$3.5 million is too much to spend to make sure low income children get to eat lunch at school. I wouldn’t have thought so either, but Sen Sean Nienow has shown me the light: “If the problem is that we have one or two or 10 or 50 or 100 or 1,000 kids that have a parent that [isn’t] fulfilling their responsibility, well then let’s look at targeting the resources to fix that problem, and not spend it on all 60,000 kids.”
No, making sure all kids get to eat isn’t worth spending the sort of money the Koch brothers spend on a routine ad buy. Let’s do more to encourage parents to live up to their responsibility. Let’s see, we already take the children’s trays away and dump the food in the garbage, yet public humiliation still isn’t enough. Would it help to pull their pants down too? Should kitchen staff be required to take kids to the restroom to administer swirlies? How about throwing rocks through their windows with notes attached denouncing the parents as deadbeats?
Something I’m not clear on though. What if no amount of humiliation makes money appear in a child’s pocket? Then how do we get parents to take responsibility? Are Republicans ready to go house to house to give parents a good finger-wagging? Stand over them while they dig money out of their wallet? Sounds very expensive to do, but still certainly be better than expanding free school lunches, because no one wants intrusive government. Who would want to spend $3.5 million on a simple and effective solution that leaves kids with a shred of dignity? An amount of money six times the amount of the SBA loan Nienow opted to not pay back or, to put it another way, spend six Nienows of money to get kids through the lunchline with their self-worth un-squashed? Ridiculous!
Given the frequency with which Republicans use the personal responsibility argument to object to spending money on children who are hungry, surely they have some solution. I must just be getting distracted by something shiny every time they explain it.