From The Daily: Kingston’s Remarks On Work Spark Outrage

December 19, 2013 9:37 am

by Buzz Brockway · 80 comments

It was in today’s Morning Reads, as well as today’s Peach Pundit Daily (subscribe now before it’s too late), but it’s worthy of it’s own post so here it is:

The Perpetually Outraged Remain Perpetually Outraged, Part Two. Apparently Senate Candidate Jack Kingston suggested that it might not be too much to ask for students who receive their lunch at taxpayer expense be asked to do something in return. “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. This was found to be an offensive statement by the UGA Young Democrats and Eric The Teamster, who one would think would be a fan of work. Where do these people find the time and energy to be so outraged?

My thoughts are this: it’s probably an unworkable idea, as Kingston himself acknowledges, but is it so wrong to expect people, even children, to work a little in exchange for something of value? Isn’t that a character trait we want people to have, and shouldn’t we be teaching that to our children?

Cue the over-heated outrage once again, and discuss how Jack Kingston and I are the worst sort of people in the comments.

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

peachpundit (@peachpundit) December 19, 2013 at 9:37 am

New post: From The Daily: Kingston’s Remarks On Work Spark Outrage http://t.co/YYiHFNSAoh #gapol

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 9:41 am

I don’t think you’re the worst people ever. I just think you have a secret desire to stage a version of “Oliver Twist”.

Buzz Brockway December 19, 2013 at 9:42 am
WesleyC December 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

Perhaps we could reach consensus around making school meals free for all students, and then requiring all students to pitch in somehow. That way we could avoid the drawback of stigmatizing the free lunch kids (who FYI are 80-90% of kids in a lot of Georgia counties), who are getting that social help through no fault/responsibility of their own. Making the policy universal would also teach the value of work to the wealthier kids too, who in my experience need a much bigger lesson in it than the poor kids.

Buzz Brockway December 19, 2013 at 9:50 am
Lea Thrace December 19, 2013 at 10:03 am

I love this take! My main problem with the work for food idea is the stigmatization that WILL occur. Poor kids dont need yet another reason to be picked on.

Eric The Younger December 19, 2013 at 10:27 am
griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm

It’s not a bad idea. But instead of sweeping floors, perhaps a “Work Studies” period where they can help with administrative tasks, maintenance, etc.

It’s a lot less Dickensian than pushing a broom for your porridge and would actually help the school run more efficiently.

John Butler December 20, 2013 at 10:23 am

Good idea.

CJBear71 December 19, 2013 at 9:51 am

If there are too many of them, perhaps the children can be on the roadways with signs saying “Will Work For Food”?

I’m being facetious of course. But let’s keep something in mind – EVERY child has a free lunch. Every child. No child comes into elementary school fresh off the factory floor and uses their paycheck to pay for lunch. It’s their PARENTS who give them money for lunch. Some can afford it, others can’t. But it makes no sense to make the children work for their lunch because their parents can’t afford it. That will really reinforce the idea that there is a free lunch – among the children of the wealthy, not the poor.

The whole point of having school meals provided free or at low costs is for a specific reason – hunger is a detriment to learning. We are not providing meals to children at school just to make sure they aren’t hungry. We have other programs (food stamps) and charities for that, whether or not they are efficient & sufficient enough. This is so kids are fed enough so that they can focus on learning while at school. Taking away their homework time so they can pay for their lunch by mopping the floor sure won’t help.

(P.S. Sorry to capitalize, but I am not sure how to create any italicized words in this comment field)

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 9:52 am

Let me count the ways this is stupid and without ever getting into “think of the children” liberal philosophy

1. Picking on hungry children who have little control over their own situation sure sounds like a political game winner.

2. The liberals outrage is not about outrage, it’s about painting Republicans as a caricature, which allows them to fundraise based on other liberal’s outrage. Giving your opponent an opportunity to not only make you play defense but also fatten their own warchest – another brilliant political maneuver!

3. He even admits it won’t work and will cost money! Exactly what constituency is he trying to please? The constituency that wants to spend money to make a philosophical point? Maybe he should apply for chair of UGA’s Humanities department instead of running for Senate.

Everyone’s going to have fun talking about “the children” and mean Republicans and “outrage” but the bottom line is there’s a word in the bidness for stupid statements that have no upside – unforced error.

cheapseats December 19, 2013 at 10:18 am

Well played. Unforced error is sorta what I was thinking. Suicide by press comes to mind as well.
I know Jack Kingston. He’s one of those not-so-bad guys who has to pretend to be a knuckle-dragger to win the Primary. That speaks poorly of both sides.

Jason Carter said something recently that I thought was most interesting and goes to this point. He said that he works with a lot of Republicans who are genuinely thoughtful people who want to do what’s best for Georgia but their party just won’t let them. He sounded like he felt sorry for them – I think I do, too.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

+1

Doesn’t he have people to vet these ideas ahead of time?

Chris Huttman December 19, 2013 at 10:49 am

That’s the problem with the Republican primary these days, which some people on this site like to pretend it doesn’t exist. If I sit you down and prep answers on the 100 top questions that are likely to come up from a normal voter, crap like this will still bubble up from the crazy.

I have friends working the Republican primary and the kind of stuff they hear from “man on the street Republicans” is shocking and bizarre.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

I was not aware this was a response to a question. I see nothing wrong with ideas like this “bubbling up” or coming from “man on the street Republicans”. In fact we need more ideas like this coming up. But I expect any ideas put forth by a candidate to be evaluated for feasibility, pros and cons.

Jon Lester December 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

Surely he knows how many thousands of students qualify as poor, so is he suggesting we break out the toothbrushes and give every one a share of the bathroom floor to scrub?

Kingston could have had an advantage if he’d just kept quiet and let the other Senate candidates make fools of themselves; even though there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the top four, he would have at least seemed more reasonable than the others.

SmyrnaModerate December 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

That’s the real issue, at least with the idea of having the kids “work” for their food. The percentage of kids, even in districts you might think of as middle class or well off, who receive free reduced lunch is ridiculously high. I took a quick look at gwinnetts website and it’s fact sheet says 58% of students receive free or reduced meals. Even Forsyth appears to be about 20% of kids. So every kid gets 30 seconds with the broom? Do the other 42% of kids get to watch and think that because their parents have money they don’t have to work for things?

Chris Huttman December 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

I go back to my own upbringing. Eating breakfast at home with one or both parents, reading the newspaper, talking to parents about the issues. I’m just assuming that is still going on, maybe iPad has replaced the newspaper but whatever.

Compare that to lower income kids – maybe one or both parents are already off to work. They are on the bus an hour earlier to get to school so they can eat subsidized breakfast – which is a good thing – because they’d be much worse off without the calories. But they don’t enjoy the same luxuries as those who can afford to eat lunch at home with a parent who can be there.

So when you think about it that way, they already are paying for the privilege! They lose the value of what the more affluent and middle class kids have. Now imagine instead of just losing that and getting on the bus an hour earlier, you’re getting on the bus an hour earlier to go to WORK before school. I’m sure these same kids who already have a hard enough time in school will then love it that much more.

I typically hate the trend of internet writing focusing so much on privilege, who has it, who doesn’t, how it affects their commentary. But this is a perfect example. The shameful thing is that Broun and others probably have opinions that are even more distasteful. I hope someone will ask them.

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Jon Lester, December 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

“Surely he knows how many thousands of students qualify as poor, so is he suggesting we break out the toothbrushes and give every one a share of the bathroom floor to scrub?”

SmyrnaModerate, December 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

“That’s the real issue, at least with the idea of having the kids “work” for their food. The percentage of kids, even in districts you might think of as middle class or well off, who receive free reduced lunch is ridiculously high. I took a quick look at gwinnetts website and it’s fact sheet says 58% of students receive free or reduced meals. Even Forsyth appears to be about 20% of kids. So every kid gets 30 seconds with the broom?”

These are some excellent points by Jon Lester and SmyrnaModerate as just in Gwinnett County alone there are close to 100,000 students receiving free and reduced lunches.

The logistics of attempting to run such an operation where close to 100,000 children in just that one school system alone (and hundreds-of-thousands in Georgia and tens-of-millions of children across the U.S.) had to perform some type of laborious task in exchange for free meals would be almost impossible, would likely be ridiculously expensive, and would most-likely take critically-important (and very-limited) time and energy away from what should be a school’s number-one objective, which is teaching.

In the end, attempting to administrate what would ultimately be a huge child labor program that most-likely would be a huge and counterproductive distraction for a public education system that already has more than enough distractions to deal with.

Attempting to make schoolchildren work for their free and reduced lunches would also most-likely run afoul of child labor laws.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Did you read the quote?

“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”

How many of those “tens-of-millions of children” do you think are in households who can’t afford 25 cents a week for lunch?

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm

mpierce, December 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm
“Did you read the quote?”

Did you read my comments?

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm
“Attempting to make schoolchildren work for their free and reduced lunches would also most-likely run afoul of child labor laws.”

I don’t disagree with Congressman Kingston’s desire to teach economically-disadvantaged schoolchildren a sense of work ethic that they may not be getting taught at home.

I also don’t disagree that there are likely not many households who could not at least afford to pay between 25 and 50 cents weekly for lunch.

The problem lies with the logistical and operational difficulties of Congressman Kingston’s idea of exacting a penalty of labor as a punishment of sorts for schoolchildren whose families or households do not pay the 25 cents weekly for lunch.

Kingston himself admits that his idea would likely be very-costly (which would likely increase the size of the federal education budget and the already-bloated federal education bureaucracy) with his remark of “I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money”.

Kingston’s idea would also trigger a series of costly lawsuits that the government could likely lose seeing as how many of the government’s own child labor laws could and would likely be violated.

The idea of teaching schoolchildren some sense of work ethic is not at all a bad one, but attempting to exact child labor as a penalty from schoolchildren whose families do not pay for lunches is most-likely not a workable idea because how massively costly it would be (with administrative and operational costs and expensive lawsuits) and how it would grow the size of government by growing the size of an already bloated government educational bureaucracy.

Because of the very-costly aforementioned reasons, Kingston’s idea may not necessarily be the best way to attempt to teach economically-disadvantaged children the type of work ethic that they may not be getting taught at home.

There are most-likely many more far less-costly ways to help teach economically-disadvantaged children a sense of work ethic than Kingston’s well-intentioned but budget-busting proposal.

Heck, the seemingly unpopular ideas of reducing taxpayer subsidies to the school lunch program or abolishing the school lunch program are ideas that would most-likely be much-more workable than Kingston’s bureaucracy-growing and lawsuit-inducing idea.

Thomas Adams (@GeorgiaCRE) December 19, 2013 at 10:29 am

From The Daily: Kingston’s Remarks On Work Spark Outrage – It was in today’s Morning Reads, as well as today’s Pe… http://t.co/kLHsFRPlsZ

Chris Huttman December 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

This is a good example of why even after a disastrous Obamacare rollout voters still trust Democrats more than Republicans on dealing with healthcare. Being born poor is really the ultimate pre-existing condition, and they want to penalize children who literally made no detrimental decisions on their own to get into that situation.

And not just that – but even if their prospective parents wanted to prevent the poor child from being born at all or try to delay it to a time when they might be able to better afford it, well the Republicans are against that too.

Harry December 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

Where is it written down that everyone is entitled to the same benefits?

Chris Huttman December 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

Are you saying that poor kids shouldn’t get subsidized meals?

Harry December 19, 2013 at 10:58 am

I’m saying Kingston is right – they should do some work in the school to offset the cost.

Harry December 19, 2013 at 10:56 am

Actually the poor get free prenatal, deliveries, and AFDC payments etc. The middle class are the group that can’t afford to have children, and that’s one of the main reasons we are being swamped with a permanent underclass population.

taylor December 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Don’t disagree about prenatal and healthcare, but AFDC ended with the 1996 welfare reform.

Knowing that, I looked up some information about the predecessor – TANF – since this free money is often mentioned. One can definitely argue the benefit of providing even a dollar in cash assistance, but the numbers are probably smaller than most think. 1.8 million families received cash assistance in March 2013, compared to more than 5 million families in the mid-1990s. In Georgia, a family of 3 qualifies for a maximum of $280 per month (18% of federal poverty guideline). A family of 6 can get $410. Maybe some receiving the money shouldn’t qualify, or the program shouldn’t even exist, but there’s a hell of a lot of places where there’s larger sums of money being wasted.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32760.pdf

Harry December 23, 2013 at 11:51 pm

You are correct, AFDC has been replaced by successor program TANF. Average monthly number of TANF recipients has increased by 11% since 2007. AFDC was heavily criticized for abuses. So let me revise my comment to read: Actually the poor get free prenatal, deliveries, Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, free school lunches, subsidized transportation, etc. The middle class are the group that can’t afford to have children, and that’s one of the main reasons we are being swamped with a permanent underclass population.

pettifogger December 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

Work = penalty.

If someone else has a benefit you don’t have, and you have to work for said benefit and someone else doesn’t, it is a penalty to you.

About sums up modern American liberalism.

Chris Huttman December 19, 2013 at 11:16 am

I’m not sure the average 5 year old, both the one that has to sweep the floor and the one that doesn’t, will necessarily come away with the right lesson learned here.

Harry December 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

What do you consider is the “right lesson learned”? I think it is that someone has to pay. And I think 5 years old is not too early to learn that lesson.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm

As the father of a 5 year old, I would second that.

benevolus December 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm

How do the wealthier kids learn this lesson?

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Unfortunately many don’t and later suffer from affluenza.

Three Jack December 19, 2013 at 10:49 am

Not a bad idea, but an even better one would be to force the parents to work for all the redistributed funds they receive to pay for the result(s) of their irresponsible behavior.

It is amazing how many people find Kingston’s statement to be so offensive based on the grounds that a ‘poor’ kid will be stigmatized by working. This country really has lost its base foundation of hard work equals reward. Instead we have no work equals handouts taken forcibly from hard workders and if anybody dares to ask the recipients to contribute in some way, they are criticized as heartless. People who receive handouts should be stigmatized and made to feel bad for using the government to take from those who produce. Maybe eventually enough of them will get the message and stop having children when they know they cannot afford to have children.

Chris Huttman December 19, 2013 at 10:54 am

Maybe the Republicans will, I don’t know, allow them to get free birth control even if they work for an employer like Hobby Lobby?

pettifogger December 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

“Allow”? You mean force a company to do something it disagrees with.

Three Jack December 19, 2013 at 11:02 am

Or maybe the government can stop forcing responsible citizens to pay for the irresponsible actions of others. If Hobby Lobby does not want to pay for female contraception, they shouldn’t pay. And if a female has that at the top of her requirement list when seeking a job, then Hobby Lobby is probably not the best place to work…go get a govt job.

benevolus December 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm

So if the KKK started a business, they could say no Black people are eligible for the insurance they offer?

D_in_ATL December 19, 2013 at 11:15 am

Because it is heartless.

Three Jack December 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

And government is so full of heart…right DinATL?

Noway December 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm

+1000000000 on them not having children they can’t afford. All of their boys should be named Ward. It fits.

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 11:12 am

1. Kingston had a great point that he just articulated very poorly.

2. The main issue is that the left generates outrage at any one who at any conservative questions any social program for any reason. If this was a debate within the left on the merits of having everybody pay something, it wouldn’t be nearly a big deal.

D_in_ATL December 19, 2013 at 11:24 am

This is stupid not only for being heartless but it also impresses upon these kids that work, either commually or individually, is either used as punishment or re-immbursement for debt. These are kids and people want to put them into debt for a basic human need. C’mon…how far down your philosophical rabbit holes do you really want to go?

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 11:33 am

Please see below.

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 11:34 am

My time limit expired when I was trying to edit my comment above so I will finish here.

Because honest: the original intent of the school lunch program was a failure. It was supposed to increase student achievement. With poor students in particular, a reason given for lower academic performance was coming to school hungry. Kids who came to school hungry couldn’t concentrate, kids and parents filled with uncertainty over where their next meal was coming from couldn’t focus on academics, etc. School breakfast and school lunch was supposed to get kids full and happy and ready to learn for first period, and it was supposed to allow indigent parents to spend more time helping their kids with homework and looking for work rather than scrounging up meals. Again, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE.

And it was a total failure. Decades of school lunch and the achievement gap between low income students and middle income/high income students persists. If anything, it has gotten worse. So, the original intent of school lunches has shifted to being just another poverty/entitlement program. It has shifted from something meant to help lift people out of poverty by providing adequate nutrition for brain development and allowing kids and parents to concentrate on studying and academics to just being something else that you get because you are poor. That means opposing it means hating the poor and not having compassion for them, regardless of any questions on whether the program fulfilled its original purpose (or any good purpose) and whether it has any unintended consequences (like wasting money that should be used for classroom instruction and making low income parents and communities still more irresponsible – no longer having to so much as plan ahead enough to provide nutrition for their own children – and entitled, by thinking that school lunch is yet another thing that they “need” and “deserve” and that evil racist misogynist conservatives are trying to take away from them in some conspiracy to keep them down).

It is nonsense. It is bunk. It is ridiculous. And because the media leans to the left, the real issue is never discussed. We never talk about how trying to improve economic circumstances with the school lunch program (classic Marx theory by the way) absolutely, totally failed to improve classroom performance, how increasing spending on education (more classic Marx theory) failed also, and whether trying to change the culture of low income people and others who perform poorly in school would work better.

That is what Kingston tried to get at, but unfortunately Kingston doesn’t have Peggy Noonan and Pat Buchanan writing his speeches for him like Reagan did. It was also Booker T. Washington’s approach – using a form of education that transformed the culture to help people lift themselves out of poverty – that worked for decades (HBCU’s et al) even within the harsh context of segregation before that approach was abandoned wholesale for Marxist theory. But unfortunately, Kingston doesn’t have Booker T. Washington as his speechwriter either, and he didn’t read “Up From Slavery” before talking to a hostile media on this issue.

George Chidi December 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Your argument is bunk. A series of studies link school breakfast and subsidized lunch to improved academic performance. In fact, it’s one of the few things that we know, cold, helps to close the achievement gap between students from wealthy families and students from poor families. It’s one of the most effective uses of money we can spend in the schoolhouse, if the goal is to educate as many children as possible.

Does it solve the whole problem of underperformance completely? No. But without subsidized meals, the results would be even worse.

Opposing it is heartless, as you say people will accuse conservatives pushing this line. It is also stupid.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Was there supposed to be a link for those studies? Work for food may not make sense but calling it heartless makes even less sense.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I’d call holdng a hungry kid in place with no relief for hours pretty heartless

Harry December 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm
griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

If you’re going to hold them captive for 8 hours, it’s probably a good idea to feed them. Strings attached or not.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I’ve seen nobody suggest this.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

As predicted, we’re down a rabbit hole. But I’ll play along.

Not explicitly suggested but implicitly.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I disagree. There were no specifics on how such a program would be implemented suggesting children would be denied food.

But for the sake of argument let’s say that is a necessary consequence. Obamacare may increase the number of uninsured. If that was the intent, then it was heartless. If it was an unintended consequence then I would say it was ill-conceived as opposed to heartless.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I’ll grant ill-conceived. But I’ll bet you a shiny nickel most people will run straight to heartless as a modifier, the first time little sallow faced kiddies refused to pick up a broom.

There’s a reason children no longer work in factories. Society will not tolerate it. No matter what adjective you use.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Many will, but it doesn’t mean they are right to do so. I’ll go double or nothing that Kingston doesn’t want children to go hungry.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I doubt he does either. I actually like Jack Kingston. He reminds me of the kid in elementary school that always wanted to run the projector when the class watched a movie.

But he has a bad habit of improving and riffing without thinking things through. I suspect that’s what happened here.

And as I said before all the rabbit holing, it was incredibly stupid.

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

@griftdrift:

You do realize that the school lunch program is relatively new. So our country was “pretty heartless” before then but isn’t anymore? Is that your position?

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Talk about a rabbit hole. Child labor? Indentured servitude? Yeah, there’s been quite a few episodes of heartlessness in our long history.

But if you think you’re really going to try me into a corral of a do gooder that tries to fix everything you’re going to be in for quite a surprise.

My only point is if your going to confine children for 8 hours a day, you better make sure they’re fed. If you don’t want to use the word heartless, fine. Let’s just say otherwise would be impractical.

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

@griftdrift:

“My only point is if your going to confine children for 8 hours a day, you better make sure they’re fed.”

I agree. Parents should make sure that their own children are fed. If parents cannot or will not make sure that their own children are fed, then those children have much bigger problems going on than school lunch programs, and those problems will manifest themselves in other ways while those children are in school, and particularly when those kids are no longer in school (i.e. when they are expelled or drop out). And after all, what happens during the weekend and during the summer when there is no school in session so no school lunch program to feed them? Does that factor into your “pretty heartless” thing any?

Here is a solution: lift the compulsory education requirement for parents who are unwilling or unable to contribute anything to feeding their children. For parents who are actually responsible for their offspring, education is compulsory. But for parents who refuse this responsibility, please keep their kids out of public school. If they want their kids to be educated – or if they even care – let them put their kids up for adoption or in foster care. It is your choice, parent. 25 cents a day to feed your own child, have your child go uneducated, or send your child to the foster system.

Is that heartless enough for you? I can get even more heartless if I try.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Nah. I’d say advocating ” pay to play” essentially turning the public school system into private academies has taken this conversation down a highly amusing but essentially pointless corridor.

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm

@griftdrift:

Yeah. That is rich. 50 cents a day to “buy” a school lunch that actually costs about $3.00-$4.00 to prepare and serve is “essentially turning the public school system into private academies.” Griftdrift, even the kids who pay “full price” for school lunches do not pay the actual full price but are having the cost of their lunches subsidized. Those who actually send their kids to private academies and actually pay a full, unsubsidized price to feed their kids know this.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm

What fun!

So wouldn’t it be more efficient just to provide lunch for everyone? Cut out all the administrative costs and what not?

Or does the CBA not work because the cost of teaching bad habits would be too high?

Maybe you should try for more heartless since my privatization analogy is off the mark. More intensity of the effects might make it penetrate my dense skull.

Noway December 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm

No relief, Grift? Are you serious? It’s called a “sack lunch” prepared by their own Mommy and Daddy!

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Well I guess that would be the more modern version of the syrup pail with a sliver of fatback from the smoke house.

mpierce December 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm
Noway December 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm

No lunches from home? Ahhh, don’t you just love real-life socialism on parade?! Unbelievable…

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm

@George:

Studies have proven? Sure … how many of those studies were the tiny “test subjects under ideal conditions versus control group” deals of the sort that proved that “new math” was the bees knees?

Second, Kingston was not proposing that we eliminate the lunch program, just entirely free lunches. He was only stating that everyone has to pay SOMETHING … even if it was a quarter or something. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We are the richest country in the world. What we consider very poor is middle class in a lot of countries. If there are all these parents who are incapable of giving their kids a quarter or something for school lunch and breakfast, they have much bigger problems in their lives than the existence of mean right wing Republicans. So you are shadowboxing here.

Third – and this is a common gripe with progressives – your side creates a program on Monday and on Wednesday pretends that this program is essential to humanity. The school lunch program hasn’t always existed. My (rural Georgia) parents were those who gave me lectures about how they walked several miles to the one room schoolhouse carrying their ham sandwiches in syrup buckets when they weren’t picking cotton or doing some other agricultural labor and they were not comically exaggerating like Cliff Huxtable on the Cosby Show. So take away federally funded school lunch and life in this country will go back to the way it was for the vast majority of our history before that program was initiated.

Taking away school lunch and taking away free, compulsory education are two different things, by the way. And as I said before, Kingston was never talking about truly eliminating free lunches. But everyone brays and neighs manufactured outrage every time a conservative has ANYTHING negative to say about ANY social program. That’s the ridiculous part. You can’t even talking about making minor, inconsequential changes to a program to try to drive useful cultural changes without somebody accusing you of wanting to return to Jim Crow, and a large part of it is due to the fact that the media simply carries water for the left and the Democratic Party. Making a poor parent send 50 cents – you can’t even buy an unhealthy Pepsi for 50 cents anymore – to feed his (or her) own child isn’t a horrifying concept at all and you know it. And Kingston said that the reason for it wasn’t to “balance the budget on the backs of the poor” (it may even cost more money than it generates) but rather to teach good cultural habits. But without even thinking about it, you cause it “heartless” and “stupid” simply because a conservative opposed it. Meanwhile Obamacare is causing premiums to rise and coverages to be dropped and worker hours reduced all over the place and that gets defended to the hilt.

It is partisan ideological nonsense and it needs to stop. Let me repeat: we are the richest country in the world. Requiring a poor parent to allot $2.50 of his or her public assistance a week so her child can pay $.50 a day to eat lunch at school isn’t the Spanish Inquisition, George. If you want to pretend that it is, then we need to go take a little world tour to see what real poverty looks like. A former coworker of mine went to go work in an orphanage in Romania, and those kids over there would LOVE to get access to our school system in exchange for $.50 a day FOR THEIR OWN LUNCH.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I grew up in similar circumstances and I just have one question for you ( and by the way, I find you highly entertaining but Harry is going to get jealous )

You do realize we don’t live in the agrarian economy of yore anymore, right?

atl_man December 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Yes. And we largely don’t live in an industrial economy either. And analog telephones with the circular dialing with all the clicking and stuff don’t send text messages or play Minecraft. And I also didn’t grow up on a farm. I have never picked cotton, milked a cow or slopped a hog. However, my parents (including the time spent in a single parent household after a divorce so we were by no means rich) somehow managed to take responsibility for making sure that I had meals each day. Including when school wasn’t in session. So obviously, feeding your own children doesn’t require an agrarian economy.

And Kingston’s proposal wasn’t even that indigent parents go back to feeding their own kids. It was that each kid pay a little. How much? A dollar? Fifty cents? 25 cents? A dime? A penny? Bartering their baseball cards? Who knows! No one cares because they are too busy pretending that he is Nathan Bedford Forrest skinning alive surrendered Union soldiers at Fort Pillow even for mentioning such a horrifying regressive idea.

griftdrift December 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thanks. I needed a new example for my straw man collection.

DavidTC December 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm

If there are all these parents who are incapable of giving their kids a quarter or something for school lunch and breakfast, they have much bigger problems in their lives than the existence of mean right wing Republicans.

YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT, YOU COMPLETE IMBECILE.

There are parents who, indeed, cannot afford to give them kids ‘a quarter or something’.

And they do, indeed, have bigger problems than mean right-wing Republicans. For example, they’re probably homeless, and quite possibly have no source of income at all.

Which, of course, makes it perfectly fine for those mean right-wing Republicans to let their children go hungry.

It’s like how if you break your leg I’m allowed to kick you in the face while you’re down. Hey, what are you complaining about…you’ve got bigger problems than a bruised face!

*kick kick kick*

Oh, wait, that analogy is completely wrong.

*turns around and starts kicking your kid in the face instead*

bgsmallz December 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm

This is the dumbest. The whole thing is re-dumb-cu-lus.

I have a son. He gets .25 for doing small chores like feeding our pet, cleaning his room, etc. He has a chore list. When he gets to be older, I’ll put him on an allowance for doing things like taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, yard work, etc. It is a great thing for him to learn these things. He uses that money to buy toys at target, put some change in the collection plate at church, starting a junior savings account, etc.

I DO NOT MAKE HIM BUY HIS FOOD WITH THE MONEY HE GETS FROM MAKING HIS BED. I’m not running a ledger so that when he turns 18, he has to pay me back for all of his ‘free’ lunches and dinners. This whole thing is dumb.

Demonbeck December 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm

To most of the commenters on this thread…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQCU36pkH7c

raharkne December 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

If anyone should be sweeping floors, it should be the parents, not the children. Personal responsibility is an important lesson, but should not be tied to a child’s school meal. Presumably, parents that cannot afford school lunch should receive sufficient benefits via the EBT program to send their children to school with a sack lunch. However, the reality is that many parents in this position aren’t responsible parents and would send their children to school with out anything to eat. I have children and know that when the blood sugar drops, kids become irritable and distracted. I don’t wish that on any teacher. Feed them.

Noway December 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Hear that, parents? Feed you own damn kids. It’s nobody’s responsibility or job but yours.

ddbsa December 20, 2013 at 9:06 am

When I was in elementary school we had rotations of kids cleaning the lunch room. I paid full price for my meals. Great Idea.

benevolus December 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Picking on the weaker kids has a name. It’s called bullying.

seenbetrdayz December 27, 2013 at 2:36 am

I think if you really want to teach school kids a lesson about how the real world works, you should let them work for their food, and then, when they’ve got a steaming hot plate of food in front of them, have someone in a black business suit with a badge come up and rake half their food off their plate and give it to the kid who cheats off others during tests.