From its inception, the “Michelle Obama lunch program” has been a massive flop. Billed as a way to fight childhood obesity, the federal regulations tied adhering to strict standards of salt, sugar, whole grain and fat content of school lunches to funds for federal programs administered by the state has resulted in more hungry kids, mass culinary crime in the high schools and tons of food thrown out because the kids won’t eat it. Oh, and no one is supposed to talk to the press about that, either.
Sneaky, sneaky, those carrot and stick approaches, coming from the Fed. Too bad teenagers have no sense of caution when it comes to ignoring laws and regulations they don’t like.
The net result of the school lunch standards put into place pretty well demonstrate just how successful the program is (and how popular), particularly in the nation’s high schools:
- Students have developed a black market selling salt and pepper in the halls.
- Burgers and fries are smuggled in on a regular basis. (Has eating McDonald’s replaced smoking in the lavatory?)
- High schools have had to hire extra security to keep students from letting pizza delivery men into the buildings.
- The hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama developed with smart phone toting kids from all over the country posting pictures to Twitter of their school “lunches.”
Come on, these are high school students who will find a way to get what they want and be smart alecks while they do it. It’s part of their charm. (And one has to admire the salt and pepper black market. Amazing that such mechanisms of commerce emerge where ever items and products desired by the people are denied them. No different than guns, fireworks, incandescent light bulbs, and high flow shower heads.)
Yeah, so, at any rate, given the level of dissatisfaction out on the fruited plain with the nation’s school lunch standards, the Republicans on Capitol Hill are holding a number of hearings for the airing of grievances in regards to the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) which expires September 30 and will need to be renewed.
The main GOP concern, so they say: cost/benefit ratio.
“To force you to serve food that hungry kids throw out maybe tops the list of things the federal government shouldn’t be doing,” Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) said at a recent hearing…
Since the issuance of final nutrition standards in the school lunch and breakfast programs in 2012, compliance costs and burdens on states and school districts are estimated to cost $3.2 billion by 2016, said Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), citing figures from the Food and Nutrition Service. At the same time, he said, a Government Operations report found participation declined by 1.2 million students from between the 2010-2011 and 2012-2013 school years.
Well, yeah, if the food is gross, parents who can afford to provide a lunch from home will do so. So, costs go up, since school districts have to find a new vendor for their product, and things get more expensive. And the kids aren’t eating it. (Seriously, some of the crap in the #ThanksMichelleObama pictures no one in their right mind would eat.)
What the Republicans would like to do is ease the draconian standards for food served in school cafeterias imposed by the federal government at Mrs. Obama’s request. This idea has been around for over a year, and the GOP is finally getting around to doing something about it since there is a deadline looming. Lobbyists would like to see standards revert to the level they were in 2010, when the new program was put into place. We would be no worse off, and at least students would have some nutrition in their systems while they are trying to learn.
Critics, and leftist publications like The Hill and The Daily Kos are doing their best to be dismissive of the effort with mentions of knives out, and letting the kids eat cake (yes, let them. Growing bodies need calories), but they deliberately miss the point. The kids aren’t eating the food that is offered. Seriously, would the lefties eat this if it was put on their lunch tray?
It’s all well and good to try to get kids to eat their vegetables, but that can be a nearly impossible task when no one is present to coach them and say “come on, eat your vegetables.” (Especially raw broccoli which can have distracting side effects as a cruciferous vegetable. Blech.) Herbs just don’t take the place of salt and pepper on the palate. And, frankly, cutting animal fat from the diet doesn’t necessarily translate into better health given new medical research. In fact, certain nutrients are fat soluble (like Vitamin D, of which Americans are amazingly deficient) and cutting it can contribute to malabsorption.
It’s all well and good to be concerned about the childhood obesity and metabolic disease issues in the United States, but it might be worthwhile to consider ways to remedy the problem that do not involve wasting a bunch of “nutritious” food. Say, like adding a couple fifteen minute recesses to the day to get the blood moving in those little bodies. After physical activity, the body’s metabolism keeps going for a while, and the kids are more alert. Possibly an extra gym class a week. Maybe some loosely organized herd ball, uh, soccer, where at least there’s calories being burned. Encourage walking to school where it is possible…. (That’s what they do in Denmark with good results.)
Depending on which direction this airing of grievances goes, this might be a genuine case of the nation’s teenagers exposing a problem and getting a law changed. Good for them. With all luck, somehow this can translate into a civics lesson for everyone.
More on the cattiness of the leftist media from Jazz Shaw at HotAir.