June 10, 2010

But it is Federal money...

In my small town no kid goes hungry. For the second or third year in a row any kid under 18 gets a free a sack lunch every weekday all summer long. NO questions asked. Rich or poor. The school prepares the lunches and hands them out at a couple of different sites. These lunches are not bologna or peanut butter. They are ham or hot dogs or chicken. They even publish a menu.

We are laying off teachers, but passing out lunch in the summer time.

Yes, I know the lunches are being provided under a Federal Grant, but it is still taxpayer money, a fact that seems to be lost on many people. Someone is still paying.

Why are we passing out free lunch? One argument is some cannot afford to provide lunch for their kids. I call bullshit. If you cannot afford food, we the taxpayers, are subsidising your food through WIC or the Food Stamp program. There is no excuse for not having food for your kids. With a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread you can provide lunch for a week for two people for about $5. That is about $0.35 per day or around the cost of two cigarettes.

Of course eating peanut butter every day is not fun. But a peanut butter sandwich is nutritious and fills you up. I eat a peanut butter sandwich at least once a week for lunch.

Look, I am not against offering a helping hand. But this is not a poor community. If there was a demonstrable need to provide lunch I might go along. But we as a nation need to learn to say NO. Just because someone wants to give out free Federal money does mean we have to take it. The Government is beyond broke. We are borrowing money that will take generations to pay, if we stopped now. Despite what our local schools system believes, there really is no free lunch.


dick said...

Different time and a different place, but
I got to witness hungry and starving kids first hand in the service and it ripped my heart out.
You should've seen the smiles on those underweight/undernourished lil' bastards when they got tossed a can of compressed ham, peaches, or crackers that they could take home to their families.

Hunger sucks like nothing else in this world and because of that, I'll be more than willing to give a kid a hand.


Joe said...

Me too, Dick, but do you agree to toss a can of ham to the fat kid eating ice cream? Should we be feeding every kid in town?

dick said...

That's exactly why I started with, "Different time and a different place".

And of course the answer is no. You know me better than that.


Anonymous said...

I am betting at least half of it is because parents are too lazy or high to fix a sandwich.


Rita said...

And sorry, but I have never been behind someone in a supermarket line that was using food stamps that didn't have a second ring-up of cigarette and/or beer. And yes, there are plenty of times I shop at the grocery where alot of the customers are on food stamps (or whatever they call that card they use now).

I wouldn't mind supporting people who try and just can't quite make it. But it's irritating to me that those I have seen use their cash to buy beer and cigarettes instead of real food for their kids.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

When people start figuring that out, we'll start to climb out of this mess.

Cappy said...

I've got a free lunch for the liberals. In my pants.

mts1 said...

My father's side of the family, with eight kids, and my mother's, with seven, suffered the Depression (pre-any public assistance). Most days, breakfast before school for my father and his siblings was a bun and a cup of coffee. Now, we're the main country for having fat poor people. Poor used to mean you had shoes for winter but went barefoot in summer. Now, it means you get New Balance instead of Air Jordans. 95% of the world's poor would kill to be poor in America.

I'm not begrudging the poor of their better days. The Depression sucked, and I see a need for some sort of safety net for the truly destitute. And even if you're doing fine, no one is so well off they're not a few weeks or months of no pay away from desolation.

But programs like school lunch are political third rails, and boards are more ready to cut good programs from extra-circulars than touch that. BTW, the governor's pay is $95,000, and his education chief's is $79,000, while the average Indiana superintendent makes $125,000? I got that from the local paper's (nwi.com) last Sunday front page. Illinois' situation is even more obscene. And that I don't think even covers perks like expense accounts, free cars, etc. But let's cut band, art, and a few teachers.

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