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The New York Times reports that one of many “little-noticed” provisions in Obama administration laws is forcing school districts to raise school lunch prices for those families that pay for them. Schools duly complying have faced a barrage of parents questioning the change.
Of course, as I report in today’s School Reform News, school lunches are already a massive subsidy from middle-class and wealthy families to poor ones. Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 only made this wealth transfer more explicit by immensely expanding federal food subsidies (including forcing states to let districts choose “free for all” lunch programs by 2014) and effectively insisting middle-class and wealthy families pick up the tab, both beforehand as taxpayers and at the lunch counter with higher prices.
Perhaps Americans want to increasingly subsidize people who have less money from the pockets of people who have more. But I doubt it. The entire mentality this engenders endangers our republic. Just listen to the kind of language coming from federal officials about the program increases.
Price increases threaten to upend the delicate balance of school food operations, Mr. Goldstein said, as they might compel more parents to pack their children’s lunches or to skip on paying cafeteria lunch fees altogether…
“We want to serve the same food for everyone, in the same cafeteria, to have everyone eating together,” Mr. Goldstein said. “It shouldn’t be that we have to say, this is for this child, and this is for that child, and here’s money to pay for this and here’s money for that.”
Heaven forfend! More parents packing lunches for their kids! What is this world coming to?
Image by Ben W.