So the U.S. government thinks that in an age of obesity and a soaring federal debt, the thing we need is to … give “free” food to children with high-income parents. (Of course it’s free only at the point of delivery; the government must extract money from the economy to pay for it.)
The reason, we are told, is that we must eliminate the shame some students may feel in receiving free food.
Here’s a wild idea: Maybe the students–or better yet–their parents–should feel some shame.
In my adult life, I’ve received free food from others, who gave it voluntarily and not (via taxes) through compulsion. I was grateful and yes, a bit ashamed. But that shame motivated me to stretch the limited budget I had, and to find more income, so that I no longer needed the help.
The food came to me through friends. Since they knew me, theywould be able to call me out if they figured I had decided to rest on their kindnesses. They also could have–and would have–cut me off if they decided I was not making an honest effort to improve my situation.
Making those kinds of decisions requires personal knowledge of the person receiving the handout, and making a judgment. Friends and personal contacts are in a position to do that. Public employees? Not so much.
I am concerned that the “free for all” approach planned by the feds will simply encourage hopelessness (“I can’t live without government help”) and an entitlement mentality. It’s an insidious form of the egalitarian impulse to make everyone dependent on the dole.
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