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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sarah Palin is Right: Michelle Obama, Obesity, Bake Sales And Parental Rights

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is a law that subsidizes and regulates the menu of federally funded programs that feed children primarily at school, whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or summer time schooling.

The law increases spending on school nutrition programs by $4.5 billion over ten years and encompasses a range of provisions, including offering qualified children breakfast, lunch and dinner at school, as well as meals during the summer. It also includes a pilot program for “organic foods.”

President Obama said at the signing ceremony—held at the Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington. D.C.--that he was following in the tradition of President Harry S. Truman, who signed the first federal school lunch program into law, and President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Childhood Nutrition Act of 1966.

Obama said that if the bill had not reached his desk for his signature, “I would be sleeping on the couch.”

Obama would be sleeping on the couch because this law has been championed by his wife, Michelle Obama in her cause to battle obesity.

There is the background.. now for the most recent headline news in relation to this law, Michelle Obama gave a speech in where she included the phrase "We can’t just leave it up to the parents."

That was only a portion of her speech and while I disagree with Michelle Obama and agree with Sarah Palin in believing it is a parents right and responsibility to determine what their children eat, for reasons I will explain below, it is extremely unfair that the one comment "We can’t just leave it up to the parents," is the only part of the speech that has been focused on.

The video below gives more context:

“Everywhere I go, fortunately, I meet parents who are working very hard to make sure that their kids are healthy,” said Mrs. Obama. “They’re doing things like cutting down on desserts and trying to increase fruits and vegetables. They’re trying to teach their kids the kind of healthy habits that will stay with them for a lifetime.

“But when our kids spend so much of their time each day in school, and when many children get up to half their daily calories from school meals, it’s clear that we as a nation have a responsibility to meet as well,” Mrs. Obama said. “We can’t just leave it up to the parents. I think that parents have a right to expect that their efforts at home won’t be undone each day in the school cafeteria or in the vending machine in the hallway. I think that our parents have a right to expect that their kids will be served fresh, healthy food that meets high nutritional standards.”

So, we have Michelle Obama's full point.

Now to Sarah Palin, who on her show cooked up some s’mores and stated "This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert."

Once again, that particular comment is all that we see in the headlines about Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama's "food fight". In the name of the same fairness as showing Michelle's full statement, here is Palin's expanded view:

"Instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us, according to some politician’s — or politician’s wife’s — priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us, as individuals, to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions.”

Funny thing is, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama actually agree to a point, as Palin has previously stated "Health-care reform on an individual basis is often just this simple: we could save a lot of money and a lot of grief by making smarter choices. It starts by ending destructive habits and beginning healthy habits in eating and exercise."

The difference between Michelle Obama's interference and Sarah Palin's previous statements is one prefers to help educate and the other is trying to impose her will on Americans by regulation and federal laws.

Palin's latest statements is what has the far left in such a tizzy for publicly criticizing Michelle Obama's "obvious" good intentions.

Just because the cause is good, does not mean the actions taken are good actions.

A little clarity here and some background puts Palin's statements into context, like the recent war against sweet treats that many have not even heard about.

States regulating bake sales and what can be sold and even banning them in New York. California- "officials are now having to ensure than any food sold in conjunction with a school event comply with strict dietary standards. In Connecticut, classroom birthday parties are a thing of the past, as schools there no longer allow parents to bring celebratory sugary goods."

Those are just a couple examples from a state level.

In fact, the new law authorizes, in fact, mandates the Agriculture Department to write guidelines for all foods sold in schools during regular class hours, including in the cafeteria line, vending machines and at fundraisers.

Contrary to Michelle Obama's assertions that she is doing this for the parents to respect their desires to expect the schools to feed children what the parents want, bake sales and fundraisers are often run and food is supplied by those very parents that this law is demanding the right to tell them what to sell and what food they can raise money for the school with.

NRO makes this point:

The evidence is, in fact, to the contrary, suggesting that well-intentioned government policies will make the problem worse: To the extent that political action has thus far affected American obesity, it has been a thumb on the wrong side of the scales, subsidizing the worst kinds of foods through the farm-subsidy and school-lunch programs, and often giving out precisely the wrong kind of dietary advice.

Obesity is, in truth, among our least tractable public-health problems. It is an absolute Gordian knot of nutrition, behavior, genetics, child-rearing environments, hormonal biology, economics, and other factors too numerous and too subtle to catalog. As New York University obesity-policy scholar Rogan Kersh has noted, the problem “has proved impervious to clinical treatment or public-health exhortation,” and it is by no means clear what, if anything, public policy can accomplish, or what the best avenue for reform is, if indeed there is one. For an administration prone to smug castigation of its predecessors for their allegedly insufficient deference to scientific expertise, the Obama team is here shockingly cavalier about a scientific question of substantial depth and complexity. If Mrs. Obama, between her undergraduate major in sociology, her minor in African-American studies, and her law degree somehow managed also to acquire a great deal of expertise regarding a medical issue that has proved remarkably difficult for actual scholars and learned authorities, she has not seen fit to share how and where she acquired it.

FACT- Parents, if not satisfied with a school's menu, are allowed to pack a lunch and feed the children something more to their desires.

The $4.5 billion could have been spent creating free gyms, providing low income families with the means to pack their child's lunches... any variety of things that would not encroach on a parents right to feed their children as they see fit and put the government in charge of a right, a responsibility and obligation that belongs solely to a parent, not an overreaching government that wants to stick their nose into every aspect of American's lives.

Sarah Palin's point is valid and she is right. The government continues to expand their power into our lives and that is the point she has been trying to make.

Poll after poll after poll show that Americans favor a smaller government with fewer services over a larger government with more services.

A solid majority of voters (67%) prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a larger, more active government with more services and higher taxes. Just one-in-four (25%) prefer the larger, more active government, a sentiment that has changed little since polling on the question began.

It is a food fight today between Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama, but that is one small battle in a much larger war. The main fight is about preventing government from empowering themselves to the point where they control every aspect of our free lives.

In that war, in that fight, Sarah Palin is on the side of the parents, the people, Americans.

Michelle Obama is on the side of bigger government interference.