« what the world needs now is another limerick contest (presidential edition) | Main | meritorious »

Not done yet...

Looking around at the other sites that have taken on the free lunch topic, I've seen these comments:

I expect poor people to not have kids if they can't afford them.

If you're so friggin' irresponsible that you can't feed your child - you shouldn't be a parent. You ought to be jailed.

if you can't afford to buy the things to make your child lunch, then the child has much larger problems than that meal. Those people shouldn't be parents.

I'll go so far to say that if you can't feed your own kids, you ought to be jailed for gross negligience.

My issue is not poverty, but the lack of priorites you'll find with these "dead beat families." Their financial irresponsibilty is not my problem.

Just simply say "I wouldn't do it again now that I have more information" and we conservatives will be satisfied.

The SIMPLE AND FAIR SOLUTION would be to give all public school children - rich or poor - the choice for a free lunch or a refund for unused meals. But i suppose then nobody would have the vaunted "badge of shame" to bash evil rich conservatives?

"Why should my taxes pay to feed a child whose mother who is too lazy too work or keep her legs closed? "

And on and on.

How do you debate rationally with people who think like that? Should one even try? Is this what the far right is thinking these days?

I am in complete awe at the smug, self-centered, arrogant, nasty vitriol that has been thrown around on this subject. We've gone from debating about taxpayer's money and tuna sandwiches to telling women to keep their legs closed.

I'm just wondering why so many of the comments from males center around what the female half of the parents of these kids have done wrong to get into such a situation. Defend yourselves, please. Tell me why so much of the plight of a low-income family has come down on the shoulders of the women of the household?

And what is with the Vaunted Badge of Shame? Is this something I should have received in the mail from my local Congressman? Should I have been wearing it all these years so people look at me and know at a glance that I should be pitied for my past? Damn, I always miss out on the good things. Would someone make me a badge, please? I feel really left out.

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Not done yet...:

» School Breakfast Debate from Freedom Lives
There is a lot of traffic being generated about free school breakfasts that was started by John Hawkins and reacted to very strongly by Michele here and here. Michele even summarizes some of the comments from other blogs here. Today... [Read More]

Comments

If you don't mind seeing these mantras enshrined into law and governmental policy, then by all means continue to vote Republican.

...and the point of pulling my quote out of context is...???

The "badge of shame" is a bitter pill I am sure, but it is based on a clear, logical argument.

that's a ridiculous hyperbolic statement. both parties allow for a welfare state. the size and scope are up for debate. most conservatives would argue that there are serious inefficiencies within the school lunch program and, however well-intentioned it is, we might need to think about scaling it back or ending it, particularly during times of economic hardship. i mean, all studies show that head start really has no long-term effects and that kids in head start come back to the pack fairly quickly. should we continue that program simply because it's well-intentioned? or is it still possible to have a debate about the efficacy of social programs without partisan mau-mauing?

sorry, that comment referred to jasond's statement.

Michele, I assure you that these people you show quoted here do not speak for all republicans or conservatives.

I absolutely have no problem with the free lunch programs. They are, unfortunately, essential for some families. I'll admit tho, that I do believe there are some recipients of free lunches that do not need them.

most of those comments come from a man who calls himself "All knowing and self actualized"...

he also said this.. "Why should my taxes pay to feed a child whose mother who is too lazy too work or keep her legs closed? "

He's a real smart one, that gordon, because he says so.

I'll echo Val P. on this, and just add one more semi-snarky tidbit before I close my book on it all together. With vocal advocates/"allies" like these, do Conservatives and Republicans even need Democrats?

My simple proposal would be to utilize the current budget for "free lunch" and use it for healthy food for all of the children. Offer all of them "free healthy" (fruit, whole grains, salad bar, veggies etc.) Let the unhealthy be fee based, which could, sadly enough, possibly begin to supplement the healthy food.

Scott, I'd love to believe the Republicans in charge - note the "in charge" part, that's important - "would argue that there are serious inefficiencies within the school lunch program and, however well-intentioned it is, we might need to think about scaling it back or ending it, particularly during times of economic hardship." But, come on. Please. Here's what sensible, fair and compassiobate rhetoric is coming from the current Republican leadership: "Warning against the idea of child care as an entitlement, Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, reassured us: "Making people struggle a little bit is not necessarily the worst thing."

Catch that last part? "Making people struggle" is a stated objective by an influential Republican, the type who can set and influence policy (and not just post on blogs). Of course, those in the uppermost income brackets shall not be allowed to "suffer" one whit, as there shall be no talk whatsoever about scaling back or ending certain tax cuts, regardless of deficits, war and other "economic hardships".

"Mau-mauing"? I'm just paying close attention, son.

My parents divorced and for a while my mother simply couldn't afford to give us lunchmoney every day. We got lunches through the UK state-supported system and she worked her ass off to get a career off the ground she'd been forced to neglect whilst raising kids.

It had nothing to do with being rich or poor, it had everything to do with circumstance. Lets hope when these asshats suddenly lose everything on a bad investment or their trophy wife runs off with their life savings they remember what they said and eat it.

>>And what is with the Vaunted Badge of Shame?

Expamles: "Walk in my shoes..." "You don't know what it is like..."

It is a logical fallacy, an Appeal For Pity and an Appeal for Authority. It is an attempt to personalize an agrument, to misdirect people into thinking a discussion of public policy (i.e. the public good) is directed at an individual or group of an individuals. It is a dishonest ad hominem attempt to demonize someone making an argument.

When someone says that they are against the public policy of giving some kids school lunches they are against the policy, not trying to starve YOUR kids. Anger directed at them for thinking that is misplaced and unfair. Other people also have a stake as taxpayers and it is dishonest and illogical to deprive them of that by waving your "badge of shame" and flaunting your past or current misfortunes.

You were on the dole. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn't. It should have no bering on the discussion on matters of the public good. That is the point and why I put the phrase in quotes (i.e. it isn't a literal thing).

>>How do you debate rationally with people who think like that?

Maybe you should, you know, actually respond to their agruments instead of writing snarky posts on quotes taken out of context and smearing them as a whole.

>>Is this what the far right is thinking these days?

Has anybody claimed to be a spokesperson for such an entity?

>>I'm just wondering why so many of the comments from males

How do you know they are all males? Trying to drag this into the argument is called "poisioning the well" making any comment from a male suspect. It is also a logical fallacy.

Michele, I said it on my blog, and I'll say it again, you're my hero for doing all of this.

What I think we'd all like to see is well-fed children in our schools. In some cases that means we have to do it ourselves not as individuals, but instead as a nation. I'm all for personal responsibility. I think that we should make people be responsible for their actions, but that does not apply to little children who can't eat because Daddy ran off with Mommy's neighbor.

Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, these things matter not when it comes to kids who can't eat because their parents don't make enough scratch to keep them clothed and under a roof and going to school as well as feed them 24/7.

I know most of them are males, because most of them leave URLs to their sites, or I know them from previous debates.

As for my personal stake in this issue, I was for reduced and free lunches way before I became one of the statistics. It isn't so much personal as just what I think is right.

Michelle, here's your badge:

View image

>>I know most of them are males, because most of them leave URLs to their sites, or I know them from previous debates.

You ought to specify "most" then.

>>As for my personal stake in this issue, I was for reduced and free lunches way before I became one of the statistics.

Then you ought to defend your position without personalizing it, i.e. the two were mingled and unclear (this applies to most of the others). If others attacked you personally, your response on that issue should be directed at them and not their policies.

>> It isn't so much personal as just what I think is right.

I respectfully disagree, and it isn't because I hate women and poor children. But who cares what I think, you will quote me out of context anyway! Oh well, glad I could play the demon to help your hit count...

It's hard to quote you out of context when all your full comments are right here.

Conservative Liberal is Full of Shit.

Well let's hope they stay here and pieces of them don't show up on your blog as yet another example of the "far right demons" and so on...

"debate about the efficacy of social programs without partisan mau-mauing?"

If I'm not mistaken, the genesis of this argument was a Republican - Michele - being taken severely to task by some vehement uber-Republicans who consider her to be insufficiently conservative.

Meaning that her head doesn't explode whenever anyone speaks the words "school lunch" in her presence.

I don't get why Michele's detractors are making such a huge stink about this. Social Security and Medicare going down the drain? Huge war costs? Growing deficit? Huge yawn.

Some poor kids are being fed with what's basically pocket change? Let loose the dogs!

I've never seen such outrage over a comparatively trivial issue, and I'm really at a loss to explain the uproar. And before I get called a stinking socialist, I actually don't think the current lunch program is the best way to go about this problem.

And before I get called a heartless conservative for that: I prioritize. There are far huger problems plaguing us than having a child whose family isn't "poor enough" getting some free gubmint food. School lunches are way down my list of things to worry about, and they do some good.

"It is a logical fallacy, an Appeal For Pity and an Appeal for Authority. It is an attempt to personalize an agrument, to misdirect people into thinking a discussion of public policy (i.e. the public good) is directed at an individual or group of an individuals. It is a dishonest ad hominem attempt to demonize someone making an argument."

Well, it can be those things, and I agree that a lot of what goes on in and around blogs is just emotional button-pushing. But you're missing where Michele's comments fit in to the overall dialectic here: lots of folks are using as a premise in their discussions that there are no circumstances in which anyone could actually be so poor as to have trouble putting food on their families (as W. has said), unless it was due to their own stupidity and/or laziness. Michele is presenting herself as a counterexample to that premise, by articulating that she was in such a circumstance, and due neither to stupidity or laziness on her part. The "walk a mile" bit is there to encourage people to make vivid for themselves the reality of those circumstances, and thereby really see that her own experiences do, in fact, constitute a counterexample to their claims.

I disagree with Michele on oodles and oodles of topics, but there's nothing logically bad going on here.

The apparently heartless bastard in me sez:

It comes down to whether or not "Be Able To Sustain The Lives Of Those You Give Birth To" is a requirement of parenthood (Moms and Pops both) or not.

Hard times, sure. Rough patches, sure. Can't feed your offspring a slice of bread with some 99-cent peanut butter smeared on it? Hm. That's one hard, rough fucker of a time. Maybe your biggest concern shouldn't be sending your kid off to school to learn long divison... maybe it should be more along the lines of making sure your kid doesn't drop dead from lack of sustenance. Check out some local charities, apply for a loan, hock some crap you may have laying around... something?

Maybe?

My questions are really just... why is it the school's responsibility to make sure its students aren't starving, and why do the kids who aren't eligible for free food have to pay more to make up the difference? Why is any plan that aims to feed kids automatically "right?" A child without food doesn't create a loophole in principled logic.

Now I wait for someone to say that yes, it does.

There are parents that fuck up and the free-loading lazy bastards don't give a shit and expect the rest of us to make up for it.

Then there are parents that by their 'best' efforts still need help. My heart goes out to them.

BUT

Regardless of who or what their parents or legal guardians are: children need to eat lunch.

My God! Of all the things to get bent out of shape about in this screwed up world of ours, I would think that very low on the list would be whether or not we should feed school children.

"Regardless of who or what their parents or legal guardians are: children need to eat lunch."

I won't argue this problem. Yes, children do need to eat lunch. If, somewhere, there is a hungry child, this means that somebody, somewhere, has fucked up.

Now, why does the soloution to this problem, and many like it, always involve state assistance?

I do agree with Geoff's point that it is totally the wrong way to finance these meals by charging other kids more. It should come out of general revenues.

And, no, one hardly has to argue that any program that involves food entering a child's mouth "automatically right". All that's being argued is that the extant program involving giving hot meals to needy kids, and doing it through the 'government schools', is basically a good program. Not that it couldn't be improved, I'm sure, but that it's basically a good plan.

Some commentators have asked, why do it through the schools at all? Two obvious reasons are: (i) schools already have cafeterias, so we're in economy of scale territory here, and (ii) the kids are either about to be in school (for breakfast) or already in school (for lunch), so there are no extra incurred transportation costs.

oops! too quick on the draw:

Regardless of what end of the political spectrum you or I, or the parents in question lean toward. The kids have to eat, and therefore there are always those who have to 'pay' for it as well as those who benefit from the program. You can't please everybody. It's the nature of the 'social program'.

Why shouldn't it Geoff? If that's what it takes to make sure they get at least one decent meal offered to them a day (Granted, decent is relative when it comes to school food), then why not have the state administer it?

>>I disagree with Michele on oodles and oodles of topics, but there's nothing logically bad going on here.

Fair enough. But it wasn't just aimed a Michele, but other posters that were acting such. She just happend to quote it as though it was a personal insult.

Because it's not "the state" and "the people", they are one. We the people, using Congress as our elected representatives, decided to make feeding children not only a priority, but a matter of national security. Prove to me that there are deadbeat parents getting rich off of free school lunches. Prove it. You can't and won't. The will of the majority is that kids should eat for free or near free if possible. If you have the ability to change the will of the majority to your extreme minority position, more power to you, but I guarantee you won't. Ever. Meanwhile, I expect you never to enjoy a tax free shopping day again, nor purchase gasoline, or food for your home for that matter, as these are also federally subsidized. But you won't and can't. You don't get to pick and choose where your taxes go UNLESS you can change the will of the majority on the issue you want to change. Chances are slim it will happen, and I won't hold my breath.

Why not have the state administer it? Because the state can't even be bothered to spell my name correctly when telling me where and when I have to report to jury duty, for one. The state is not very good at a lot of things, and I think that the more we let them do, especially the more we let ourselves and our kids depend on it, the worse off we ultimately are.

And what if that's not what it takes? What if there were dozens of other options, and parents X and Y just decided it'd be easier to suckle the state teat rather than sell one of their four cars? There's no shortage of "what ifs" with this problem, yet not very many people seem to want to think past "KIDS HUNGRY. GUV'MENT FEED 'EM. HAPPY."

>>Because it's not "the state" and "the people", they are one.

This another meme that deserves to die. The state is the AGENT of the people. We live in a REPRESENTAIVE GOVERNMENT. Civics 101.

This program only represnts the will of the majority of legislators. THE MINORITY STILL HAVE A VOICE. Your attempt to kill debate on this issue is undemocratic in the least.

The rest of your argument is illogical nonsense. As long as I am a taxpayer I am in the right to question where and how my governmetn spends its money. THEY ARE ALSO MY AGENT, not just your precious majority.

Now, I'm not a parent, and I'm a lawyer who makes a fairly good wage.

I'm with Bill Whittle on this.

I support a safety net, not a safety hammock. What the hell are we paying taxes for, if not the "common good" and "common defense?" The safety net is triggered when an individual falls on hard times (in this instance that happened) and needs help (yup, that too) and it's defensible when they, then, stop needing it and then they stop receiving it.

This isn't an entitlement issue. This isn't even about handouts. This is about a taxpayer who had some trouble, and we, as citizens, helped her along.

To those of you that said that someone should "keep their legs crossed" I propose you tack on "and you men out there keep your damn cocks to yourselves unless you plan to pay for your childrens lunches." Or maybe you're just misogynists?

We've got social programs for a reason, and this is the reason. When you or I (and don't think it can't happen to you, bucko) have a problem, the state can give you a more gentle fall than you'd otherwise have, and, as happened here, ALLOW YOU TO GET BACK ON YOUR FEET AND STOP SUCKLING OFF THE STATE TEAT. That's the POINT. Help you get back and become useful again. Not join for life.

And that's what Michele did. In the immortal words of ten year olds everywhere: Duh.

That isn't the state. That's a bureaucratic functionary who probably didn't get enough to eat as child. Propose a bill that would elevate hiring standards. Point is, I'm not talking about The State, the monolithic entity that you think is out to get you, I'm talking about "the state", as in the collection of people who have chartered laws for a common purpose, one of which is to make sure the next generation is here to further the aims of that state. The best way to do this is to give a little back in taxes to improve nutrition for kids. No harm, no foul.

The most disturbing comments in all of this, the ones that I find personally offensive, aren't the ones that debate the value of the free lunch. There is room for debate there.

But what about the comments about the woman who should have kept her legs zipped, or should have used birth control, etc etc etc. This is also a common refrain in these debates, and one that is personal, and that puts all the onus of providing food for the kids on the mother. What happened to the father? Shouldn't he have kept his trousers zipped? Used a condom? Gotten a job so he could get off his fat ass and support his kids?

There's a debate worth pursuing when you start asking how far the state should go in providing for those who cannot provide for themselves - which in this case would be the hungry kids. But any debate becomes meaningless as soon as the mud slinging starts.

I have always wondered if it is possible to argue for or against programs like the free lunch (and free breakfast) without considering whom the parents are.

Those comments that are meant to put blame on the woman for not feeding her kids really need to address the men that are failing to provide for their children. If you are not going to be a man, do not help to create a child. (have sex) Lack of compassion for where people are at can really piss me off. People that act like they have it all together and the kids can just starve for all they care. But compassion that comes from the state always seems to come with dependancy strings attached. The state always is trying to enroll more people for their programs, and say that it is for the kids. A single mom that is doing all she can to feed and raise her kids the best that she can - vs. - Family that owns their home and buys their groceries and could just as easily pack a lunch every day for their kids but because their income "qualifies" them, they get free lunch. That is hard to argue as a good thing.

Need - vs. - conveniance

I say this as I eat my sandwich, I would rather eat a hot lunch that someone made for me at a resturant.

Public education is there to mold our childrens thoughts to conform with the principals of socialism. And free lunch is just as much a right as free health care.

Kids should not starve, and if there is a need, it can be met without fedgov.

Geoff, are you telling me that no private corporation has ever (i) misspelled your name (ii) charged you for something it shouldn't have (or failed to charge you for something it should have); (iii) adopted policies that struck you as idiotic, inefficient, and/or completely counterproductive to the explicit goals of the company; (iv) generally acted in a manner that benefited some particular group within the company, instead of the company as a whole, customers, and/or shareholds? Etc., etc., etc.

Sure, there are lots of things that governments don't do well. There are lots of things it does do well, too. And there are lots of things that other organizations do do well, and lots of things that other organizations don't do well. Is there some reason to think that feeding kids is something the government will be particularly bad at, and some other entity will be particularly good at?

I'm not trying to kill debate. Clearly, you have the ability to shout it from the rooftops. I'm just trying to point out that your argument will fail. You won't change anyone's mind on this. We want the next generation to be healthy and take care of us, and where individual parents might need help, the state can lend that hand. Kids shouldn't be asked to particpate in survival of the fittest in a nation that keeps them as minors until age 18.

"This is about a taxpayer who had some trouble, and we, as citizens, helped her along."

Yes. That's what this is about. I guess... I guess I just wish somebody would have asked, instead of taken under threat of imprisonment. Charity seems less meaningful if it's obtained via threats. Call me old-fashioned.

This is why I'll continue to espouse the goodness of private charities over government programs.

And I have yet to see anyone explain why it's so super-keen-ultra-fabulous that the kids who have been deemed "haves" would be forced to pay for the kids who have been deemed "have-nots."

>>I'm just trying to point out that your argument will fail.

It hasn't failed, though there have been 1-2 posts that have valid challenges. You have just resorted to a fallacy, Appeal to Popularity.

>>You won't change anyone's mind on this.

I bet I have, if they actually have an open mind and don't resort to cliched "conservative boogyman" arguments.

>>We want the next generation to be healthy and take care of us, and where individual parents might need help, the state can lend that hand.

Who doesn't? My question is wether the current system is FAIR and JUST or is there ALTERNATIVES and also that those defending it really haven't thought it through and are resorting to fallacies and name-calling.

Here is one alternative,

A food stamp program that only applies to lunch items, it would force the parent to pack a lunch everyday for their child. And get rid of all kitchens at school.

Geoff, part of the money I "took" for my daughter's free lunch was my money that I put into the system via taxes.

Until concrete action has been taken on your part, your argument is just demagoguery. I admit I like knowing where my dimes are going, but I have no problem with them going to feed children.

What is a better system? Who will propose it? You? Will you solve this issue? Change it, man, don't just sit here and tell us what you think we should hear. We believe the system works.

Nnnnooo... JW, I don't think I told anyone all that. I apologize if I wasn't clear enough, but my point was that if an institution is gonna demand money from me for the undefinable purpose, "The Common Good," and then not even bother spelling my name correctly when they demand that I give up a portion of my own time to perform a duty (also for "The Common Good"), I read that as a kind of indifferent "fuck you" coming from said institution.

And when a private institution (for-profit, I'm assuming) spells my name wrong, I think there's a fairly good chance that I'll be able to correct them. After all, they want my money, and they don't expect to get my money if I'm displeased with them. The state has no reason to give Shit One how they spell my name. They're not accountable.

>>Until concrete action has been taken on your part, your argument is just demagoguery.

Irrelevent. I have stated my case numerous times, yet to see a valid response from you.

>>What is a better system? Who will propose it?

Read my comments. And when is debate and argumentation in a democracy considered "not doing anything"? Disturbing....

>>We believe the system works.

Do you even know why?

Of course it's irrelevent. It's easy to talk. Words are cheap. A modern day Demosthenes. Logic doesn't suggest wisdom in this case.

"Geoff, part of the money I "took" for my daughter's free lunch was my money that I put into the system via taxes."

Right, Michele. And I can't see why you'd have any problem with that-- nobody'd have a reason to see a problem with feeding their own kids.

But what about everyone else? The ones without kids, or the ones who simply don't want to feed other peoples' kids? Sure, maybe they're crazy, maybe they're bat-shit-lunatic insane, or cruel, heartless, stone-cold bastards. But why do they have less of a right to their own money than other people?

>> It's easy to talk. Words are cheap.

You are proving yourself right.

To expand a little on my last comment-- Though I might not like how my health insurance company handles things, and thought I might not even like the fact that every week I pay lots of dollars to an organization who has yet to do anything for me, you can be damn certain that if I get hit by a bus and have to go to the hospital, I'll be asking my insurance company to pay for my medical bills. It's easy (and right) for me to do that, because I've been giving them my money.

That's why I'm not against Michele, or anyone who's taken advantage of these lunch programs. (Well, I suppose I'm against the people who use the programs as a "hammock" instead of a "net," but nowhere near as many people will disagree with me on that) What I'm against is how the programs are run, which is an extention of who and what they're run by.

I don't see the point in complaining about school lunches. What about sports teams (most students don't get to participate), Academic Decathalon trips (ditto), etc? All schools, public and private, feature countless programs available to, or of interest to, only a minority of the students. So if we're going to eliminate lunches (which at least serve a useful academic purpose -- hungry children don't learn well), then by all means let's eliminate football (which serves no useful academic purpose at all) too.

Conservative Liberal, if you're not male, all your crap about "logical fallacies" and berating people for not having the high toned logical arguments you do mean that you're just pretending to be a male grad school wanker. And why in the world would you do that?

The government provides football?

Geoff, you might want to say "utilized" these programs, not "taken advantage of" these programs.

Jane Finch: Why do you pretend to be a polite human being? Why not say what you REALLY mean and admit I rattled your chain.

OH GOOD GOD. Could you people PLEASE debate like adults and not fling insults at each other?

(even if they ARE snooty insults.)

Since I've lived here in N. CA this city has provided not only free lunch for those kids that needed it, but they provide breakfast for needy kids AND their parents. The reasoning behind the breakfast is that this county is poor and there are quite a lot of starving kids and families. And not just because someone got irresponsibly pregnant. Free breakfast was started almost 8 years ago in order to encourage parents to take interest in their kids, to give them a moment of family time and as part of some of the parents rehab (we have a large number of meth parents here). In addition to free lunch and free breakfast, the programme also has funding to provide needy kids with Hygiene Paks - monthly packages of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, band-aids, etc. It has been a successful programme which none of the taxpayers here have ever complained about.

Free lunches are nice.
Why can't we as adults get free lunches instead of having to bay 4-10 bucks a day for a sandwich, drink, and side? Did we stop needing sustenance after graduation?
This is ridiculous. If the adult can feed him or herself during the day, through whatever means, whether it be food stamps or a weekly paycheck, then there's no reason the adult can't pack his or her kid a simple lunch.
Why not take the dang tax money for food and put it into school supplies, so parents don't have to fork over hundreds of dollars each year to get them #$@! paper, pencils, or what not. That's where the stupid food money is going.

Tracy- Why would I want to pretty up my language? "Take advantage of" only has negative connotations to those whose minds are already determined to associate negativity to that phrase. The program offers advantages, and some people took those advantages. Hence, the phrase.

While I'm at it, "utilized" sounds cold and inhuman.

I'm with Blondie. Before you go snarking at the women for not keeping their legs closed, how about the men who won't help pay for the children THEY created?

In my own personal circumstances, my ex walked out the door and never came back, leaving me with no job, no car, 100 miles from my home town, a 3 year old and a 13 month old. I got an entry level job, which paid the maginificent sum of $10,200 per year, and lived in an apartment not exactly in the high rent district (to put it mildly).

My ex never paid me a DIME in child support, but he's now paying for a child from his second marriage $30,000 A YEAR FOR HIM TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL.

Now, I'm not here to debate about school lunch program; to me, they were a godsend. However, if you're so mad that I took money from the government, why don't you get it back from him? I still don't have the standard of living he does, but I have something more; the love of these children, and them telling him point blank to his face that I come way before him.

Elizabeth
Imperial Keeper

But what about everyone else? The ones without kids, or the ones who simply don't want to feed other peoples' kids? Sure, maybe they're crazy, maybe they're bat-shit-lunatic insane, or cruel, heartless, stone-cold bastards. But why do they have less of a right to their own money than other people?

Geoff, this being the basic premise of your argument, I suggest you move to an unhabited rock in the middle of the ocean and stay there. Much as we all hate taxes, they are the price of living in society. I don't like where my tax money goes either (not even to school lunches) but because I want to remain living in a civilized society with police and fire protection and fairly well paved streets and the like, I pay. More importanly, I recognize the necessity of paying even if I do not like all that I'm paying for. It's not theft really, because you have the opportunity to go elsewhere if you don't want to pay.

I'm not willing to move to a deserted rock to make sure that a bunch of kids don't get fed with my money. Are you?

Alright, I got about halfway through THIS version of the school lunch comments, and have to clarify some things...

As I surmized in an earlier comment, ALL the school lunches are subsidized. ALL OF THEM.

The gov't gives the school back $2.19 for each "free lunch" they serve, and a whopping $0.05 for each lunch bought. That includes teachers, adults, rich kids, everyone. And for EACH AND EVERY lunch sold, the school is then entitled to $15+ in commodity credit, i.e., free food stuffs to use in their school lunch program.

So do you get it now ? Other kids are NOT paying more for their lunch so some can have a free lunch. And the $2.19 reimbursement rate - that is about as solid an incentive as their is for the costs of the program to come out to $2.19 per lunch. Try finding a decent lunch at your local corporate cafeteria for that.

You qualify for a "free" school lunch at or below 130% of the poverty line, which for a single mom with 2 kids is ~$15,250, up to a maximum of $19,825. That is gross income. You start taking out Social Security, health insurance (if she's lucky), and you are probably down 20%. Divide that up and see what you have for the month. Then take out rent, utilities, etc. and see what's left. It ain't much, folks. If you assume they get an allowance for a car, say $100 a month, you aren't talking much more than $10 a day.

Now, I like PB&J as much as the next guy, but I'm sorry, eating a PBJ for every lunch every day, that sucks ass. That is no more a solution than anything else, so just zip it.

Nothing like a few "facts" to muck up the holier than thou far right viewpoint.

This is a gov't program to make sure kids are fed at school. Why is it that it should be a gov't program that is implemented at schools ? I can't even believe I'm answering this, but here goes:

ALL THE KIDS EAT LUNCH AT SCHOOL THAT IS PAID FOR BY GOV'T TAX DOLLARS. How hard is that to understand ? Charity is a neat idea, but just a WEE bit harder to implement, especially in an equitable manner. I can't imagine any charity that might proceed from a somewhat questionable point of ethics, thus discriminating against certain groups they find objectionable.

>>ALL THE KIDS EAT LUNCH AT SCHOOL THAT IS PAID FOR BY GOV'T TAX DOLLARS.

But some children are obviously more equal than other children under the current program. If it were otherwise, why is there even the process and forms? A nickle is still not two dollars. You will have to explain the $15+ credit in more detail or provide a link.

It seems to me that those whose parents worked harder, are luckier, refuse to sign the forms and take a handout etc. still have to pay MORE.

A solution would be an equal distribution of lunch money. No hocus pocus fuzzy math.

But as I hinted at before, I think the real motivation of these posts is self-congratulation for having a "badge of shame" and standard envy and spite for people that they perceive as being their betters. These are important psychological factors for many people, and makes this more than about school lunches.

My question is why not be more honest about it?

But as I hinted at before, I think the real motivation of these posts is self-congratulation for having a "badge of shame" and standard envy and spite for people that they perceive as being their betters.

Conservative Liberal, if one thing is clear from this thread it is that you are no one's "better."

I want to know where Geoff thinks we can find 99 cent peanut butter. Tell me the store, I am SO there.

As for everything else...I am far too shocked to even respond.

First of all, I don't think anyone here that has posted stories of their less than wealthy past is looking for any "badge of shame".

Now, if you are talking about self-congratulations for having overcome long odds to better oneself later in life...

That just happens to be the American Dream. Horatio Alger and all that jazz. Pulled themselves up by the boot straps. Thats a good thing in case you didn't know. Those people OUGHT to take pride in where they were, and what they had to do to get where they are today.

You call it whatever you like, but from where I sit, it sure sounds like someone taking pride in their ability to raise their children, no matter what they had to do, and you and Vinny and pals pissing on their pride. Real nice.

My apologies, Faith. I didn't get the letter in the mail that asked me to check box "A" for Move To Deserted Rock, or check box "B" for Pay My Taxes And Don't Ask Questions.

Wait-- maybe you're the one. Are you the one who gets to decide what's necessary for living in a civilized society? If you are, I have some questions for ya... You said, "More importanly, I recognize the necessity of paying even if I do not like all that I'm paying for," and if that applies to more than, say, a small handful of situations, then congratulations! You're a sucker.

At least now I know that Sherard is the guy who gets to decide what "sucks ass" and what doesn't. PB+J every day sucks ass, but a rotating sandwich schedule including ham and cheese, bologna, and maybe a grilled cheese now and then, I guess that wouldn't suck as much ass, and should therefore be made public policy.

Because yeah, my goal is to make sure that no kids eat, ever.

If there's one thing I've learned from this discussion, it's that if something involves children, you just don't ask questions.

"I want to know where Geoff thinks we can find 99 cent peanut butter. Tell me the store, I am SO there."

The discount food store, Jo.

Heard of those? I bought food there when I was poor and in college. They had all kinds of great, discontinued flavors of Yoo-Hoo, like Mint Chocolate and Coconut.

Geoff:

I feel I've more than paid for my "taking" by paying taxes for more than 26 years (I even paid taxes when the children were in the school lunch program). And I'm very happy to pay my school taxes (and I have not had children in school since 1997, by the way), so some other person's child has a good meal and can become a productive citizen.

And, for your information, those "poor" children I have are now: a RN, an optical technician, and a bartender, who also pay taxes. So I think we've paid your "forced" contribution back tenfold or more.

Elizabeth
Imperial Keeper

...though MAYBE not every single state, county, municipality, town, and village has its own discout food store. It could even be that there are towns in America where you can't find a jar of peanut butter for under seven dollars. But how can poor people afford to live in those towns?

I'm just saying...

Sherard:
Nice try. But I already defined the "badge of shame" to mean using your misfortune to try to avoid an argument.

I am for the American dream as much as anyone else. But it is pretty clear that most of the sob stories were Appeals to Pity or attempts to shame people into submission, neither of which are valid.

You may dispute that's their motivation and state your reasons. But instead you choose to try to smear me as someone who pisses on people that raise their children. Why? Did I hit close to home?

I guess I'm a sucker Geoff, because the list is pretty long: welfare, jails (the death penalty will eliminate the need), unemployment insurance, farm subsidies, school lunches, museums.... While I'm a sucker, I'm not so foolish as to believe that my preferences will always, or ever, prevail. I vote, I debate, I particiate in the democratic process, but in the end I don't consider the use of my money for things which I don't like to be theft. It's just that I lost the argument.

But as I hinted at before, I think the real motivation of these posts is self-congratulation for having a "badge of shame" and standard envy and spite for people that they perceive as being their betters. These are important psychological factors for many people, and makes this more than about school lunches.

Nice try. But I already defined the "badge of shame" to mean using your misfortune to try to avoid an argument.

I am for the American dream as much as anyone else. But it is pretty clear that most of the sob stories were Appeals to Pity or attempts to shame people into submission, neither of which are valid.

CL, you are hopeless.

1. I didn't avoid an argument. I think I made my position on the issue pretty clear, and stated why I feel the way I do and that I would even if I was never in the position to have to rely on reduced lunches.

2. Thanks for the psychological analysis. How much do you I owe you for that drivel?

Oh, ok, Geoff, you are hip to eating PBJ every day for lunch, then ?

Well have at it, then. If you aren't willing to do it, then I'm not sure what right you or anyone else has dictating that if you can afford to feed your kid a PBJ for lunch everyday, then hip hip hooray, let's get rid of the free lunch program.

Geoff, taxes are here to stay. Now we can debate til the cows come home what the Gov't should or should not be doing with our taxes, and how much we should even be paying for taxes. Based on your apparent ideology, you start working real hard to get a libertarian party on equal footing with the Dems and Reps. Because none of the current sitting congressmen or the president are particularly interested in reducing gov't taxation and spending like you want. So your angle on this discussion is somewhat irrelevant.

The US Gov't is spending roughly $6.7 Billion a year to subsidize ALL school lunch programs. They reimburse the schools for every lunch sold, moreso for those that qualify for free and reduced lunches. They also get subsidies for donated agricultural commodities (at 16 cents per lunch sold, not dollars, my bad).

Here is the school lunch program link:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/AboutLunch/AboutNLSP.htm

I understand your contempt for tax subsidized social programs. In this case, however, it is hard to argue the value that is provided, or the logistical simplicity of the program as administered.

Your argument is an idealistic one that has almost no hope of every becoming reality. That is not intended to squelch debate, but simply a fact of life. Most of us here defending the program disagree with you, especially in regards to this specific program.

To scrap the lunch program because of some corruption is nothing more than throwing the baby out with the bath water. Nobody here is in favor of funneling tax dollars to free lunches for people that can afford it. And for a family of three, that threshold is legally at slightly less than $20,000. Can those people "afford" to provide their kids a lunch ? Probably, but at the expense of what other necessity ?

Overall, I find anyone's presumption that they are entitled to dictate how a single mom of two making less than $20,000 ought to spend her money, to the point of declaring that her children shouldn't get a free lunch at school.

Elizabeth, my point isn't and never was that YOU owe ME anything. Read my health insurance bit up above somewhere-- if the system is a certain way, then I'm for damn sure not gonna point fingers at people who participate in the system. What I AM gonna do is criticize the system.

My point is that the way the system is set up now sucks. You say, "And I'm very happy to pay my school taxes (and I have not had children in school since 1997, by the way), so some other person's child has a good meal and can become a productive citizen," and I say "Fantastic! Good for you! It sure is a damn shame that other people are allowed to think differently, isn't it?"

Saying "I don't want my money to pay for other peoples' kids" is NOT the same as saying "Please murder other peoples' kids."

"Your argument is an idealistic one that has almost no hope of every becoming reality."

Wow.

Well, I guess that's it then. Nothin' left to do but abandon all principles and give up. Where do I stand in line to take a number so I can get fucked in the ass?

Michele:
But you didn't respond to later comments. Instead you took comments out of context and marginalized them en mass as "smug, self-centered, arrogant, nasty." Not nice, nor very honest.

>>Thanks for the psychological analysis. How much do you I owe you for that drivel?

How much do I owe for the cliched response? YOu don't thint my point doesn't apply to SOME posters here? Love to hear your reasons.

I am for the American dream as much as anyone else. But it is pretty clear that most of the sob stories were Appeals to Pity or attempts to shame people into submission, neither of which are valid.

Clear to you maybe, and you alone, it appears. To me it seems pretty clear they are only defending themselves against people like you and Vinny who would default to categorizing them all as either stupid or lazy.

And no, pal, you didn't hit too close to home. How to make yourself feel self-important there. I make over 6 times the poverty level for a family of 3. But I'm not so damn greedy that I have to keep every last penny at the expense of kids who might get stuck eating PBJ's made from generic peanut butter and jelly for every lunch of everyday if it were up to you.

Please God, make it stop.

>>Clear to you maybe, and you alone, it appears.

Of course I know it is clear to me. I don't read minds.

>>To me it seems pretty clear they are only defending themselves against people like you and Vinny who would default to categorizing them all as either stupid or lazy.

I am not Vinny and never once said they were all stupid or lazy. I don't know anyone here personally, I am critiquing their arguments.

>> I make over 6 times the poverty level for a family of 3.

Congrats.

>>But I'm not so damn greedy that I have to keep every last penny...

You don't know SHIT about my personal spending habits. So drop the ad hominem bullshit, OK? And I would rather my child ate PBJs than unfairly live off someone else. And even if I did live unfairly off someone else I would have the courage to admit it instead of spewing illogic and hatred and waving my "badge of shame" like it was some sort of badge of honor.

Sorry, wait, before I bend over:

"If you aren't willing to do it [eat PBJ every day], then I'm not sure what right you or anyone else has dictating that if you can afford to feed your kid a PBJ for lunch everyday, then hip hip hooray, let's get rid of the free lunch program."

That, sir, is a steamy pile of poo. If I'm not willing to eat PBJ every day? I'm not in a position where I have to, nor did I have anything to do with creating anyone's situation in which they might have to eat PBJ every day.

That was illogic at its finest.

As this discussion continues, it plunges deeper into senseless, un-discussable emotionalism. I pretty much have to give up, as every attempt I've made here to present a principled, consistent point of view has been met with cries of "but MY kids turned out great, you selfish prick!" and "Unless YOU want to subject yourself to nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, your 'proposal' is worthless."

I can't really say anything else. I respectfully bow out of this, as it is going abso-frigging-lutely nowhere at this point.

CL

I do consider it a badge of honor. A badge I won by supporting children that a self-centered jerk of a man deserted, raising them to adulthood, to become productive citizens.

What I resented are comments that it's all the women's fault for having these children and not being able to support them. As I tell the children, I didn't get you with Green Stamps (and yes, I'm showing my age). They had a father who didn't do diddly squat for them, not a birthday present, not a christmas present, NOTHING. In fact, he didn't show up again until they were 18 and 20. So the hard work was over, and he could take the credit.

So if you want to blame someone, blame him. I did the best I could with what I had, and if I got a helping hand, I'm grateful for it.

Elizabeth
Imperial Keeper

Geoff: I agree. Very few can make any arguments here without emotionalizng or personalizing or making personal attacks. "Facts" were thrown without citation and comments taken out of context and posted on blog entries as "arguments".

Perhaps people here should learn how to debate civilly and resonably, a key foundation of democracy.

I am outta here. Don't expect me to return.

Elizabeth: You make your own fate, take responsibilty for it. Refusing this responsibilty is not an honor, regardless of what you tell your kids. Tell your kids what you must, but don't deceive yourself or use your misfortune to club people into your viewpoint.

I don't blame anyone. We all have misfortune -- life is mostly misfortune. All I want is people to THINK. That is the only way life will improve.

That is all I am going to say.

it blows me away that people would get so riled up about a program that provides a free lunch to CHILDREN.

C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N.

C
H
I
L
D
R
E
N

Unfuckingbelievable.

And I swear to God, Chet, if you say 'CHARITY' one more time...

takes another prozac

Tell me, gentlemen, how are folks supposed to not interject emotions into arguments about whether or not children should be fed? It is a tender subject for certain.

Do I have kids? Nope. But I am pleased that my tax dollars would go to feed someone else's child, if that child is needy. I am honestly surprised that everyone doesn't feel the same.

Yvonne: How about a program that involves forcing senior citizens, homosexuals, and minorites to work in a salt mine, and instead of paying them for their work, take that money and buy kids' lunches with it.

It gives kids free lunches... HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY BE AGAINST MY PLAN?!?!?!

This is the exact kind of non-thinking I'm talking about. Me go bye-bye now.

All those comments you quoted look spot on to me.

Of course they do, Geoffrey. Most of them were yours.

Well, you should have given me credit, then.

Hey, don't mind those folks who can't see that feeding the children that need it is a good idea. There are more supporters of that idea than there are against. It IS A GOOD IDEA....

Feeding children that need it is a GREAT idea. All parents should do it.

Some of these comments are genuinely mean, and that's coming from someone who's a pretty staunch conservative. I mean, I'm not the biggest fan of the school lunch program, but unlike a lot of welfare programs at least it ensures that the beneficiaries actually get something that's useful to children, as opposed to something that can be converted into, say, drugs. (Not that everyone on welfare is on drugs, but the convertability of welfare benefits of various kinds into drugs is a significant moral hazard of such programs). There are many worse programs.

That said, there are two more valid criticisms of school lunch programs: (1) the need for them is debatable at a time when the biggest health problem facing poor children is obesity, and (2) they tend to be corporate-welfare boondoggles for Big Food, which can use gummint subsidies to overcharge Uncle Sucker. I don't have a link handy, but I know I've seen some fairly damning discussions of the role of major foodsellers in keeping these programs alive and the profit margins they earn as a result.

Sounds like the Metafilterites and the Indymidiots don't have the monopoly on hatefulness.
There's a hell of a lot wrong with the American public school system. Free lunches are COMPLETELY INSIGNIFICANT next to the rest of the multimillion dollar tax drainage. Just ask any kid who's ever had the football coach as an algebra teacher.

I have a solution for all you free loaders. Get a job. Feed your kid. End of dicussion.

And I have a solution for all you self-righteous "oh just feed your kids" asshats. Get a brain. "End of discussion."

{highfives Andrea Harris}

CL:

I guess I should have just deserted them too, and have the taxpayers support them totally. Just left them in foster care and have the taxpayers pick up the whole tab, disappearing to live my life free and clear. Heck, you probably could have paid for college educations for them. Darn, how could I have been so silly as to try to support them.

How very stupid of me.

/sarcasm

Elizabeth
Imperial Keeper

Andrea,
Please explain to me why I should have to feed your kid for you?

The BARE neccessities that a parent must provide for their child is food, shelter, and clothing.

If you cannot provide any of the above, then you are grossly neglient and irresponsible. You shouldn't be a parent. The Dept of Human Services should take your children from your deadbeat ass so they don't grow up to be like you.

Gordon, we got your point. A hundred times. We know you don't want to feed our kids and that anyone who happens upon unfortunate circumstances where they must ask for help in feeding their children should all go to jail and/or rot in hell.

Now, go away. I'm closing the comments here because you are seriously irritating me by continuing a discussion that is going nowhere.

Also, I believe that you are just a jerk who has nothing better to do than go around to blogs and start fights. I don't think you even believe half of what you say.

Shoo.