Microcosm of Nanny State Failure: School Lunch

by Steve MacDonald

Being programmed by the state has finally hit kids where they live–in the stomach.  And there is an important lesson to be learned if the kids and their stomachs are listening.  That lesson is this: Federal mandates apply force, limit choices, and result in waste, and that is exactly what has happened thanks to Michelle Obama and her meddling bureaucrats at the USDA etc.

The Government was given broad power to enforce menu standards, limiting calories, and forcing food onto menus that kids simply will not eat.  The result is waste on both sides of the serving line; costs to purchase the mandated foods that cafeteria managers know kids will not eat, the forced increase in the cost of lunches to meet some arbitrary Federal guideline, and then the waste as food that is being forced on students that is thrown away.

This is the alpha and omega of the centrally planned government that Democrats dream of.  And how are the kids responding….

Townhall.com

Some are throwing away their vegetables while others are adapting to the rules by becoming industrious. In New Bedford, Massachusetts, students have created a black market – for chocolate syrup. The kiddie capitalists are smuggling in bottles of it and selling it by the squeeze, according to SouthCoastToday.com.

From PJMedia…

Not only is the mandated food not popular and often wasted, there also is not enough of it, and students are protesting. Students in one district have released a YouTubevideo parodying their quest for enough to eat during the day. A Facebook page asks kids to send in pictures of their meager lunches.

According to Livestrong.com, teenagers need between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day to be healthy, and athletes can need as many as 5,000 calories. But the new regulations limit the intake to just 750-850 calories on the tray. Which, if the food is unpalatable, means the students may not be getting even that much.

One size doesn’t fit all, particularly in the lunchroom. The goal of the school lunch program is supposed to be feeding children, not filling the trash cans with uneaten food. The USDA’s new school lunch guidelines are a perfect example of what is wrong with government: misguided inputs, tremendous waste, and unaccomplished goals. Thanks to the Nutrition Nannies at the USDA, America’s children are going hungry at school.

Eight-hundred calories is not going to get you from lunch through football practice. They can’t even have an unlimited salad bar any more because they [the kids] might put too much cheese on it or not have the mandated eight cherry tomatoes.

So we have more expensive food, more nit-picking regulations that waste the time and patience of personnel, higher menu prices for students and parents, rules that limit or prohibit fundraising activities, and hungry kids, hungry athletes, choices no one wants, and excessive waste as a result.

It’s the built in failure of the centrally planned- nanny-state bureaucracy fit into a fruit cup.  The experts in Washington DC do not know better, can’t know, nor ever could, but since we’re the ones paying for it all why should they care?

To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, ‘Just leave us alone.’

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