“Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch?”
Taking a page from Newt Gingrich, Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia said on Saturday that he thought it was high time underprivileged children in this country begin to learn the value of money better by being forced to pick up a broom and sweep floors in exchange for their federally-subsidized school lunches.
During the Republican primaries, Gingrich said schools should “get rid of the unionized janitors” and “pay local students” to clean up.
“But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch?” Kingston said at a meeting of the Jackson County Republican Party in his home state, according to a Huffington Post article. “Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria — and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
Making children do manual labor to earn their school lunch could be a humiliating experience and more affluent peers would inevitably – whether during normal school hours or outside of them – find out through the grapevine.
Kids can be cruel and no doubt some poorer children would be teased or ridiculed at some point. Now children have to suffer at school because social-welfare hating politicians think they can teach kids a thing or two on fiscal policy?
The congressman is running to for the Senate next year, and comments like this don’t help any politician’s campaign bid. Not surprisingly, Kingston is coming under some intense pressure this week to justify his comments in light of the negative attention they’ve drawn.
Chris Crawford, Kingston’s spokesman, addressed his boss’s comments, saying, “It is sad that trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans so quickly devolves into the usual name-calling partisan hysteria.”
Partisan hysteria? He and Kingston were clearly made for each other.