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Fox News Doesn’t Want More Money For School Lunches

Reported by Guest Blogger - December 5, 2010 -

By Brian

Yesterday’s Cashin’ In (12/4/10) hosted a discussion about a plan to spend $4.5 billion more on school lunches. In typical Fox News fashion, rather than explore the substance of the bill and its pro’s and con’s, the issue was presented as a debate where the preponderance of the panelists were conservatives who sneered at liberal ideas.

Host Cheryl Casone’s scripted intro, part of a Fox News Alert, set the tone. “More of your tax dollars about to get eaten up. Democrats pushing a bill to the president’s desk to spend $4.5 billion more on the school lunch program. That is on top of the nearly $13 billion we’re already spending.” With obvious cynicism, Casone added, “They say it’s to help make kids healthier but Tracy (Byrnes), of all people, you say, ‘Stop the gravy train.’ Really?”

In case the viewers didn’t get the hint, a banner on the screen quickly appeared reading, “Taxpayers calling new $4.5B school lunch plan a waste.” The same banner remained on the screen for most of the discussion.

Byrnes said that government should "Stay out of my kids’ schools, stay out of the cafeteria. Look, Cheryl, 40 years ago, we had a child obesity rate of 5%. We have since doubled the spending, and the obesity rate is now 17%. It's not working… The parents are there to make the decisions in the school and at home, not the government. Stop it, and there's no need for taxpayers to be paying for this."

Casone was more “fair and balanced” with her own words as moderator. Speaking to panelist Wayne Rogers, she asked, "Wayne, these kids are in school 5 days a week, and maybe that's where they're learning their good or their bad habits?"

Rogers said, "Some support for the schools’ lunch program is a good idea… Giving them good food under a good program is not so bad."

But Charles Gasparino was so adamantly against spending more money on school lunches, he ridiculed guest Heather McGhee for supporting it.

Casone asked McGhee if it wasn’t “an investment” in teaching children healthier habits so they don’t “become obese and unhealthy adults and burden the health care system."

"Absolutely," McGhee agreed. When she pointed out that the price tag of $4.5 billion stretched out over 10 years, Gasparino interrupted to mock, "Yeah, a billion here, a billion there… Heather, all those billions do add up."

McGhee continued by saying that the program offered "more economic output for dollar invested in it because this is investing in our children. It's not just more money, it’s cutting red tape."

Gasparino cut her off again, this time to jeer, "Oh, investing in our children... How many times do you use that line a day?"

Panelist Jonathan Hoenig said it worried him that the program represented "enlargement of the entitlement state.” He complained that a government that “feeds your kid, that educates your kid, that provides everything for your kid.”

Tracy Byrnes shouted, “My children are not your responsibility. Nobody’s responsibility but my own.”

FoxNews.com has an article stating:

The severe recession has taken a toll on food security. In the United States, a recent report by the Department of Agriculture found that nearly 15% of American households faced food insecurity at some point in 2009, the highest level since officials began tracking the measure in 1995.

Food insecurity in childhood is thought to undercut scholastic achievement in at least two ways. It deprives the body of nutrients necessary for proper mental and physical development, and it creates an atmosphere of stress and uncertainty that saps a kid's desire to attend school and to perform well.

… In the United States, teachers and school administrators report that children who take advantage of food assistance programs in schools have improved behavior, fewer absences and better test scores, Edwards added.

Undoubtedly, Byrnes’ and Gasparino’s kids are well fed. So why should they worry?





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