In this video, Michelle Obama first softens us up by telling us that it is parents’ responsibility to ensure their kids are healthy. I agree with that.
At 38 seconds in, though, she begins to make the case that “we can’t just leave it up to the parents”, “we, as a nation, have a responsibility as well”.
Her case for is that kids spend so much time in schools.
The caption on the screen says that this legislation will give the USDA authority to set school nutrition standards for food and vending machines.
I disagree with the first lady. We, as a nation (which I take her to mean Federal government), have no responsibility to ensure kids are healthy. She was correct in the first part of her video. That’s a choice to be made by the parents and the kids and their private doctors. Nobody else needs to be involved in that.
For those who send kids to a local public school, the parents’ responsibility doesn’t stop when the kids leave their sight. We certainly don’t need standards set by the USDA. Haven’t we learned our lesson? We shouldn’t rely on such sweeping government standards. Government can be wrong. I had to unlearn the government’s food pyramid to lose weight. When I learned about it in school, I assumed the government knew what it was doing. Turns out I and the government were wrong. I learned information from private sources that helped me lose the weight and keep it off now for almost 10 years.
If parents have an issue with what cafeterias serve, they should choose to pack their kids lunches or take it up with the PTA and local cafeteria management. There’s no need for the Federal government to get involved.
To use an Obama phrase, “Let’s be clear,” this is Michelle’s pet project to leave her mark so she can add it to her resume and remind us from here on how she fought for kids health.
Most people will applaud that, not realizing that all she did was convince Congress to pick our pockets to fund a priority that we should be doing ourselves and to fund a government bureaucracy that will likely be difficult to get rid of and may cause some sort of unintended and widespread damage (again, thanks food pyramid).
If Michelle Obama would like to leave a mark that will actually help kids get healthy, I suggest considering private solutions. Perhaps she could use her First Lady clout to establish a private, voluntarily funded charity to educate parents on how to make healthy snacks and meals on a budget or teach activities that parents can do with their children to keep them active. Maybe the charity can also do things like help sponsor sports leagues, provide swim lessons to kids whose parents can’t afford it or provide bike riding lessons, helmets and bikes to children.
At the very least, test your program on a small level, track the results and see if it makes any difference whatsoever and doesn’t do damage. Then, if everything seems good, roll it out.
Instead, Obama takes a page out of the Teddy Kennedy playbook. Force us to fund what will turn into a highly ineffective and perhaps damaging government activity and then pat yourself on the back.