Michelle Obama is not a nutritionist. She is not a doctor. And she is not elected. Yet she is pushing the way school children eat, and imposing rules that her own children do not have to adhere to through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which was passed in 2010. And it is the Obama way to change behavior by force without input from those most affected.
The idea of improving school lunches was a fine idea, and there were surely a raft of consultants who weighed in on the program development. But as is the case with so many government attempts to butt in where it is not wanted, the program has been a dismal failure.
The new food choices are abysmal and exceedingly meager. So bad, in fact, that the internet has been flooded with pictures taken by school children of food that is generally unidentifiable, unappetizing, and plain old inedible.
This by kids who often depend for their nutritional needs to be met by meals served at school. Sodium, sugar, white grains, and condiments are limited or prohibited. Food that school children like to eat has essentially disappeared.
Millions of school provided meals are ending up in the trash can, and a black market for salt, sugar, and other items has developed at many schools. And incredibly, the cost for serving these bland, unappetizing and unwanted meals is costing more than expected. Given the fact that a state like Alabama was given over $210 million by the Federal government to serve these meals, it is truly astonishing that the program is over budget.
Additionally, over 1.4 million school children have stopped eating school lunches since the program was started. But Michelle and the government have a plan. It is called force.
New program to force schools to make the unpopular program work
The government knows nothing about market forces, and if a program does not work, it invariably resorts to brute force. In this case, it is the stick of withholding funding from needy schools. That is a far cry from the free market where if a business does not satisfy its customers, it goes out of business.
It is amazing that anyone, even ignorant bureaucrats, would think that financially punishing schools will help resolve the school lunch program rather than improving the product so that children would want to eat what is served. But as we have seen with both Obama’s, their arrogance has no limits, and what they decree is, by their definition, the correct solution. And so we have the following new rules being imposed:
The federal government is taking steps to fine schools that do not comply with first lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch rules.
The regulation would punish schools and state departments with fines for “egregious or persistent disregard” for the lunch rules that imposed sodium and calorie limits and banned white grains.
“Under section 303, the Secretary or a State agency may establish an assessment against any school food authority or school administering the Child Nutrition Programs if the Secretary or the State agency determines that the school or school food authority failed to correct severe mismanagement of any program, failed to correct repeated violations of program requirements, or disregarded a requirement of which they have been informed,” the proposed rule states.
The Food and Nutrition Service is targeting schools that refuse to comply with Mrs. Obama’s lunch rules and said monetary penalties are a “useful tool” to get noncompliant cafeterias in line.
Calling the fines an “assessment” against a school, the agency said the fines would amount to 1 percent of the total amount the school was reimbursed for lunches for the first fine. A second fine would equal up to 5 percent of the total meal reimbursements, and 10 percent for a third or subsequent fine.
The fines could be hefty if an entire state agency were flagged for persistent violations. For instance, Alabama received $210,937,195 in cash payments through the school lunch program in 2015. One percent would total $2.1 million. A 10 percent fine would cost $21 million.
The proposed rule would also apply to private organizations participating in federal childcare nutrition programs, including “institutions, sites, sponsors, day care centers, and day care providers.”
Increased monitoring of state agencies as a result of the rule would cost states $4.3 million in 2017, and $22.7 million over five years.
No proposal was included on how the quality and appeal of the meals might be improved. It should also be noted that wealthier schools that do not participate in the federal funding program are exempted from the requirements. That includes the children of Michelle Obama, who are offered truly gourmet meals each and every day at Sidwell Friends, the school for the elite. So the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act really only applies to children of middle class and poor families who are stuck with the dreck that the program demands.
The well-fed Michelle is clear that there is no option but what she dictates, and dictate she will as she intones from her nutritional throne on high with the words, “let them eat kale.”