Big Mama is Watching

Step aside Big Brother. Big Mama’s here to rattle those pots and pans. There’s no job too small, or item too insignificant to escape my sharp eyes. Begone your celebratory school cupcakes, your school bake sales of yummy, sugary products, particularly those horrid chocolate bars by which you raise money. Challenge me and you lose your federal money AND those poisonous goods. I’ll smack you down like an annoying bug.

As for your school breakfasts and lunches – dinner or afternoon snacks,too, if you offer them – you get my calories assorted the way I want and in the quantity I want. Big Mama knows best. We got the science (for now) on our side. Forget all those old government, low fat worries. Now it’s sugars, sodium, the right grains AND fat (meat) that are on our list. Yes, you will eat your broccoli and spinach and salads and other leafy things or you just won’t eat. As for those sugary soft drinks and snacks at sports concession stands forget about it. You’ll get low fat, low sodium, and low sugar whatever Big Mama says.

If you think I’m making fun of Michelle Obama, go right ahead. Be my guest. However, if Big Brother (Orwell’s “1984” novel) is a good enough phrase to refer to the ever-watching, always intruding government in general, Big Mama is apt for programs that intrude in the kitchen. Besides, while Michelle O might champion the program, it was a nearly all male, majority Democratic congress that passed this child nutrition bill in 2010. Yes, four years ago and it’s still being implemented and expanded and will be for another four years or so. It did not require exercise programs, but why not?

That bill increased eligibility for each and every school food across this country, defined nutrition, called for using locally produced foods, increased spending ( $4.5 billion ) and expanded jurisdiction to fund raising bake sales and concession stands at sporting events. Is it bad that our children (and we) should eat the proper food? Of course not. Is it bad that Michelle O promotes better eating? Of course not. Nothing wrong with promoting, persuading, or recommending.

However, contemplating the big, bulky, gigantic federal bureaucracy, planning a school menu, and enforcing such regulations, is a big mouthful to swallow. These aren’t guidelines, by the way. These are mandatory programs or you don’t get the federal subsidies for the food. That requires inspections, auditing, a broadened bureaucracy to monitor the diets and changing science and food availabilities and so forth and so on. As an example, just reading the agenda on the Department of Agriculture website regarding the program took me one hour. And that wasn’t getting into details.

All has not gone smoothly. Some school districts have dropped out of the program calculating that it cost more to implement the program than they got in federal subsidies. A number of states have created escape clauses or other “outs”. Some have reported that the kids are throwing away too much of the food. Others have reported that the kids don’t get enough food, particularly athletes. Calories, by the way, are dictated by the feds. K-5 get 550-650 calories; 6-8 grades get 600-700; 9-12 get 750 -850. Those are calories in leafy vegs, beans, fruits, and grains and milk for the most part.

As for those school fund raisers for special trips, special causes, special equipment or extras, it will have to be nutrition bars. Of course, no one is starving. Kids may not like the good and may not eat it. But, if they are hungry enough they will. We pamper kids too much anyway. But, can’t the vast majority of parents be trusted to raise their children without the dictates of the far removed and often mistaken federal government? If government can control school lunches, why can’t they control our grocery stores or work places as in  all work places shall direct a vigorous 20-minute exercise program daily or forfeit all tax deductions for expenses”? Government always knows best, doesn’t it?

And, anyway, it is no longer the people who give power to the government, but the government who permits the people to have a bit of power when it sees fit.


Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Gabber publishers, staff or advertisers.

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