What’s wrong with this picture?
This government funded meal of pizza, cherry pie, fruit bar, lettuce and chocolate milk is supposed to help children whose parents cannot afford to pay for their meals.
Let’s take a closer look at what goes into this government funded meal.
- The iceberg lettuce was most likely grown on a megafarm, assisted with herbicides and pesticides. Large scale factory farms lobby heavily to push small farms and “unregulated” farmers out of business via burdensome regulations or unnecessary licensing.
- The meat, milk and cheese in the lunch are all likely from dairy cows that are housed in a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation and fed an unnatural diet of grains to make the animal gain weight as fast as possible. The cow might potentially be fed with growth hormones. The hormones, in one fashion or another, pass through the child’s body.
- The packaging, dessert wrapping, and utensils are all likely produced by a factory in China. There is a good chance the factory waste will not be disposed of properly. The revenues from the sale of these goods, in some fashion, support the Communist party, which routinely suppresses free speech, civil liberties and opinions critical of the government. The shipping voyage from China burned through finite resources such as oil and gas before reaching their final destination.
- The corn that produced the high fructose corn syrup in the flavored milk, “fruit bar” and cherry pie most likely came from federally subsidized agribusiness enterprises. The cycle of farm subsidies, campaign contributions and re-electing those who approve farm subsidies allows the cycle of market distortion to continue. Government chooses to support certain, favored industries which hurts other producers and industries that do not receive those same subsidies.
- The government worker handing out this meal will potentially collect overtime for summer work and, eventually, a pension, which the city receiving this assistance has probably not fully funded. The employee, most likely a union member, will vote for whichever candidate their union has financially supported with tax dollars from the community. The government employee handing out this meal cannot provide the care, attention, and atmosphere of a loving household.
- The child, eating this meal, begins the slow march towards diabetes, cancer and other ailments from eating a lifetime of nutrient-devoid, heavily processed food. Having a diet so high in sugar at such a young age will likely make them less likely to choose healthier food in the long run.
- The wasted food and packaging will finally head to a landfill where it will rot. The annual cost to simply dispose of wasted food is around $1bn per year.
- To fund this program, the federal government had to borrow the money, tax its citizens or print the money. All monetary costs will most likely be paid by persons other than the beneficiaries of this program.
The producers of this meal will continue to fund the production of unhealthy, environmentally damaging food. They will continue to reinvest their revenues, in some fashion, to expand their enterprise and keep this cycle going.
The consumers of this meal, poor schoolchildren, will learn that free food is a right, provided for by others and not worth enjoying, savoring or preparing.
The parent, absolved of their most basic responsibilities as an adult human, is shielded from the feedback loop of sacrifice, self-reliance, and caring for their young. They will not have to approach friends, family, a church, or a charitable organization to deal with their realities of being unwilling or unable to feed their own children.
Every decision has consequences, both explicit and implicit. All that matters in life are our decisions.
The consequences of supporting these priorities are profound. Constructive outcomes are totally avoided and destructive choices are encouraged.
The cycle continues.
Attempting to help “feed poor schoolchildren” is making our world poorer, in every possible sense of the word.