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By now everyone's heard about the modest proposal to sort out the free lunch kids and make them pay...

WASHINGTON -- Last weekend, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston told a crowd in Jackson County he would like poor children to pay a nominal fee for school lunches or perform janitorial work in exchange for their meals, according to a video posted by the Huffington Post...
'Why don't you, you know, 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 in the cafeteria.'
Kingston's spokesman said the congressman was just concerned about teaching our children a work ethic. But let me ask a simple question no one else thought of-- How many 10-year-old kids are self-supporting? Doesn't the lunch money come from parents? So aren't we singling out the kids with poor parents?

If we judged the rich the way we judge the poor, we'd be having a national panic right now about youth crazed with Affluenza marauding drunkenly on our highways.

You have to have great faith in the redeeming power of money if you think rich kids are all getting good home training. The Republican Party is fond of 'faith', they never say in what, maybe an Invisible Hand holding a wad of cash.

Like many other statements that get mocked, the Congressman's words contain a needle of truth rolled into a haystack of ignorance. Yes, it's a good thing to teach our children to earn their way. And rich kids probably need this lesson more than their classmates whose parents work 3 jobs to pay the rent.

Kids are acutely sensitive to status, and who is 'special'. The best thing we can do is to play down the economic differences in the classroom and the cafeteria, and as much as possible make the school a place where all the kids are given an equal chance to achieve their best. Having some push brooms while others sit and eat is not a great idea.

But having all the kids participate in cleaning up their space could be a good lesson in teamwork and consideration.

This does not in any way excuse the crazy suggestion that maintenance workers can be replaced by kids doing a few chores. That's more than a little insulting to essential workers whose presence- if they walked off the job- would be missed a lot sooner than a congressman on leave.

Free school lunches are good for education because hungry children can't learn. It's a commonsense investment in equal opportunity. School should be a place where each child has a fair chance to excel, whether their parents drive a BMW or take the bus. Have mercy, Congressman, they're only little kids. Let them have a little time before the free market sorts them out.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Everyone in our school district (6+ / 0-)

    gets a free lunch so that there are no distinctions and that the cost is minimal.  A majority would get the free lunch according to the government standards so that it is not an extreme cost and this way there is no need for vouchers, cash or anyone missing out on at least one meal a day.

  •  It just doesn't pass the logic test. He's saying (5+ / 0-)

    it should be done to "instill" in them.  It would be another thing to say they should work to pay off the free lunch. (certainly disagree with that too)  But this guy wants to instill in them some kind of point.  So because some kid's parents can't afford to pay for his/her school lunch, that kid needs to have something instilled in them.  But a kid who has wealthy parents and never thinks twice about where or how that money for lunch comes doesn't need anything instilled in them.  Even if that parent is a hedge fund manager, or even worse, a lying politician.  It's amazing what people can think up.

    "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 07:25:53 AM PST

  •  Rich kids have to fend for themselves (3+ / 0-)

    Like the 16yo up for vehicular homicide for killing 4 people and injuring 2 others while having a blood alcohol count of over 2.0.  Poor kid had no one to rally for him and so was sentenced to a posh rehab center where he is forced to undergo massage, yoga, horseback riding, tennis and other extreme forms of punishment.  It only costs $450K per year so anyone can afford to send their kid there and after all, all he did was to lose control of an F-350 and plow into a group of people around a stalled car.

    I note the father has had 23 criminal charges filed against him such as assault and theft by check among others.  All cases were dropped before trial so this proves that rich people really require special treatment.  If his father were poor, I am sure the cops would have never have arrested him and given him a record.

    This is the same way I assume that if the kid had been a poor illegal immigrant (I am just channeling how the pundits will spin this) driving while drunk underage and ran over the same people, he would have been kept in a nice taxpayer financed facility with hots and cots until he was 21.  Then the government would buy him an apartment and give him a check every month (hey listen to Alex Jones sometimes if you think I am exaggerating)

    GOP wants to reinstate poor houses and workhouses.  We have already seen people being locked up for bad debts, which was something our Founding Fathers specifically found offensive and odious.  So this is the next logical step to make poor kids work for their food instead of hiring their parents and giving them jobs so they can buy their kids' lunches themselves and give them the chance for a little dignity.

    But then the poor don't deserve dignity............

    (Please turn on your snark meters before reading all of the above)  

  •  They have this all backwards. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The ones who should be getting the free lunch are the wealthy kids as part of our society's grateful acknowledgement of their privileged parentage.

    The poor kids on the other hand should pay twice what the actual cost is. This would mimic our healthcare system where the uninsured are charged MORE for care than those with insurance. What is the point of poverty if we cannot make it as painful and shameful as is humanly possible? How are we to congratulate ourselves for our innate superiority if the poor pass among us without distinguishing marks or requirements? Unless and until poor children are made to feel the sting of humiliation by sweeping floors for their share of Apple Brown Betty, will they not assume that the world is just full of Apple Brown Betty that is theirs for the taking? Won't we have served them irreparable harm by causing their little entrepreneurial capitalist souls to wither and die as recipients of such despicable Socialism?

    The only way we can avert this disaster is if we dress them in sackcloth and ashes . . . .  okay, maybe tee shirts with NFL stenciled upon them for No Free Lunch and make them scour the cafeteria floors on their hands and knees.

    When I think of the harm being done to innocent children by providing them with free lunches, I could just weep.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 10:45:50 AM PST

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