Those who wanted a non-inflationary increase in the reimbursement of school lunches had to wait almost two generations (1973-2011) and even then, could only get a 6¢ increase.
A couple of schools complain about the calorie count and how they're "starving"? They didn't even have to wait 3 months.
The Department of Agriculture is getting rid of limits on grains and meats for school lunches. While the calorie limits are still in place theoretically, the rules change allows for unlimited grains (bread, etc.) and meat. Sounds a lot like what schools used to do. Sigh!
We laughed at the lame video from the school in Kansas. We mocked the kids in Wisconsin who couldn't survive on 850 calories for lunch. And yet, the powers that be listened to them and made those changes as soon as they could.
These small protests made an impact on a group of senators who complained to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The senators are lead by John Hoeven (R-ND) and also include John Barrasso (R-WY), Dan Coates (R-IN), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), and John Thune (R-SD).
We hear a lot about government interference in what our school kids are eating/should be eating. Then again, government interference got these specific changes revoked pretty quickly. Government interference protected potatoes and counted tomato paste as a vegetable.
When "government interference" tries to help kids eat better in the school system, cries of "big brother" rang out. This government interference: "working out the kinks."
The divide is not purely along party lines in Congress; still waiting for a prominent Republican politician to step up in favor of school lunch reform. A number of Democratic politicians also run scared of helping school kids eat better.
So maybe this is a liberal/conservative split about whether school lunches should be improved and made healthier. True, but there is another faction at work.
Politicians from farm states treat the USDA and the school lunch program as a dumping ground for whatever crops were grown. Fruits and vegetables don't count in their eyes, but grains and meat do.
For these politicians, this isn't about Republican or Democratic, obesity or fitness. This is about patronage, government subsidies for their crops. This is the type of government interference that the citizens in those states would normally blast their representatives for doing.
When these citizens perceive that this is "good government interference," you hear nary a peep. When Michelle Obama and liberals want to help these kids eat better, well, that is "bad government interference."
We have argued in these pages that government does good and bad for the school lunch program and farm subsidies. If these programs thought more about the children and less about selfish political interests, that would be good government — not interference but help.