Republican Rep. Jack Kingston has a really bad idea that he wants to share with you: kids who get their lunch paid for by government subsidies because they are under 130% of the poverty line should have to clean the school. Not to save money, mind you, to teach these poor kids a lesson:
"But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria -- and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people -- getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch," Kingston said while speaking to voters.
Maybe it’s a Georgia thing: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, also of Georgia, drew fire during the 2012 Republican primary for making a similar suggestion.
In defending this idea, Kingston conflates two ideas: instilling a work ethic and making people work for their government subsidies. If you think work ethic should be part of a school’s curriculum, you have my blessing, but it should be something that every student does, not just the poor ones. If you think that food should not be considered a right in the most prosperous nation of the world, than I disagree, but that’s your opinion.
Kingston’s proposal is that only poor kids need to learn a work ethic. The other kids apparently won’t need it, what with their parents living 130% above the poverty line.
But hey, that’s just my opinion. Georgia’s Republican voters will have their chance to evaluate Kingston in 2014 when he makes a run for the U.S. Senate.