Only in Washington could a hobby farm wind up costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Outside D.C., a bored leftist searching for meaning in his life might decide to buy a farm to "get back to nature." President Obama’s immigration policy provides a steady stream of illegal serfs to do the labor. The hobbyist oversees the work as Lord of the Manor and limits his physical involvement to signing more checks to cover the hobby’s revenue shortfall.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, it doesn’t work that way when the president’s wife starts a hobby farm. In 2009 Michelle Obama planted a garden because it was high time to bring agriculture back to the White House.
But Michelle wasn’t content to watch her petunias pass away. She wanted a CAUSE. Watching interns root around in a truck garden was not going to make her a first lady who mattered.
Her cause became badgering America into eating healthier foods. Washington is the land of big ideas on the taxpayer dime, but a leftist like Michelle requires someone be forced to live her ideas.
But whom? The military is armed, Congress is half Republican and she couldn’t risk offending wide-load federal workers because they vote. School children became the perfect solution. They eat lunch and kids aren’t surprised by nonsensical rules that suddenly appear.
Now it’s important to note the only place Michelle has any authority regarding the amount, composition, and caloric total of food is at the Obama dining table and the odd state dinner.
Yes, Michelle can knit those ominous brows, but that doesn’t have the force of law. So just prior to voters ejecting Democrats from the House, she persuaded it to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Thus began an expensive adventure in government-imposed food faddism. Nutritional "experts" have been wrong for 40 years. One of the reasons kids are obese — the ostensible motive for Michelle’s law — is because such experts banned fat and replaced it with carbohydrates.
Carbs don’t satisfy hunger like protein and fat, consequently people eat more. Manufacturers developed artificial trans-fats to replace fat fats. That’s banned, too because trans was worse than regular.
For years I thought behinds were expanding to match up proportionally with breakthroughs in breast enhancement, but I was wrong and Dr. Atkins was right.
It’s difficult to get an accurate reading on the scope of the obesity problem because the index is flawed. The feds use body mass index (BMI) to judge obesity, but BMI penalizes muscle the same way it does fat. As far as BMI is concerned, weight is weight. That’s why an All-American gymnast is rated as obese by those know-it-alls, while Mohandas Gandhi is held to be the perfect avatar of manliness.
Naturally Michelle’s rules are both pedantic and minute. Lunchtime calorie limits are so strict, anorexics are complaining. Items must be less than 200 calories per serving and lower than 230 milligrams of sodium. This means a slice of bread that’s been exposed to sea air won’t qualify. But if it were dropped on the beach, one would probably be allowed to scrape the sand off and eat that.
Federal nannies demand students shuffling through the lunch line have a minimum of three items that must include one fruit or vegetable; and during "Pride" month all the colors of the rainbow flag must be visible. Only two items and the feds won’t reimburse the school system for lunch.
Allowable beverages include water, 100 percent fruit juice, and skim or fat-free milk, which my Reece Shannon — who wouldn’t touch the stuff — referred to as "Blue John" due to its unappetizing color.
Snacks must be less than 350 calories and no more than 480 milligrams of sodium. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wryly observed, this means raisins don’t qualify.
For taxpayers this means a significant portion of the $16.3 billion spent yearly on school food is now landing in the garbage can, thanks to Farmer Michelle.
School districts totaling more than a million students have opted out of Michelle’s Mandatory Menu. And the School Nutrition Association contends students are throwing away $684 million worth of food yearly. As they put it, that’s “enough to serve complete reimbursable school lunches to more than 228 million students.”
Even worse, Michelle’s program is another example of Washington hypocrisy. At the state dinner for the president of France — a menu Michelle controlled — the Washington Times reports guests were served a dinner of 2,500 calories — enough to feed an entire 3rd grade class under Obama lunch rules — including “dry-aged rib-eye beef served with blue cheese, 12 varieties of potatoes, and quail eggs.”
There was no word on whether attendees were required to submit to a field BMI test before being allowed to drive home.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.
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