North Carolina School Lunches: Child Car Commission

So, North Carolina has taken center stage in recent weeks.  A Hoke County school teacher noticed that a child’s bag-lunch didn’t meet proscribed nutritional guidelines.  In one case, the bag-lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, apples and apple juice.  Missing was the vegetable.  The lunch was either replaced or supplemented with a school provided hot lunch.  Further adding to the outcry was the fact that the child didn’t eat the veggies provided; she only ate the chicken nuggets.

I think this is the classic case of what folks mean when they say that government is too big.

When the state steps in and says that it’s the responsibility of the state to provide lunches for kids who meet certain criteria, then the state also assumes the requirement to provide healthy lunches.  After all, we don’t want our government shoving fast food and candy bars in front of our kids.  And this is where the danger comes in.

Now that we have established the need for state provided food [and we can debate whether or not we agree with that] we now have to accept that there be guidelines for that food.  And assuming that we have conscientious state employees, it’s easy to see a monitoring of the lunches that the kids are eating during school.  It’s easy to that administrator/teacher noticing that a kid has a coke and Cheetos and making the decision that isn’t a healthy lunch.

But that’s not what the original charter was.  What started out as a desire to feed poor students has turned into a critique of parent provided bag lunches.  Is it appropriate for kids to eat Cheetos and Coke?  Probably not.  But do we as a state wanna go down that road?

And if we DO go down that road, where does it stop?  Can the state begin to legislate a proscribed nutritional guideline that covers food served at home?  Perhaps at a restaurant?  How about a law that states restaurants can serve meals to kids under 6, 8, 12 that don’t contain the required healthy components?  If you think I’m stretching, consider the salt ban in New York City or the requirement that meals served in California that contain a toy also contain a healthy alternative.

I don’t think you’d find anyone who objects to the fact that if the state provides food, it should provide healthy food.  But this intrusion into the decisions of parents is a bridge too far.

13 responses to “North Carolina School Lunches: Child Car Commission

  1. First they regulate bag lunches, then food served at home, then TV time and exercise time. You need a license to drive, to practice law, and in most states, you need to prove your competent to re-roof a house, but, they let anyone be a parent. When does it stop? Is the government ready to require a license to have kids?

    • in most states, you need to prove your competent to re-roof a house,

      In some states you have to have a license to market yourself as an interior decorator.

      Hell, you need a damn license to catch a fish.

  2. This is state and local government, not federal government. A story like this is notable probably in large part because it is an anomaly. I can’t imagine anything like this happening in Maine. But if you get an overly aggressive local agent (in this case day care provider) interpreting a rule extremely strictly, you can get bizarre things. Still, I wouldn’t read much into a single case.

    • This is state and local government, not federal government.

      This is true. It is strictly a North Carolina issue.

      But if you get an overly aggressive local agent (in this case day care provider) interpreting a rule extremely strictly, you can get bizarre things.

      Again, I agree that certain cases like this are just that; someone taking the rules to far.

      Still, I wouldn’t read much into a single case.

      I think they want this to be policy.

      Commission Chairwoman Claire Tate said the rules, which require the preschool programs to provide food free of charge to children whose lunches don’t meet guidelines, also help families who might not be able to afford proper meals for their children.

      They mean to watch what these kids bring to school.

  3. I think you’ve just got it in for broccoli. It’s high time you just suck it up and learn to eat your greens! They’re good for you! Here’s a trick: Hold your nose whilst you chew. I’ve noticed that works very well with the school lunches….

    • I think you’ve just got it in for broccoli.

      Foiled again!

      My favorite part of the story is that the sack lunch was short veggies. The only item eaten from the lunch provided by the staff?

      Chicken nuggets!

  4. Scott,

    This is not an isolated case . Bloomberg in New York tells restaurants how much trans fat and salt they can serve, and he doesn’t even follow his own rules. You have some clown pediatrician who wants sugar regulated like alcohol. In Denmark they have a fat tax on food . In LA Caleefornia the nannies have created a black market in school lunches because they outlawed junk food.

    The Marxists never stop trying to control every single part of our lives . It’s always for the greater good, always .

    The big government types can’t handle the big issues so they over control the small ones . The term is ” soft tyranny ” . It has to be vigorously opposed every single time, even though each incident seems trivial at the time .

    • It’s always for the greater good, always .

      As Atlas Shrugged, I shivered.

      By the way, my daughter turns 10 this year. Mandatory reading:

      Frederic Bastiat – The Law.

    • Besides the fact “Marxist” is an obsolete label to use, regulation like this is as much conservative as it is leftist. Controlling what is served in schools is very traditional conservative. I think people do oppose such things, which is why they are rare – I mean you’re finding one case in Denmark, one in New York (not sure about the details) and one in LA…when in a media age you have the whole world reporting, it’s easy to cherry pick cases.

      I think this is actually an area where there are a lot of agreements between liberals and conservatives. There are capitalist libertarians and left libertarians (as opposed to traditional/social conservatives and big government leftists). The libertarians on both left and right can agree to oppose these things.

  5. Scott,

    Marxist is only an exaggeration . A Marxist believes in big Statism . The real reason they hate capitalists is that any business or wealth not connected with the the Central Planners and their 5 year Plans means that those are folks who can better resist control .

    I actually have given some thought to ‘ libertarianism ‘ and have concluded that the only ‘ libertarianism ‘ on the left has to do with sexual freedom . Liberals want total freedom in that area . They also want subsidization of it . That is their trade off . Every other area of life they believe should be regulated . Liberals tend not to exercise their freedoms in the other areas of life so tight regulation is good because it brings to heal their social and economic competitors within Society .

    Which brings us to the great sin all of us are most guilty of, envy . I admit freely to it . I at least try to be self aware of it . In Liberals it takes the form of class warfare . The funny thing about it is the total denial . Liberals speak of economic equality to justify overbearing regulations and taxation . It is never about bringing those on the bottom up . It is strictly about punishing those who have passed us on the race track of life . It is eternal . To quote my favorite English Philosopher, Samuel Johnson.

    “Whoever rises above those who once pleased
    themselves with equality, will have many malevolent
    gazers at his eminence. To gain sooner than
    others that which all pursue with the same ardour,
    and to which all imagine themselves entitled, will
    for ever be a crime.”

  6. I personally don’t feel envy — I would not trade my life for anything. But I believe in freedom. So when I see some people struggling to get by, no chance for a vacation, working hard, but being poor, and other people jet setting and being super wealthy, I have to ask myself if the first group is really free. Left libertarianism is a view that if those with money are able to rig the game in their favor and thus enjoy benefits that span generations, while others are stuck in a grind (and class mobility in the US is rather low), then the poor are less free. Theoretical freedom is not the same as defacto freedom.

    The solution is NOT to try to equalize outcomes or even engage in massive wealth redistribution. The solution is to figure out how to expand freedom – how to make sure the poor have real opportunities to do things that can achieve success. So you look at what holds them back, what keeps their freedom limited — poor schools, lack of quality health care, poor nutrition, cultural values that work against success within which children are raised, etc. Address those issues NOT with the goal of making sure the poor are given money, but to assure that those born in poverty have real opportunity — opportunities approaching (while not reaching) those born of wealth, then you have more freedom.

    Same with regulations – regulations should make it easier for people to make good choices — transparency, disclosure (one of the best regulations is to have nutritional content on every label — people can still choose to eat unhealthy, but they have tools to know if they are or not), making sure corporations cannot use their power or inside info to prevent average folk from understanding their choices.

    Left libertarians do believe that people should have sexual freedom for the most part, and most agree that the war on drugs is stupid. The difference between left libertarians and capitalist libertarians on those issues is not that great, it’s on the economic issues they differ, left libertarians don’t trust the market to function as well as capitalist libertarians do – we left libertarians think capitalist libertarians are too enamored with theories of how the economy should work in theory and ignore the distortions in practice. But the goal for both is to maximize freedom.

    • So when I see some people struggling to get by, no chance for a vacation, working hard, but being poor, and other people jet setting and being super wealthy, I have to ask myself if the first group is really free.

      But do you take into consideration what each of those folks/families did to get to where they are? Did one sacrifice and go to college while the other didn’t? Is one of the those families saving every blessed cent they can while the other spends as they get?

      No one wants the fruits of life given to one group BECAUSE they are a member of that group. But you’d have to work really hard to show me a real life example of that happening.

      how to make sure the poor have real opportunities to do things that can achieve success.

      In what way do the poor not have that access today?

      Remember the Chicago public school experiment. The city went from neighborhood schools to open enrollment with a lottery to determine entrance if the school was over subscribed. It turned out that merely ENTERING the lottery determined your achievement in school. That is, parents whose kids attended a poor school but cared enough to enter them into the lottery cared about education. And their kids did as well as parents who WON the lottery.

      regulations should make it easier for people to make good choices

      Regulations should prevent fraud.

      one of the best regulations is to have nutritional content on every label — people can still choose to eat unhealthy, but they have tools to know if they are or not

      Let the private sector work that out.

      Left libertarians do believe that people should have sexual freedom for the most part

      Well, now we’re seeing contraception as being labelled a right.

      But the goal for both is to maximize freedom.

      Amen!

  7. Scott ,

    I believe you just made my case for me. ” So when I see some people struggling to get by, no chance for a vacation, working hard, but being poor, and other people jet setting and being super wealthy, I have to ask myself if the first group is really free. ”

    I see people with fancy pickup trucks, while I drive a 13 year old economy car and I get filled with class envy. I am just honest about it and I don’t blame them for what I don’t have . Now you on the other hand see a person flying around in a private jet and reflexively blame Mr. or Ms. Rich for the plight of the working poor .

    You could be right. Mr. Rich possibly may be a Bernie Maddoff . Or Mr. Rich could be an entrepreneur who bet his entire future on an energy play or new internet gadget that everybody told him was sure to fail but he won on . Now he employs hundreds in his company and a few highly paid peons to fly and maintain his jet .

    But it could be a Ms. Rich . Possibly an Oprah Winfrey who made her own money and is generous with it . Maybe Ms. Rich is a Whitney Houston who made her own money and chose not to be an Oprah Winfrey . Either way, punishing them will not lift the working poor .

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