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Editorial: Headline: ‘Lawmakers fight over school lunches’
About politics and other thingsJune 18, 2014 | 2,695 views | 3 comments
Headlines such as this one that ran in Sunday’s San Antonio Express-News create a mental picture of the old food fight in the school cafeteria. The problem is that we are talking about our lawmakers and the nation’s leaders “fighting over school lunches.”
We see all sorts of political jockeying over feeding the children, but the fight is really about gaining more power and staying in control. Children are used as political pawns.
One might ask why the U.S. government should be worried about school lunches in the first place. Long gone is the “independent” from the “independent school districts,” as feeding the children has become very political. First Lady Michelle Obama has even gotten into the fight. She is very concerned about what children are fed in schools.
Others, especially the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), are concerned about the children who might be “at risk” for hunger during the summer break from school.
The USDA is the agency that administers the food stamp program, and food stamps are big business. Adding more people to its programs ensures a greater future and more power for the agency. If lawmakers were being open and transparent, they would separate the costs of food welfare programs from the “farm bill,” which is what Republicans sought to do.
Instead, the food stamp program is lumped in with all the farm-related programs. As it stands, the food stamp program makes up the vast majority of the so-called “farm bill.” It was reported to have cost $82.5 billion in 2013. The food stamp program now goes by the cool acronym of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), but most people still hold on to the food stamp designation.
From www.centeron budget.org, food stamps are the nation’s most important “anti-hunger program,” helping more than 47 million low-income Americans afford what the USDA determines is a “nutritionally adequate diet” in 2013.
“Seventy percent of SNAP participants are in families with children,” continues the website. Talk about politics, the farm bill is all politics. Here are “the children” again being used as pawns in high-stakes political games.
Somehow, pointing to the children is always a winning political strategy, as politicians correctly assume that most lawmakers won’t vote against helping children or old folks.
Kevin Concannon, the USDA under secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (Yes, there is such a position and such a person.) writes about all the poor little kids who have to “worry where their next breakfast or lunch will come from when schools are dismissed for summer break.”
Oh my. We truly have become a nation totally dependent upon the federal government when so many parents are convinced that they must have government programs in order to feed their kids.
Kids are an effective tool in any politician’s war chest.
Further, Tom Vilsack, head of the USDA, is quoted in a story about “going back to the old ways of doing business that will result in more fat, more sugar, and more sodium.” One might ask why the Agriculture Secretary wants to direct what children can and cannot eat in school, but it is happening.
Parents are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Are parents really that helpless?
“Let’s work together,” he wrote, “to make sure every child in our great nation has a hunger-free summer.”
There is an old saying about not biting the hand that feeds you. It certainly applies to this country. When the majority of people are dependent upon being fed by the government, they are not likely to “bite” (or vote against) the hands that are feeding them.
Your Opinions and Comments
GRAND PRAIRIE TX
June 18, 2014 3:45pm
The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
June 18, 2014 11:39am
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