California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Joe Biden, All Dems, Wonkette: Give EVERYBODY EAT!
Back when my good son was the only white boy at Los Angeles High School (a white girl came the next year, when he was a sophomore), he used to beg me to apply for free school lunch for him. I assumed part of it was a strong administration message beating into kids' heads to remind their parents to apply — part of school funding was meted out by how many kids qualified for the help under poverty guidelines — but part of it was literally that he felt ashamed every time he used *money* to pay for *food*.
But back then, I was the editor in chief of a weekly newspaper, earning $75,000 a year — yeah the guy before me made $60, suck on it, that guy! — or exactly what the studies said a single mom needed to live a good life in Los Angeles, one with rent and savings and actual treats. I was saving $1500 a month, taking my staff out for drinks once a week, living in a gorgeous home in a placid, jacaranda-lined neighborhood that was the ultimate unsegregated Los Angeles neighborhood: houses that originally had been for Hancock Park's help. Our happy block was a third Black people, a third Asians and Latinos, and a third gays and Jewish single moms. Once I bought two dresses at a Silverlake boutique because I liked them both.
"I understand you want me to apply for school lunch, darling," I would tell him again and again. "And I LOVE SCHOOL LUNCH! But it's for people who need it."
In California, school lunch is for everybody now. School breakfast too. It's a goodamn NICE TIME!
In 2013, radio host Dennis Prager, who purports to love God, said it was inconceivable there were even five children in Los Angeles going to school hungry. Surprisingly, he did not mean it was inconceivable that our society, the richest in world history, could let that happen, but rather that those children existed at all. And if they did, if in fact three of five teachers weren't lying when they said that they had children in class who had not eaten, Prager said, those families should get a visit from child protective services. Why, you'd think their parents had sent them to school in masks during a global pandemic!
In 2014, Paul Ryan — he was speaker of the House, do you remember him? Had a hard-on for Social Security because he no longer needed the survivors' benefits he was raised on? — gave a speech about how liberals don't love their children if they give them communist government cheese. "What they're offering people," Ryan said, and he was talking about us, "is a full stomach and an empty soul." It was a bad speech. It also misunderstood its source material like Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham.
Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan provided for a summertime extension of free lunch and breakfast for low-income kids, including extra cash on EBT cards for when schools weren't in session. And last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a budget including $650 million for all school breakfasts and lunches in the state to be provided to every student regardless of income. Before that, in October, Newsom signed a bill outlawing "lunch shaming," or the far too widespread practice of writing POOR on kids' foreheads with a Sharpie if they were in arrears for their meals. (Nobody actually wrote POOR in Sharpie, to my knowledge. One school pretty much stamped it on kids' arms, though).
This week, the Biden administration will start sending out expanded Child Tax Credit checks to most American families — and this time those few left out won't be the very poorest families, who were ineligible for it before because they didn't pay federal income taxes to offset.
Republicans truly believe, or act as if they truly believe, that helping families and the poor eat food leads to those families breaking apart. You'd think at least some of them had experienced the stressors poverty takes on family life. They must have just forgot.
Democrats very essentially believe in making it easier for people to live, and in reducing those economic stressors. They believe the first part of being productive and a good citizen is not being actively hungry. Sometimes some of them are dicks about particular aspects — Richie Neal cocking up bills to outlaw surprise billing does not help people, nor do purported libs who kibosh housing for unhoused people if it's near them — but it's as close to a universal dogma as the party has.
That's why the opinionistas at Wonkette cleave to one over the other. One group thinks feeding children
both enables and encourages irresponsible, disinterested, and incompetent parenting. Given how inexpensive breakfast can be (not to mention the myriad public and private programs that provide food for poor households), any home that cannot provide its child with breakfast demands a visit from child protective services. Any parent who cannot give a child breakfast is not too poor; he or she is too incapable of being, or too irresponsible to be, a competent parent.
The other thinks fuuuuuuuck theeeeemmmm.
And that's the side we're on. We've been called "propaganda" by very serious tax attorneys who style themselves media critics (and invite you to pay them for it), but we believe we uphold a principle, and that principle is PEOPLE NEED HELP, STOP BEING A DICK.
Please keep us going. We are ad-free, investor-free, and rely solely on our readers to fund our writers, our health care premia, pixels and this $1100 bill I just got for accidentally stealing a picture of Ted Nugent (can't even blame anyone else, it was me) as well as breakfast for our kids. Right now they want waffles apparently.
This has been a news post that became this month's Wonkette Moneybeg.
Man, I don't know how that keeps happening.
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