I’d like to make a few points… one philosophical, the others practical… about recent remarks by US Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) suggesting that we should make students from low-income families pay some small amount for their federally-subsidised school lunches, or that they should do some work at school in exchange for those lunches. Speaking at a Saturday meeting of the Jackson County Republican Party, Kingston… a candidate for the US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)… told the group, “One of the things I’ve talked to the Secretary of Agriculture about… why don’t you, you know, have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel, instil in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch. Or, maybe, sweep the floor in the cafeteria. And yes, I understand that’d be an administrative problem, and I understand that it’d 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 thing as a free lunch”.
Whilst he and other Republicans may not recognise it, what Kingston said on Saturday places him, and any Republican who agrees with him, smack in the middle of a philosophical dilemma. Here’s why… Kingston’s idea runs directly counter to the conservative orthodoxy that government should stay out of people’s lives. What we have here is a Republican congressman suggesting, in effect, that the government should have a role in moulding the behaviour of citizens. Worse, Kingston would work that governmental will on some of the country’s youngest… and, therefore, some of its most vulnerable and impressionable… minds.
Now, let’s go on to the practical points that I wish to make. Firstly, if Kingston is going to insist that economically-disadvantaged young people be made to work for the relative pittance of a federally-subsidised daily lunch, he ought also be similarly held to account for his federally-subsidised (read taxpayer-funded) salary, a decidedly unmiserly 174,000 USD (5.74 million Roubles. 186,000 CAD. 195,000 AUD. 128,000 Euros. 107,000 UK Pounds) annually… far above the 51,017 USD (1.684 million Roubles. 54,271 CAD. 57,155 AUD. 37,314 Euros. 31,228 UK Pounds) that was the median household income across the USA in 2012, according to the Census Bureau. To his credit, one should note here that Kingston didn’t accept any pay during the 16-day partial government shutdown earlier this year. Perhaps, more to the point here, though, is that in addition to his salary, Kingston, like other members of Congress, has access to funds to run his office. According to a recent report on disbursements from the Member Representational Allowance… which members must use only for items connected with official or representational activities… Kingston claimed 18.72 USD (618 Roubles. 19.92 CAD. 20.98 AUD. 13.70 Euros. 11.46 UK Pounds) for meals on 13 June, and he claimed 56.38 USD (1,860 Roubles. 59.98 CAD. 63.17 AUD. 41.24 Euros. 34.51 UK Pounds) for meals on 15 July.
It wasn’t clear from the immediately-available documentation whether the meals were lunches. However, they were free to Kingston, courtesy of American taxpayers.
19 December 2013
Athens (GA) Banner-Herald
Kingston is in the mainstream of the lamestream GOP. He opposes single-payer healthcare… but he favours laxer gun laws. He opposes “free lunches” for kids… but he accepts “free lunches” for himself. He’s signed Norquist’s loopy “pledge”… but he wants to strip the EPA of power to regulate corporate polluters. That sounds typical for the average contemporary teabag-sucking Republicant.
He’s a former salesman… the lowest form of parasite middleman in crapitalism. That is, he knows how to “close a sale”, but not how to actually do anything. Does it surprise you that he doesn’t believe in the scientific findings on evolution, but believes in creationism? That, in itself, proves his stupidity or his pandering (I believe that it’s a combination of the two… salesmen aren’t the brightest bulbs in the pack and he’s pandering to the Baptist yahoos in his district… the Duck Dynasty clan is rather representative of the sort). However, do note this quote from this nattering nabob about running for office unopposed:
What happens is a lot of campaigning is rhetoric as opposed to really listening and learning. You have to repeat the message… over and over again. It’s more of a debate than a dialogue, whereas governing is more of a dialogue.
In short, it’s BETTER when there’s no opposition… it means that the incumbent doesn’t have to exert himself and defend his agenda. Damned pesky things, elections… why, let’s do away with them… they hinder dialogue! Mr Kingston has taken in far more from the taxpayers than he’s ever paid out in taxes. My, my, my… that sounds like a “free lunch” to me. In short, he’s an “entitlement queen” to beat the band. Who woulda thunk it…
Let’s see… Mr Kingston could sweep the floor of a poor shut-in to pay for his lunches, couldn’t he? After all… there ain’t no free lunch! He said so! Dontcha just love it when the baggers hoist themselves on their own petards, but are too stupid to see it (even when it’s pointed up to them)? They don’t call the Republicans the “Stupid Party” for nought…