In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 19, 2008 / 18 Menachem-Av 5768

School lunch dough

By Tom Purcell

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Even Jimmy Schmidt would have gone for a deal like that.

According to MSNBC, the National School Lunch Program is the latest victim of America's rapidly rising food and fuel costs. The cost of subsidized breakfasts and lunches has shot up by as much as 50 percent in some schools. Despite an $8.7 billion-plus annual subsidy — despite a 4.3 percent increase in funding this year — the School Nutrition Association wants the government to spend more.

To understand how we got to this point, a little school-lunch history is in order. During the Depression, FDR saw an opportunity to feed America's poorest kids at the same time he could win the favor of farmers by buying their food with government dough.

In 1946, the Truman administration formalized the government's role. During both World War I and World War II, the government noticed that some recruits suffered from malnutrition and stunted growth. To solve the problem — and win the favor of food producers — the National School Lunch Act was born.

Though there was, and still is, lots of debate and politics surrounding the program, the premise was reasonable enough: For some of America's poorest kids, a hot breakfast or lunch at school might be the only decent meal they have all day.

Which brings us to 2008. The program has expanded a wee bit.

Today, 30.5 million of America's 56 million schoolchildren — roughly 54 percent — participate in the program. Half — children from families at or below 130 percent of the poverty level — receive free lunches. Many others — children at or below 185 percent of the poverty level — are eligible for heavily discounted lunches; they pay 40 cents. Even students from high-income families enjoy a partial subsidy.

If only I could have enjoyed government-subsidized grub at St. Germaine School in the 1970s. My mother, a master at pinching pennies, packed our lunches. Early in the school year, she was enthusiastic. We never got name-brand treats, but she made a fresh ham sandwich, gave us a fat peach or pear and sometimes mixed baked up some muffins or cookies.

Her enthusiasm waned by the second week of school though. The rest of the year, my lunch consisted of two end pieces of bread and a hunk of bologna glued together by warm mayonnaise. She tossed in some celery, a couple peanut butter crackers and a Washington apple; the apple was littered with multiple half-moon cuts, as my sisters examined every apple with their fingernails before choosing one to eat.

Every day I sat next to Jimmy Schmidt. His lunch consisted of peanut butter and jelly on fresh Wonder Bread, a can of Coke, Hostess Ho Hos and a Nestle Crunch bar — not exactly nutritious, but lunch heaven for a kid back then.

Every day I asked Jimmy if he wanted to trade. He looked at me like I had rocks in my head. And now, where school lunches are concerned, I think Congress has rocks in its head.

On one hand, the School Nutrition Association people do a tremendous job preparing hot meals for kids. Who can blame them for wanting more government dough to offset rising costs?

But on the other hand, how did taxpayers get into the business of subsidizing the lunches of more than half of America's school kids? Helping out America's poor is one thing, but folks at 185 percent of the poverty level earn up to $38,000 a year. And though they may not be rolling in the dough, why should other people be expected to feed their kids?

Government subsidies go only one way, however: up.

That is why the Congress that drove up food costs through nutty ethanol subsidies and increased energy costs through nutty energy policies — the Congress whose nutty policies ultimately drove up the cost of school lunches — will probably "resolve" the problem the only way it knows how: make taxpayers fork over even more dough to feed even more kids.

As I said, even Jimmy Schmidt wouldn't turn down a free-lunch deal like that.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR Contributor Tom Purcell's column, by clicking here. To visit his web site, click here.


© 2008, Tom Purcell