Friday, January 27, 2012

Obama: "Keep Your Free Lunches Out of Our Schools"

A bill just passed the Arizona House that permits ("encourages") school districts to drop out of the federal free and reduced price lunch program for poor children. ("The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public schools.... It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children .... The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.")

This would appear to be simply another instance of Arizona Conservatives (the House is overwhelmingly Republican) telling the hated federal government to stay out of Arizona's business. But on closer examination, it could also be about "business" itself. The trend toward commercial interests—soft-drink, fast food, athletic shoe and clothing companies—seeking access to the captive market public school children is well documented. (See the annual report by Molnar, Boninger & Fogarty.) Running federally subsidized or provided lunches out of the schools would expand the market for these companies.

Lobbyists feed legislators; Pepsi and Pizza Hut feed children; and everyone gets fat.

Gene V Glass
University of Colorado Boulder
Arizona State University

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