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SCHOOL LUNCH NUTRITION KERFLUFFE: MEDIA BIASED; NO CONSTITUTIONALIST in SIGHT! WHAT ELSE IS NEW!

We have an activist First Lady who was never elected to do anything, an education system that is micromanaged at the Federal level and seemingly no constitutionalist to object.  I do miss Cong. Ron Paul.  It’s enough to make a constitutionalist move to the UK and work for UKIP!

What we have is a law passed by the Pelosi/Reid Congress in 2010 that mandates certain nutrition standards for Federal school lunch programs.  Here’s a short paragraph from the NY Times article:

The standards, approved by Congress and the president in 2010, set limits on sodium, fat and calories, and require that unhealthy menu items be replaced with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

And more from one of The Hill articles cited below:

The Obama-backed 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requires schools with lunch programs that are federally subsidized under the National School Lunch Program to adhere to new, stricter nutrition guidelines.

Those rules began to go into effect in 2012, and stronger sodium and whole-grain rules are slated in the coming school years.

And The Hill, eager to get into the act, has these articles on the subject.  Note the lame efforts to act by the GOP and the excuses used to justify it:

An Appropriations subpanel approved language that would require the Agriculture Department to waive requirements to serve fruits, vegetables and low-sodium and low-fat foods for schools that can show their lunch programs are losing money.

Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) said the temporary waivers are needed because some school districts are losing too much money and need more time to adjust to the requirement. He said a big problem is that students are refusing to eat the healthy foods.

“I am talking to the lunch ladies who do all this work, and it is thrown in the garbage at the end of the day,” he said.

Temporary waivers?  A showing that the lunch program is losing money?  Really?  Why not just say the feds ought not be micromanaging school lunches!

And the other side?  Just as bad:

Panel member Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who voted no on the bill, said the provision was a carve-out to the food industry and argued that 90 percent of schools are successfully implementing the standards.

“Why would Congress, already maligned for labeling pizza a vegetable, and I know something about pizza, now seek to weaken federal child nutrition programs — and through the appropriations process no less — other than to appease the industry,” DeLauro said.

Now it is always possible that there is crony capitalism since both parties practice it! So the First Lady, not elected to do anything, decided to enter the fray:

First lady Michelle Obama came out swinging on Tuesday against a new House Republican-led attempt to allow some schools to opt out of tougher nutrition standards.

“This is unacceptable,” Obama told a group of school nutritionists gathered at the White House. “It’s unacceptable to me not just as first lady, but also as a mother.”

The first lady accused Republicans of targeting the standards for political gain.

“The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids’ health,” she said. “Now is not the time to roll back everything we have worked for.”

But the proper constitutional analysis is:

1.  It is not the business of the Federal government as to what menu school lunches or breakfast programs have or don’t have.  Not the business of the First Lady, not the President, not Congress nor the Departments of Agriculture or Education.  The Feds ought to stay out to education.  This is a state and local issue.  Congress should not have passed the original bill and I can assure you the Senate will not approve this amendment and it could be vetoed if not carefully done.

2.  The solution is not to play games and make up things such as “temporary waiver” but to simply state openly that this is a state and local issue.  Not a Federal issue.  Get out of the school lunch business.  Unless a school district is discriminating against blacks or disabled children or some other protected class, the feds ought to stay out.

3.  It’s a nanny-state issue and the result will be Bloombergesque bans on “bad” food at school.

4.  Finally, it must be said:  The First Lady wasn’t elected to do anything.  I think we have had too many activist First Ladies who exceed their brief.  (Hillary Clinton comes to mind – at least she decided to run for office and was elected when she ran for US Senate from NY!  I can admire her for that.  I am sure if Michelle Obama wants to be a Senator, she will be received well by the Illinois Dems and if people aren’t careful, she might win.)  But today, Mrs. Obama is simply the wife of the President.  It is acceptable for the First lady to be aspirational and call for more recycling or beautification of the land or read a story to your kids or don’t take drugs but for her to inject herself into policy debates is unacceptable.  (Michelle Obama also appeared on all these kid’s shows such as, for example, the Kid’s Choice Awards and iCarly in 2012, during the unthankfully successful re-election of her husband.  Betcha that corporate influence in an election wasn’t objected to by the progressives who hate Citizens United!)

I do understand the kids aren’t eating the nutritious (in fact one of my kids said to me yesterday – I hate the food at school lunch!) food.  I think a better solution for high school is to sub out the school lunch programs to commercial entities like Chick-fil-A (imagine what controversy that would cause!  Wouldn’t it be fun to hear!) with certainly locally or statewide set nutrition standards.  The subsidy for the school lunch programs is so these meals are affordable to all kids.  I have been told by a reliable source that the only meal or meals some kids are only at school and that is a shame.

I do agree with the First Lady about one aspect of this problem:

At one point during a roundtable discussion, Obama asked, “Why are we even having this conversation?”

AMEN to that!
Finally, check out these headlines:
NYT:

First Lady Rebuts Effort to Weaken School-Lunch Rules

Implication:  She turned back every effort to defeat the rules or at least carried the debate.  And check out this line from the Times:

Michelle Obama turned uncharacteristically political on Tuesday, pushing back against a measure pending in the Republican-controlled House that would let some schools opt out of federal dietary standards for school lunches.

UNCHARACTERISTICALLY POLITICAL?  What planet does the New York Times cover?

Try from The Hill:

House panel cuts school nutrition standards

and:

First lady says GOP school lunch nutrition cuts ‘unacceptable’

and this wonderful opening sentence from the second Hill article:

First lady Michelle Obama came out swinging on Tuesday against a new House Republican-led attempt to allow some schools to opt out of tougher nutrition standards.

Not reforms or amends but CUTS!  And Mrs. Obama came out swinging?  I thought she was not political? That’s what the NY Times said!
Thank the Lord for Fox News and Breitbart!  (Here is my original source on this issue from Breitbart.)  Otherwise it would be Soviet news all the time in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
BTW:  Ron Paul did vote NO on the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and so did Eric Cantor.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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