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Georgia Congressman: Kids Who Get Subsidized School Lunches Should Be Forced To Work

School Lunch

Congressman Jack Kingston, who is currently running for the GOP Nomination to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss, suggests that students receiving free or subsidized school lunches should be required to perform janitorial work in the school in exchange for the benefit they receive:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) wants kids to learn early in life that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. To make sure they absorb that lesson, he’s proposing that low-income children do some manual labor in exchange for their subsidized meals.

On Saturday, Kingston, who is vying to be his party’s nominee in Georgia’s Senate race next year, spoke at a meeting of the Jackson County Republican Party about thefederal school lunch program.

Under that program, children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty line are eligible for free meals. Students from families with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level can receive lunches at reduced prices.

But on Saturday, Kingston came out against free lunches, saying that children should have to pay at least a nominal amount or do some work like sweeping cafeteria floors.

“But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria — and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch,” he said.

The school lunch program, and in many districts a companion program that provides subsidized/free breakfast for children of parents who qualify, has of course been around for decades now. Indeed I remember it from the days when I was in Elementary School in the early 1970s. Back then at least, it quickly became common knowledge which students were part of the program and which ones weren’t based on the way that we “paid” for lunch if you weren’t brown-bagging, or the in case of Elementary School more likely “Lunch Boxing,” it. As I recall at the time, students who were part of the program were often the subject of the kind of teasing that kids that age are very adept at doing. Not having children, I’m not sure if it’s quite as easy for students to figure out who the subsidized/free lunch kids are anymore, but if it is I’m sure the teasing and, in some cases ostracism, still takes place. As the author of the HuffPo piece quoted above notes, Kingston’s proposal is only likely to make this worse:

Besides the “administrative problem,” Kingston’s plan could create significant embarrassment for low-income children, who would be sweeping cafeteria floors while their wealthier peers did normal kid activities. And while the low-income children would supposedly be learning the lesson of hard work, their wealthier peers would simply be getting a free lunch from their parents.

Kingston, of course, doesn’t see it that way:

Asked for additional comment on the congressman’s remarks, Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford replied, “It is sad that trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans so quickly devolves into the usual name-calling partisan hysteria. Having worked from a young age himself, Congressman Kingston understands the value of hard work and the important role it plays in shaping young people.”

Kingston isn’t the first politician with ties to Georgia to suggest that poor kids should be put to work in the schools as some kind of Apprentice Janitor Corps. As you may recall, back near the end of 2011 Newt Gingrich who was then, quite improbably, surging to the top of the 2012 GOP Presidential field (for at least of a few weeks), said that poor students should be put to work as janitors in public schools to apparently teach them the value of a dollar. As I noted at the time, the idea of getting teenagers at least, especially ones in poor communities, to have the opportunity to learn the value of hard work and other values that they may not be exposed to at home for various reasons is not necessarily a bad idea. However, going from that idea to the idea of turning kids into school janitors or something like that would seem to serve no useful purpose at all, except perhaps saving the school districts money since they wouldn’t need to hire so many janitors.

Kingston’s idea strikes me as being even dumber than Gingrich’s. The national school lunch program, which sees its modern roots in a bill signed into law by Harry Truman in 1946 and actually has its roots in programs started in America’s major cities as early as the late 19th Century. From the beginning, the purpose of the program was to ensure that children had access to at least one healthy, nutritious meal a day. The program arguably has an educational component in that kids who are malnourished are less likely to perform well in school, as several studies have shown over the years. Over the years the program was expanded to concentrate on both the health aspects of school lunches in schools that receive Federal Aid and to provide subsidies to cover the cost of lunch (and, as I noted, at some point breakfast as well) for students from families who meet certain income levels. It’s those students who Kingston proposes to single out and put to work. In other words, he wants to punish the children of poor parents because they qualify for free or low-cost school lunches.

I have to wonder two things about this proposal. First of all, what, exactly, is it that Kingston thinks this will teach these kids? That it’s okay to force them to do work on top o their school work because their parents are poor, something the children themselves are not responsible for? Second, exactly how dense do you have to be to see how cold and heartless this actually sounds to the average human being? I happen to agree that there’s something seriously corrosive about the culture of dependency that many of our welfare assistance programs help create, but I fail to see how singling out the children is going to solve any of them. Swing and miss Congressman, swing and miss.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. edmondo says:

    Another “Christian” showing that they haven’t the slightest idea what Christ was talking about. Apparently when he said to “feed the poor and clothe the naked” he meant “Get a job”. Let’s not even guess where Kingston stands on raising the minimum wage.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  2. Mikey says:

    I don’t know how it works where Kingston lives–and at age 58, with all his children adults, he probably hasn’t spent much time in an elementary school cafeteria lately–but I can tell you at my son’s school they assign a couple students from every table to sweep up after their lunch shift ends, others to wipe the tables, etc. It has nothing to do with free or reduced lunches (which very few kids in our upper-middle-class area get anyway), they are just randomly assigned. The adult cafeteria attendants basically walk around shouting “Sweepers and wipers, do your job!” It’s kind of funny, but the kids do a pretty decent job of cleaning up.

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  3. legion says:

    I have to wonder two things about this proposal. First of all, what, exactly, is it that Kingston thinks this will teach these kids?

    That they are poor, and that makes them dirt. That they are worth less than people who are rich, and they always will be. That class is something you’re born with, and it directly correlates to bank balance.

    It’s really just that simple.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 2

  4. C. Clavin says:

    This just in;
    Republican Congressman, who has been sucking at the Government tit since 1985, endorses child labor.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 1

  5. Ben Wolf says:

    Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.’

    Matthew 25:41-45

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  6. stonetools says:

    This excresance should disappear from politics without trace, but I kind of hope he wins the nomination, so that the Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn can beat his a$$. He looks like another Sharon Engle in the making.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  7. edmondo says:

    “I was sick … and you did not look after me”’

    All the Lord had to do was buy an insurance policy from any of a dozen for-profit Wall Street insurance companies, wait until he met the $3600 deductible, paid his 30% co-pay and pray to His Father that he stayed in-network or else he was totally screwed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  8. James Pearce says:

    And while the low-income children would supposedly be learning the lesson of hard work, their wealthier peers would simply be getting a free lunch from their parents.

    Boom. That demolishes it right there.

    And hate to say it, but if you really wanted to teach these kids the value of hard work, you’d make them clean up the cafeteria and provide them all with Happy Meals from McDonalds. Seriously, man, the value of hard work is that it’s rewarding.

    Just giving them the same old pigs-in-a-blanket is going to teach them that hard work doesn’t pay.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  9. Scott says:

    The illogic of this proposal comes from the fact that public education is a service provided for the population as a whole. All kids in the school are receiving “free” stuff. Why not have the entire school population participating in cleaning? Well off children will also learn the value of hard work.

    Of course, this is not about teaching the value of hard work. This is about shaming.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  10. anjin-san says:

    And the kid in the photo with the post just happens to be black…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  11. James Pearce says:

    @edmondo:

    All the Lord had to do was buy an insurance policy from any of a dozen for-profit Wall Street insurance companies

    Jesus? The guy who could heal the sick and bring the dead back to life?

    Joke fail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  12. gVOR08 says:

    Several interesting takeaways from this.

    A great example of how for conservatives, nothing is ever about what it’s about. A liberal would naively think a school lunch program was about getting every kid a decent lunch. For Gingrich and Kingston it’s about work ethic or something.

    @Mikey: why does Kingston want to deny better off kids this valuable life lesson.

    And Doug is starting to get it

    … he wants to punish the children of poor parents …

    And my usual – Where do Republicans find these people? And why?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  13. CB says:

    Asked for additional comment on the congressman’s remarks, Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford replied, “It is sad that trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans so quickly devolves into the usual name-calling partisan hysteria….”

    Why bother instilling work ethic in school through, oh, I don’t know, education, when you can instill it through manual labor? May as well get the poor kids used to a life of back breaking, low reward jobs, right?

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  14. C. Clavin says:

    @CB:
    Isn’t it odd that a Republican…you know…one of the small Government guys…wants the Government to instill ethics in kids.
    The hypocrisy of Republicans is awe inspiring. It truly is.

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  15. PD Shaw says:

    My kids get free lunches. A number of public school districts are enrolled in a federal program in which everybody is eligible for a free lunch in order to encourage kids to eat healthier and to limit stigma effects. I’m not sure if this is a long-term or pilot program or school-specific study. I do believe the program is only available if the school has sufficient poor people attending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  16. gVOR08 says:

    Had an interesting exchange last week. A conservative friend quoted the bit in the New Testament about the woman anointing Jesus, being criticized for not giving the money to the poor, and Jesus saying, “The poor you will have with you always.” My friend thought this was a clear statement by Jesus that charity should be private, not through taxes. I replied that it was a prediction, not a commandment. But this was a revelation to me. It’s been obvious that conservatives revere some imaginary Constitution in their heads, not the one at the National Archives. I had never realized they have their own Bible in their heads.

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  17. KM says:

    Make everyone scrub floors if hard work is such a valuable skill children need to acquire it at school. Why differentiate – should the wealthy not understand its value just as well as their more impoverished brethren? What makes the rich kid so damn special he can’t roll up his sleeves and get intimate with some Clorox?

    To make sure they absorb that lesson, he’s proposing that low-income children do some manual labor in exchange for their subsidized meals.

    This sounds like a great way to foster class resentment in 8 year-olds. Kids don’t get, nor do they really care, about the economic realities of their world when they are well-off. Food just appears, no questions are asked. When you’re poor? You get it a hell of a lot better then a middle-class child ever will. When food on the table is an IF not a WHEN, you are already aware there is no such thing a free lunch. Being exposed to the mocking of your peers for something as simple as a sandwich? Yeah, that’s great for the work ethic.

    This is nothing more then the sick stereotype of the welfare queen projected onto defenseless little children. Somebody needs to kick Jack Kingston in the ass, take away his janitorial staff and make him scrub his own damn floors. Let him see there is no free lunch for Congressmen – then we will talk about children.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Scott:
    Scott beat me to it. The biggest cognitive dissonance here is that you could make exactly the same ‘argument’ about the education itself. Forget the lunch; that’s pennies. Make these worthless leeches work for their schooling!

    I have found public education to be a good litmus test for whether people really object to socialism, or just think they do because they’ve been told it’s ee-vil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  19. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Here is the thing…

    I once brought up the fact to a few conservatives that their position in life was more due to luck than of their boot-strappy hard work.

    * They were born white
    * In the USA
    * They were of families that already had money
    * They went to better schools, that could be afforded by said parents
    * The jobs they had (mostly sales) was a benefit of social skills learned in those schools.

    By the luck of birth, they are who they are. Fate.

    And… what REALLY blew their mind, was that if they kept the same conservative thought process and been born in certain areas of the middle-east, they would very likely be the Muslim Radicals that they seem to fear the most.

    Of course, they disagreed, and said it was their own hard work, and their faith in god that get them where they are.

    (Of course, I said “god” and religion was just a really early form of social networking… well, that wasn’t well accepted either).

    But really, here is what it boils down to: GOD made them where they are today.

    So, when I hear assclowns like Congressman Jack Kingston state that we should ignore child labor laws and put children (who by luck of birth) are poor into indentured servitude light …

    I can understand why those ideas roll so quickly off their tongues.

    I can understand… and I can detest them with every fiber of my being.

    I would love for them to experience for one day the crushing weight of what it means to be poor in the USA.

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  20. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    “The poor you will have with you always.”

    Context is everything. The rest of that passage makes it clear that it was time-dependent. Jesus basically says “God, in the form of me, is currently here on Earth with you — but He won’t be for long. Take advantage of the moment; you can return to your regularly scheduled priorities after I’m gone.”

    Sheesh; even Jesus Christ, Superstar got that one right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. al-Ameda says:

    I believe this is in keeping with Georgia’s historical heritage. In the early days wasn’t Georgia populated by Britain’s prison release program? And weren’t many people sent to the Georgia Colony under a program of indentured servitude?

    The more things change …..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    But on Saturday, Kingston came out against free lunches, saying that children should have to pay at least a nominal amount or do some work like sweeping cafeteria floors.

    Not only do I agree with Kingston, I think we should expand his idea, so that, say, anyone accepting a monetary benefit from the government in the form of federal farm subsidies, or who claims a mortgage interest deduction on his taxes, should have to pay back a bit by working on a road crew or sweeping out a federal office building…..

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  23. Tillman says:

    These moments make good demonstrations of the problems you get with an entrenched elite class of law- and policymakers. The lack of perspective is dizzying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  24. reid says:

    Shouldn’t these lazy little leeches also be drug tested?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  25. Franklin says:

    I’m not sure if a little clean-up amounts to child labor, but the “no such thing as a free lunch” argument means nothing to small children. They get all sorts of things for free from their parents.

    I kind of like the idea brought up here that if you’re going to have the kids clean up, all of them should get the chance. Maybe that would help fix affluenza.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  26. Al says:

    It’s guys like these that makes me appreciate the secret cabal that set up the Shadow Government that really rules everything. I mean, man could you imagine if people like that were actually in charge of something?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. al-Ameda says:

    @reid:

    Shouldn’t these lazy little leeches also be drug tested?

    That – lazy little leeches – was very nice alliteration. By the way, are you referring to representatives like Jack Kingston, or to our future indentured servants to be?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  28. john personna says:

    Somewhere the GOP has a little book of sayings that you need to establish your bona fides.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Very true. I think everyone that has some success at some point asks himself how he got where he is. There are basically two answers. One, as you say, I was born into good circumstances and with some aptitudes, I had access to a good education, I worked hard, but I caught some breaks. I should be grateful for my luck and to the society that created this environment. Two, ’cause I’m so cool. Most people opt for two.

    I suspect the Koch bros are contemptuous of anyone who didn’t have the drive, the smarts, and the skills to inherit an oil company.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  30. JKB says:

    Wait, I thought it was “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”? Wouldn’t some nominal work be a good thing?

    But, of course, the devil is in the details. There are so many kids already damaged by the Progs they’d only learn resentment from such a program, even if enough nominal work could be found.

    But having a program of nominal contribution for kids whose self respect is damaged by being a charity case would be good. Then they could do some nominal work so as to avoid the damage of overtly being charity. It’s an illusion but it works. In the past, men, women and children wold insist on doing something in return even if their efforts were far exceeded by the “value” of the food, shelter, whatever provided.

    This guys instincts were good, but he neglected the details. Not to mention the threat helping kids retain self respect through contribution is to the Progs who like them dependent and ignorant.

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  31. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    And with that JKB joins in the call for child labor laws to be overturned.
    The war on the middle-class continues apace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  32. Woody says:

    I think Mr Kingston hasn’t gone far enough:

    Free/reduced school lunch children should be required to wear bright yellow jumpers in school to motivate them to succeed.

    I’d also propose the Kingston Fetch! To Learn! program whereas America’s Leeching Children are taught the value of hard work by fetching things for Fully Paid Up American Children.

    The greatest con in history was the conservative movement hornswaggling the religious to believe they are the moral ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  33. john personna says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve known some rich people who took their inheritance (in money, brains, and education) to mean that wealth is easy, and so anyone not wealthy must be really, really, lazy.

    They actually refuse to believe the “luck of their draw, because that would make their achievement less.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  34. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: So what about the rich little brats who have their parents bail them out of everything, have every wish granted, and even after they’ve killed four people through drunken driving still are only punished with probation for 10 years?

    I think it’s even more necessary for them to get down on their hands and knees and scrub floors and toilets.

    (Incidentally, all schoolkids in Japan have half-days where everyone pitches in and cleans the school. If we’re talking about “character”…..)

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  35. C. Clavin says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    In addition none of those wealthy people got wealthy without the Governments help.
    Every single private fortune was built on public investments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  36. Ron Beasley says:

    When I was in grade school back in the 50s my school had some of the wealthiest and poorest kids in Portland with a majority being middle class, I still remember that about an hour after class started each day a few kids would be taken to the cafeteria for breakfast. The stigma of that was punishment enough for being poor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  37. Tyrell says:

    Let me say that I am not against subsidized school lunches. I have concerns when some of the children who get these subsidies bring in plenty of money for the cookies, cakes, ice cream, chips, and other snacks that they can buy in the lunchroom. I am concerned about the overpriced frozen, canned, and processed food that is sold to these children and has the taste and feel of cardboard. Someone is making a ton of money off of that junk. I am also against school systems that have teachers supervising students during lunch instead of having their own free lunch period. I don’t know of any other profession in which the workers have to work during their lunch break. I wonder if these schools in other countries that are supposed to be so great treat their teachers in that manner.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. C. Clavin says:

    The average school lunch…according to the School Nutrition Association…is $3.
    According to the USDL the minimum wage is $7.25…your state may vary.
    So a kid would have to work .412 hrs…about :25 min…to pay for his/her lunch…times how many kids in a school?
    Training….supervision…support staff…equipment…payroll…
    I’ll leave it to you to calculate the costs required to administrate and process this child labor program.

    Republicans unfailingly grow Government.
    What we need is smarter Government…not bigger Government.
    I wish Republicans like Kingston and JKB could figure that out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  39. CB says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Seriously, don’t even respond to that garbage. That kind of despicable tripe doesn’t deserve a dignified response.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. Nikki says:

    @anjin-san:

    And the kid in the photo with the post just happens to be black…

    I’m so glad you pointed this out. I really wanted to ask why a photo of a black child was chosen for a post on free lunches.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  41. Pinky says:

    See that? I was going to comment on this thread, but then someone made it about race, so now I’m afraid to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  42. Franklin says:

    @Nikki: Oh, christ folks. Next you’re going to tell me he is holding the fork in a threatening manner.

    Far more likely, is that OTB uses stock photos and that’s the first or only one available that denotes “school lunches”.

    Now can we stick with the issue at hand, rather than turning everything into a race war?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  43. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    You victim, you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. rudderpedals says:

    Welcome to the internets. Remember to pick up your kitten at the welcome booth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  45. Pinky says:

    @Rafer Janders: Yeah, I know, this could get old pretty fast if I point out every time someone cries “race”. But how messed up do you have to be to look at that picture and think “aha! a black!”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  46. Pharoah Narim says:

    @PD Shaw: I got free and reduced lunch at different times during my school years. I remember feeling ashamed that my parents were “poor” (My father was active duty military btw) I wasn’t ashamed of my parents mind you– but “poor” in the south wasn’t something to be proud of around “rich” people’s children– coming from a family or background that lacked means was a point of ridicule. Military housing was often attached to the better schools in town if there wasn’t a DOD school on post so this was a part of growing up a military brat. I was so embarrassed to pull out that punch card. It made you tough though so I don’t mind having to have endured the stigma ground. 60% of this guys constituents probably have kids on the lunch program.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. anjin-san says:

    @ Franklin

    Far more likely, is that OTB uses stock photos and that’s the first or only one available that denotes “school lunches”.

    Ummm. No.

    Stock school lunch photos

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  48. anjin-san says:

    why a photo of a black child was chosen for a post on free lunches.

    Probably for the same reasons Fox News stories about vote fraud are always accompanied by video of black folks standing in line to vote.

    It’s messaging.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  49. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Yeah, I know, this could get old pretty fast if I point out every time someone cries “race”. But how messed up do you have to be to look at that picture and think “aha! a black!”?

    How messed up? Not much at all.
    Conservatives, as we were reminded of in the last election, love to associate Black people with government-sponsored social welfare benefit and assistance programs (and never mind the demographics of the users or beneficiaries.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  50. Tyrell says:

    The schools used to have good food that was prepared mostly on site. It was at a good price. Now it is processed, frozen junk and cost a lot more. The decline started when the Federal government took more control of the schools “nutrition” programs.
    Some schools have gone back to local preparation using fresh vegetables and meats from local farms, and eliminating the frozen, canned stuff. But a lot of systems can’t do that now because they sold off all of the equipment long ago and it would cost too much to do any re-equipping and meeting local codes. Our local schools probably don’t even have a can opener.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. ernieyeball says:

    Not sure how useful many of those school lunch pics would be. Many of them include images of meat. Don’t want to send an offensive message to the vegan audience of OTB…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  52. PD Shaw says:

    @Pharoah Narim: Thanks for sharing. The odd thing is that before the special program I don’t think students could buy their lunch at the cafeteria anyway. Each kid is assigned a number (e.g., 1856318), for which the parents can buy lunch credits, either with a check sent to the school or credit card on-line. So it would seem like class peers should not know whether the kid’s credits were bought or given anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  53. Just Me says:

    The janitor’s union would object to having students work anyway (when I was a student detention was spent doing various labor but the school no longer does this because of union contract rules).

    That said this is a dumb idea. Poor kids often get one hot lunch a day and it is the free one they get at school.

    I would rather see all students encouraged to pitch in than ask only the poor kids to do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  54. Grewgills says:

    @anjin-san:
    There are three white kids in the photo as well and one kid with no identifiable race I’ve decided he is Asian and the I’ve decided that the darker haired girl is Hispanic, so the pic will be more inclusive.

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  55. Tyrell says:

    @Ron Beasley: School breakfast: the school breakfast program generally started in the 1970′s. From what I have seen and eaten at some of the schools, the breakfast food is usually better than lunch. Some of this of course is a convenience to a lot of the parents and children: I would say most, but not all participate since you do have to arrive at school earlier. Not so convenient for the teachers, many of whom have to show up at 7:00am to supervise the students in the cafeteria while the students eat breakfast. Teachers have to do a lot of supervising these days.

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  56. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:
    Where did you go to school? I was in public schools in Alabama in the 70s and we absolutely did not have tasty fresh food prepared on site. It was all pretty much frozen or canned and at best bland. It was cheap though.

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  57. rudderpedals says:

    What a petty and churlish attitude. This man, this Jack “Skinflint” Kingston takes home 6 figures and won’t have to worry that his spawn will ever have to choose between hunger or derision.

    If I’m ever faced with a Trolley Problem this man gets to be the Fat Man.

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  58. An Interested Party says:

    But having a program of nominal contribution for kids whose self respect is damaged by being a charity case would be good.

    What a load of horse$hit…certainly all those who feed at the government trough without actually needing any of that largesse (subsidized agro-business leeches, Wall Street moochers, etc.) don’t seem to be suffering from any self-esteem issues by taking a whole lot of “charity” from others…

    I was going to comment on this thread, but then someone made it about race, so now I’m afraid to.

    Oh please…are you implying that people like Kingston don’t think about race when they make asinine statements like this? Check out the comment threads at conservative websites when this kind of issue comes up…

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  59. Pinky says:

    @An Interested Party: What, the fact that racists comment about a story means that the original story must be about race? Maybe you don’t understand how hobby horses work. These people see their favorite subject everywhere. There are people who could read this story and think it’s about the Fed and the gold standard. I have no idea what Kingston was thinking when he made these comments, but I know that Anjin looked at that picture and thought “racism”. That’s messed up.

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  60. Anjin-San says:

    Messaging is a big part of what I do for a living. When I see an image of a black person accompanying a story about gubmint cheese, I don’t just assume its an accident. I’ve done stock photo buys for a number of Fortune 500 companies over the last 15 years. I am pretty well qualified to venture an opinion here. So no Pinky, the stock right wing tatic of attacking anyone who mentions racism will not work on me.

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  61. Pharoah Narim says:

    The black perp is obviously threatening to shank the wholesome white children if they don’t hand over their iPhones and allowances. That’s what I saw…..

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  62. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    See that? I was going to comment on this thread, but then someone made it about race, so now I’m afraid to.

    Exactly what you said on another thread. Word for word. Which makes me think you might be a little weird on the topic.

    But hey, we get it: you are the true victim. Poor you. Poor baby. Poor little Pinky is so scared of people saying “race” because as a white man he’s been oppressed for so very long.

    You know, I had hopes for you as a better class of right-winger. Thought you might be capable of actually offering some rational argument occasionally. But no. Poor Pinky can’t even open his wittle mouth ’cause mean old liberals. Let’s get you a cup of hot chocolate and a snuggle toy.

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  63. Tyrell says:

    @Grewgills: I recollect that maybe the frozen and canned stuff started probably about the early ’70′s. I worked in a school back then that made pizza, biscuits, spaghetti, and hamburgers from scratch. The food was great. Fish sticks were about the only thing frozen. I am sure you remember that it was always “fish on Fridays” because of some religious tradition back then.

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  64. bill says:

    that’s just wrong, heck – it could lead to them actually working after they’re done with school.

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  65. anjin-san says:

    @ Tyrell

    The decline started when the Federal government took more control of the schools “nutrition” programs.

    That was a while back

    The most prevalent school meal program in the United States is the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), a federal program signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. It was historically looked upon to be the foundation for children’s nutritional health in the U.S. Serving over five billion lunches per year to qualified students, the main goal of the NSLP is to provide highly nutritious meals for children who may not otherwise have access to a proper diet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_meal_programs_in_the_United_States

    You know, I read your comments, and I really think your heart is in the right place. But you badly need to seek out better sources of information.

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  66. anjin-san says:

    Where did you go to school? I was in public schools in Alabama in the 70s and we absolutely did not have tasty fresh food prepared on site. It was all pretty much frozen or canned and at best bland. It was cheap though.

    I grew up in one of the wealthiest parts of the country. When I think back on what they fed us in school in the 60s and 70s it makes me cringe.

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  67. anjin-san says:

    @ Grewgills

    There are three white kids in the photo as well

    A thoughtful person who has a reason to examine the photo will notice that. 99% of viewers eyes will flick across the photo for half a second and the takeaway will be “black kid”…

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  68. Grewgills says:

    @anjin-san:
    Honestly, I didn’t notice that the hero image above was a black kid until it was pointed out down thread, then again I don’t pay much attention to the images associated with stories unless they have direct bearing on the story.
    If it were an article in a magazine, newspaper, or some other professionally edited outlet, or something other than a blog done by people in the time they have outside of the job that pays the bills, I might think that it was about messaging. Given where it is and who is writing and choosing the pic and the overall tone of the article, I don’t think the choice was about the kind of messaging that you were talking about in your initial comment. I very much doubt that Doug chose the picture because the kid was black and he wanted, even subconsciously, to send the message that black kids are sucking off the government teat.
    I can find plenty to disagree with Doug on, but he was dead right on this article. He has also been spot on on more than a couple of times in articles that dealt with direct and dog whistle racism.

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  69. Grewgills says:

    @anjin-san:
    I remember looking forward to the bland soggy rectangles of pizza and canned sloppy joe on pasty white buns; that is how bad it was. I would have to be VERY hungry to eat any of that now.

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  70. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Certainly Kingston’s comments were crass and stupid. Is he worse than Paul “Evolution is a lie from the pit of hell” Broun, who’s running against him in the GOP primary? Alas, poor Georgia. I knew it Horatio, a state of infinite jest . . .

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  71. anjin-san says:

    @ Grewgills

    I don’t think the choice was about the kind of messaging that you were talking about in your initial comment.

    Perhaps not. But Republican media outlets do this sort of thing like clockwork, so I am a bit cynical on the subject.

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  72. Ben R says:

    It is my position that the Federal Government should not be involved in any way. It is not their job.

    I also believe that if a State requires that you hand over your child for 13 years of their life, then the State should feed them. It should cost the individual nothing (zero) to comply with mandatory education laws.

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  73. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san:

    and the takeaway will be “black kid”…

    Messed up.

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  74. Nikki says:

    @Pinky: If it’s so messed up, then please do explain why a photo of a white child was not chosen. Google images for “school lunch” and you will find the above photo there on the far right. But on the far left and more easily seen is an image of 3 girls all facing the camera, 2 white, 1 black. So…why was the one that focuses solely on the face of a black child chosen?

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  75. Nikki says:

    The truth is white people do not have to think about such things. We black folk do.

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  76. Pinky says:

    @Nikki: Why do you have to think about such things? Have to? There’s nothing in the world that I have to think about. I sure don’t have to think about race.

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  77. grumpy realist says:

    @Grewgills: Might have simply been a case of doing a Google [TM] search for images under “school lunch program” and this was the first that came up.

    What would be interesting is if all images illustrating “school lunch program” articles always contained one black kid, even in locations where the population is 99.97% white.

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  78. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist:

    What would be interesting is if all images illustrating “school lunch program” articles always contained one black kid, even in locations where the population is 99.97% white.

    I did a search for “school lunch program” in Google Images. Just about every picture that had multiple children in it was ethnically diverse. It was well-nigh impossible to find one that didn’t have an African-American child.

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  79. Grewgills says:

    @Nikki: @grumpy realist: @Mikey:
    When I searched Google images for ‘school lunch program’ the above image was the first one that showed childrens’ faces. The ones before it showed plates of food or the tops of heads and the tops of heads prominently included an african american child.

    One reason for this could be that social welfare agencies tend to be scrupulous about making their images ethnically diverse. It is interesting that their attempted outreach and inclusion ends up being interpreted by some as messaging about rather than to the minority groups pictured.

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  80. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    I would hazard a guess the means that she has to because it is part of her daily life. Racist things are said and done regularly as a matter of course and if you are not the target it is much easier to ignore. That is part of the unrecognized privilege that Steven and others have been talking about.

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  81. bill says:

    @Nikki: um, there’s more “white” folk on welfare than “black”! that’s racist….

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  82. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    I sure don’t have to think about race.

    White people don’t. Thats kind of the point. Black folks are reminded of it every day in America.

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  83. Matt says:

    The teasing still takes place and this would only make it worse..

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  84. James says:

    Shame is a great motivator!

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  85. Faye says:
  86. Faye says:

    Yes, like these children won’t get made fun of at all because they are sweeping the floors…Come on, i would like to know what reality this man is in…Oh yes one where he doesn’t have children..Wonder if his look on things would be different if he did.

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  87. Faye says:

    @Matt: I totally agree

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