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I confess I haven’t really been following the whole Michelle Obama school lunch thing. I get the gist: The First Lady has the USDA revise the standards to make them healthier, but the new guidelines are unrealistic, so kids don’t eat the food (with all the attendant behavioral consequences), and schools complain. I figured that eventually reality will win out over this instance of leftist dogmatism, so why bother paying attention?
Today though, Bridget Johnson at PJ Media had an article that made me do a double-take. The background: Congress is working on a bill to give school districts more flexibility, and Mrs. Obama doesn’t like it. (Again, nothing really surprising here; call me when the USDA loses this fight to the 5th graders.) Mrs. Obama explained her motivation:
Michelle Obama… said at a roundtable yesterday with school leaders and nutrition experts that “so many kids write me every day” about the “health crisis in this country.”
This would be unremarkable, except for way the Republican bill works:
“It’s really not opt out. They’re granted a one-year waiver. And it’s only for the schools that are finding it hard to meet,” Rep. Robert Aderholt told CNN….
“This is saying if you’re having a problem, that you can ask for a waiver and the USDA can grant you a waiver.”
So let’s get this straight: The peasants petition the queen to do something about the health crisis. So the king’s ministers issue a decree that must be followed by all the country’s schools throughout the land. And the GOP response? To mitigate the decree, local schools can petition the king’s ministers for a one-year deferral.
What happened to local control of schools? Why can’t local citizens fix their own school lunch problems? And why is the USDA taking direction from the First Lady, who has no constitutional authority? And what happened to the idea of laws duly passed by the legislature, that apply equally to all?
And finally: Is this why we elected Tea Partiers to congress in 2010 and 2012 — to ratify the legitimacy of an arbitrary, centralized regulatory authority?
The institutions of the Republic still operate, but some days it seems to me as if we no longer live under a republican form of government.Published in