food

and additional



freebies
,
they do so to spend on other things, like



shiny
pickup trucks,

nifty electronic gadgets and billions of dollars in



remittances

sent abroad.

It`s bad enough
that we have given the aliens the rope with which to
hang us (in



Lenin`s

formulation).

But we are also
feeding them breakfast and lunch.



Brenda Walker (
email
her) lives in Northern California and publishes two
websites,


LimitsToGrowth.org
and


ImmigrationsHumanCost.org
.
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
balanced life.