Coping: With the “Free Lunch Crowd”

In our Wednesday report, we touched on a very difficult point for many people to comprehend:  Namely, who should really be allowed to vote in America.

I proposed something that could be called Social Contribution-Based Voting.

In the early days of America, as you may know, only people who were landowners could vote.  Since they paid the bills, why not?

In modern times, this would never fly for any number of reasons, not the least of which is it doesn’t recognize the rights of renters.

So it occurred to me that since government is already moving toward auditing every nickel in, or out, and worried about confiscating cash if we have too much, and so on, that we should just go ahead and set up a real double-entry accounting program to see who is costing the country a lot and who’s a contributor.

Things like Social Security would not be considered a burden since we all paid into it, but outstanding  student loans that have not been paid back, or being a professional welfare recipient, well those people would not be allowed to vote. 

Because they cost more than they contribute, seems to me they should not be allowed to vote because if they are, at some point, the professional welfare class will allocate itself everything and the real contributors (like those who work, pay taxes, and invest) will be stripped of benefit.

So half an hour after posting, along comes a note from subscriber Fred up in the Jonesboro, Arkansas area.   It asked, rather pointlessly, “Who says there ain’t no free lunches” and it contained an editorial by Chris Wessel, editor of the Jonesboro Sun newspaper.

Mr. Wessel generously agreed to let us repost his report of June 22 which goes as follows:

(If you have high blood pressure, a pill would be suggested about here…)

Free food free-for-all

The hamburger, I’m guessing, weighed about a quarter pound and included fresh sliced tomatoes and a slice of American cheese on a soft, fresh bun.

A small portion of fries was included along with an apple, a small carton of 1 percent milk and the condiments needed to jazz up the taste of the burger and fries.

I didn’t get to eat the lunch until an hour or so after it was brought to me Monday, but it was still tasty after I nuked the burger and fries at home in the microwave.

I actually thought it was quite good. My only complaint was that I could have eaten a few more fries.

The best part: It was free.

Roger Watkins brought it to me to prove a point.

He had called earlier that morning to say he had eaten a free breakfast at Micro Society Academy as part of the Jonesboro School District’s summer youth feeding program. He wanted to know if I’d go to lunch with him at Parker Park where they hand out free lunches.

I told him that anyone older than 18 had to pay $3.25 for a breakfast or lunch. Roger, who is a half dozen decades the other side of 18, said the age requirement to pay wasn’t true, that they were giving out free breakfasts and lunches to anyone who showed up and asked for one or two — or six.

“Our story said anyone 18 or older had to pay,” I told Roger, quoting from an article Sun reporter Chris Pinkard wrote June 7 about the program’s first week in which 5,700 meals were served.

“Let’s go to lunch, and I’ll show you,” Roger insisted.

I told him I would go to breakfast with him sometime later in the week, just to let me know when he wanted to go.

About 11:30 later than morning, Roger showed up with a Styrofoam container and a small cartoon of milk with a note attached.

“Meal on Wheels care pkg for less fortunate. Will try to get you on food stamps + Medicare + any + all other entitlements that you & I qualify for. Enjoy your meal, Roger.”

I caught Roger before he got out of the building. He told me he had gotten the lunch free at Parker Park.

“All you have to do is give them your name,” he said. “I told them I was Chris Wessel.”

Laughing, Roger quickly admitted he hadn’t really used my name. He’s a funny guy.

He also said he had gotten a meal for himself, his wife, a friend and even one for his dogs.

He proved his point: Jonesboro Public Schools’ summer breakfast and lunch program isn’t just about feeding hungry children during the summer months when school is out. It’s also about hiking numbers to inflate the need and to get more tax dollars.

You see, the program doesn’t cost the school district a dime. The Arkansas Department of Human Services is reimbursing the district for 100 percent of the costs, Becky Head, general manager for the Child Nutrition Department at JPS, told The Sun.

DHS gets the money from the federal government. The more meals given out, the more reimbursement of tax dollars to the school district. The reimbursement costs cover food, labor, transportation and supplies, Head said, noting that because of the summer feeding program, she can also keep her staff working during the summer months when they normally would have been off.

The program, which runs from May 31 to Aug. 5, is designed to give away 60,000 free breakfasts and lunches Monday through Friday to youngsters 18 and younger. That’s 47 days. In order to give away 60,000 free meals, that means Head and her staff would have to give away 1,277 meals each day — 6,385 a week. That’s a lot of meals.

That’s why Roger says anyone can get a free meal, regardless of age.

“The program is pretty loose,” Roger said. “I just wanted to show you it’s free meals and anybody can get it, whether you’re 4, 40 or 80. It’s open range. A lot of them (in line) are getting four, five or six to go. It’s a waste — a government waste. And pretty soon, seemingly, there will be more takers than givers.”

Listing a half dozen, Roger complained about all the other freebies government agencies provide these days.

“All these free government programs, it ain’t right, but I can’t solve it,” he said. “It’s buying votes. All these free programs are all about buying votes.

“It would be a laughing matter if it wasn’t so serious,” Roger added. “It’s ridiculous. There’s so much fraud. There’s no oversight. It’s just abuse.”

Roger said he’d pick me up this morning at 8 to get free breakfasts at Micro Society.

After my column today, I hope he brings some cash.

Chris Wessel, editor of The Sun, can be reached at 935-5525, Ext. 250, or by email at

By the time I finished talking to Wessel (who we again thank for reprint permission) it became clear that this scam is being worked all over the country.  Give away free breakfasts – and lunches – and care to guess who foots the bill?

In the meantime, we are shocked

High paid administrator of a public college who lives in a state-owned mansion, drives a taxpayer supplied car, with taxpayer paid gas in it?  Even  the poor dispossessed offspring of such people can qualify for a “free lunch.”

The nifty way this works is even more outrageous:  Because such programs really can give away free lunches, it will be used as “proof” of the program’s success and next year, you can bet your last5 tax dollar, it will be expanded again.

And so goes another fine example of our motto around here:  Everything is a Business Model – even the free lunch.

What a national restaurant organization isn’t suing the government for unfair business practices, especially those in an income bracket where they should be buying their own food, is totally beyond me.

But pay attention under those golden arches, government’s coming for you, too  At a price point of zero, thanks to sticking us tax-paying types with the bill, how long before government will pass the billion meals served market?

When the new glasses get fitted, we get back from a cooling spell up north and such, and I’m OK to fly, maybe Elaine and I can fly up to Jonesboro.  See if we can get Chris Wessel get us lunch. Or at any of the other give-away locations nationwide.

On you, of course.  Might even pick up lunch for Zeus the Cat, while we’re at it.

Write when you get rich….

44 thoughts on “Coping: With the “Free Lunch Crowd””

  1. I lived in Hoboken, NJ for a while next to the city maintenance lot. One day I looked out and the lot was full of brand new cop cars. I asked the local assemblyman about them and he said the city had to spend this govt. money otherwise the next year they would get less from the government. So they bought all these cruisers with the money. This little town that was exactly one mile square, had so many police vehicles that there would not have been road space for them to all be driven at the same time! Government waste is everywhere. Who says we need more politicians? Maybe it’s time for a businessman to run things, if it’s not too late…

    • I have no problem with a businessman running things…but that guy isn’t Donald “I will lie, pilfer, and screw you out of your money” Trump. There are a million businessman with a billion times more credentials than Dumb as Gump Trump. Warren Buffet driving around in his Honda, definitely could trim government…Larry Ellison would intimidate the crap out of lawmakers to make changes…Carl Icahn is the master of downsizing…Phil Knight would “run” circles around Congress (Pun intended)…Larry Page and Sergey Brin would “search” for discrepancies in government spending (Pun really intended). Steve Ballmer isn’t “soft” when it comes to “Micro” or macro economics. (pun out of control). Let’s raise our standards people. Trump is a complete and utter disaster…Can’t anyone see this?

      • Yep. I see it. And it looks like a freight train bearing down on us. Whether the conductor is ‘she who will not be named’ or Frump – the news isn’t good.

      • Yeah, but Trump is the ONLY choice who is in the running. He may not be an ideal person, but he’s the only one running that isn’t already a crook. I admit it is not ideal. But I left the US and I’m just giving my two cents. Glad it’s your problem and not mine. I guess you would rather have a felon for president??? To each, his peach.

      • A very cogently articulated point.
        And also irrelevant.
        None of these gentlemen have stepped forward to run, and are therefore not choices for this upcoming election.

      • They’re not running.

        With Trump, there’s a chance things will improve. With Clinton, there’s no chance — none at all…

      • Both Political Parties have given us an injustice. They created the huge debt but we will suffer for it. I would rather have Donald Trump as president than Hillary the liar plus other things she and Bill have done.

      • Can you dig deeper? Do you understand ‘choice’? Do you know what a 2 party system brings? Your bellyaching about Trump’s reputation, why don’t you belly ache about Bill and Hillary’s, cause your gonna get another phony bill and another hill to climb.

  2. With this, and the previous blog, you’ve planted yourself not so firmly on a slippery slope – who’s to say what counts as contributing to society? Denying someone the right to vote/excluding American citizens from their rights is a very bad idea.

    I personally would prefer that someone who is hungry be fed – I would think that going to a school to get a lunch would be a ‘bother’ unless you really needed a meal. In addition, consider that the suppliers of the food supplied during the summer maintain a steady conduit of food so it is ‘good for business’ too.

    • Amazing. To think that you would prefer a never ending supply of poor people to feed than people bringing children into the world that THEY can afford to feed.

  3. Well, it looks like this is a great example of the power of bureaucrats. This entire anti-TANSTAAFL thing may have started out well-intentioned, but it is clear from what Chris wrote that the way the program is designed is flawed, without any oversight and essentially was rolled out and let loose into the wild by the Feds, as the state doesn’t have that much fat to spare.

    The people who rolled the money downhill to the states are likely Federal bureaucrats as well. All they monitor is how well the ‘program’ was received, and if it was well received, they request more funds. Why even the IMF says the US needs to tend to her poor, because we aren’t doing enough.

    George, this isn’t going away – this federal monstrosity has to break before something else can appear. It has too much inertia, it is too pervasive
    and completely metastatic. This was likely a small federal program – think how the big ones work, such as those for the .mil-plex.

  4. Not to worry, the government just printed the money to pay for those lunches.

    Your tax dollars are going into the defense budget for bullets and bombs to keep the country safe.

  5. That is interesting.. a few years ago.. it just happened that our income had completely died.. I having heard that our government pays people not to work was stuck in my brain.. went.. Nope.. you own a car that is newer than ten years,You own a home.. ( it doesn’t matter that the bank owns it) you can sell these items and live comfortably on the proceeds.. how do you figure I asked… well it just seems that the living wage is what is determined to be the average tax deduction divieded by twelve. Now maybe you live in one of those states where you don’t have to have an income to get a loan and free money rains from the skys.. but I don’t.. so at that time the average deduction averaged out to just under eight hundred a month.. if you had any assets.. ( retirement) that go over that amount that amount is deducted..
    so no heating assistance, no food stamps, no assistance what so ever.( these benefits are usually given to single families families that make minimum wages with children or the elderly since they do give a few more leeway’s to those people. ( imagrants get a whole new write off being displaced I feel they should go by the same laws we do.. come here if you want work pay taxes, pay a non resident tax, until you get your green card or citizen ship other wise no benefits. instead they pay no taxes get everything an employer pays in and they pay in they get all the tax give aways like the EIC tax credit along with free medical and dental free college and free housing all because they come under a different category.. where a hard working man or woman cannot get any of those benefits. I know I have told the story about a guy I worked with in the early eighties. I worked six jobs he got full hours at my main job at the end of the year he took home more than I grossed at the six part time jobs just from the tax bennies he got back. I realized Reagan admin put those in to spur the economy they just didn’t include americans)
    I thought maybe it was just me so I asked.. No here at least if you get assistance the needy only get it for three months then they have to have a job.. after daycare assistance to a single mother the average daycare costs is reduced to a little under two hundred a child per week.. the lady I talked to had three kids.. she got fifteen dollars a day food stamps per child and twenty five for her her daycare was just nineteen hundred and seventy five per month with daycare assistance.. because she got daycare and food stamps assistance she wasn’t eligible for rent assistance.
    I’m Just saying.. I have heard there are places and I don’t know how your state works it.. but its no free lunch here.
    There is meals on wheels if you walk in the the homeless shelter or any other facility where they serve meals you can get them.. Kind of like the cheese and peanut butter giveaways in the Reagan era.. everyone in line was the wealthiest.. those stealing food at stores usually have the money in their pocket to pay for it or come from affluent families.. very seldom will you see a truly needy person unless extreme desperation sets in.
    again this is my opinionated rant…

  6. This governme t monstrosity is not going to break. I’ve heard that line for 50 yeRs. As long as the government has a printing press we will keep adding debit and interst. The debit will keep going higher a d any country that will try to change the monetary system will be taken out by unknown assailants or revolution like Libya. The smy will not be allowed to fall no matter how many newsletters say it is nust about to happen.

  7. Ahh the human trait of looking at how big the pile of bananas is in front of all the other monkeys.

    Capitalism is when the government gives you a benefit. Socialism is when the government gives your neighbor a benefit. Communism is when the government gives a stranger a benefit.

    It ain’t so much the government giving as who is receiving that got your craw.

    • Nooo….Capitalism is where the government stays out of the way and you earn a benefit.
      Socialism is where government makes you share the benefit.
      Communism is when the government makes you work and it benefits.

  8. If they dont give out a ‘free lunch’ then the country would rapidly devolve into civil war. When ppl can afford to buy the turkeys anymore, then they will just en masse raid the supermarkets and just walk out with the turkeys in hand. People are not going ot go hungry. Thats the problem with Trump. He will cut a lot of social programs, and that will save $$$, BUT, ppl will have to sleep in their house with a rifle/AR by the door. The man has some good ideas, BUT the problem is that the ‘horse left the barn a long time ago’ to lock the door. His ideas should have been put in place say maybe 20-30 years ago, they wont work now….not w/o causing a lot of civil strife, and that’s the point of the whole thing, isnt it? S-U-R-V-I-V-A-L. Just like the titile of your online newsletter… What good is fixing things if it costs one their life?? No good. No good at all.

  9. “All you have to do is give them your name,” he said. “I told them I was Chris Wessel.”

    Law is a ‘funny’ thing. (2)?Whoever, for any of the following purposes, intentionally uses, attempts to use, or possesses with intent to use any personal identifying information or personal identification document of an individual, including a deceased individual, without the authorization or consent of the individual and by representing that he or she is the individual, that he or she is acting with the authorization or consent of the individual, or that the information or document belongs to him or her is guilty of a Class H felony:
    (a) To obtain credit, money, goods, services, employment, or any other thing of value or benefit.

    That “free lunch” gotten that way – Class H and the penalty is a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to 6 years, or both

    • Very next paragraph:

      “Laughing, Roger quickly admitted he hadn’t really used my name. He’s a funny guy.”

      • CJ – how EXACTLY does that make it not a crime (in certain states) Because its FUNNY? Or the guy next to him had that name? Or is it ‘not a crime’ because a DA isn’t going to follow the letter of the law?

      • I’m sorry Antisthenes, you and I are reading the article very differently. I am reading that he said he used his name jokingly, that he was only kidding and did not actually use the other name to receive the lunch. From how I read the article, he simply said it in jest.

  10. Wow. And to think I put myself through college (a couple decades ago), never slept except 3 hours a night, never ate well (my blood sugar was 40 once, cholesterol was 104), worked 3 jobs… to pay for this!

  11. Well George, my husband works for an inner-city non profit and I can tell you this story doesn’t surprise me in the least. It is common practice and not even hid. Maybe that’s why he can’t get his blood pressure under control. That is one of reasons most of the people who work for a living are voting for TRUMP cause enough is ENOUGH. By the way, my husband always says if he ever comes back he’s coming back on a “free ride.”

  12. I recall looking carefully at a depression era photo of a soup line and noting there were several guys (don’t remember there being any women) that were well dressed and affluent appearing. One particularly striking gentleman was especially dapper in an expensive looking heavy overcoat left open over his three piece, jaunty hat, puffing a big cigar with a big grin on his fat face. There’s Rodger and his friends; going beyond unsympathetic and stealing the misfortunate’s free lunch and campaigning to end it; just like the old days. No doubt they also lined their pockets doing business with the government.

    • Sadly, your recall leaves off hundreds of pictures showing just the opposite! How could you miss all the pictures showing the hallowed cheeks and starving people? LOOK AGAIN!!!

  13. Contrary to your opinion, not everything is a business model. Specifically, LIFE is not a business model. A monetary value cannot and should not be attached to everything, although the globalists are trying their hardest to do so. Globalism is a business model carried to extremes.

    Limiting voting rights to only those with money would hasten our demise, as fewer and fewer people (i.e., globalists) would rule and depopulate the masses. No one would ever make it out of poverty because the rulers wouldn’t want competition for their inordinate and immoral power and money. A person’s worth and right to have a say in the way their government is run should not be assessed by whether their personal finances fall into the red column or the black column.

    Your idea would return us to feudalism. You also discount the economic sabotage of corporate welfare, whose cost to the country is probably at least as much as social welfare. So by your reckoning, most CEOs shouldn’t be allowed to vote, either.

    • Dear Tumbleweed: We is in feudalism already – corporate feudalism.

      To end it, we must seize the power of the ballot box again

  14. Having worked for an aerospace company that supplied govt contracts, the rule was to never give them a number less than the previous one. Meaning trying to save money on a project was verboten as that meant you would get less money the next time around. What.A.ClusterF**K.

  15. Our nation an economy appear to be like a upside down triangle setting on a point rather than a base, Eventually it will tip and fall on its side, When it does all things will change, Untill then the sky is the limit on stupidity.

  16. “but outstanding student loans that have not been paid back, or being a professional welfare recipient, well those people would not be allowed to vote.”

    I have outstanding student debt, which I have been paying back and never missed a single payment in 10 years. I also have a full time job and I’m paying close to $500 every month in income tax alone. Are you trying to tell me I’m an unproductive member of society who should not be allowed to vote?

    I’ve lived in welfare saturated neighborhoods. Being a productive, tax paying citizen and being lumped in with the likes of such welfare zombies will not win you any additional readers.

  17. Hillary-Billary will be the next prez, no doubt about it…. take that to the bank. Make plans for a war to end all wars….. US/Europe vs Russia/China. We haven’t been importing all those dapper young men from south of the border for no good reason (here and Europe.) You need to clean your crystal ball or maybe your new glasses will help you better see our future.

    Mommy Hillary will sell this next war to joe-public and no one will stand up to MOTHER Hillary. Real Men/Fathers have been sold down the river for many generations and now WICKED mother is taking over.

    It’s written in the stars above. I’d bet the farm on this one!

  18. “it became clear that this scam is being worked all over the country”. Do businesses still get to write off business lunches, dinners, etc.? So free lunches for them, too. I bet they can write off what they pay their accountants as well.

    • Business meals are 50% deductible. But remember, this is a deduction to reduce income. You spend a dollar to save a 25 cents of tax. In the case of meals, you spend two dollars to save 25 cents of tax. No free lunches here.

  19. When your column is so good it makes me want to throw up, you are doing good. My wife wants me to take another BP pill. We are so screwed.

  20. Every year the kids were in school, I received forms for “free or reduced lunch” accompanied by letters explaining the school system received largess, both for its general fund and its cafeteria program, based on the number of forms returned, not the number approved, and begging me to fill them out. I thought this smacked of institutionalized dishonesty, and refused to play the game. That said, it’s only one of many money sinks the government has spawned since LBJ. Based on observation, all the “war on poverty” programs can be gamed, and all are. The only way to end abuse is end the programs, putting entirely new (and actually thought-through) systems, or none at all, in their stead. Alternatively, the gummint could get out of the personal welfare game and give it back to the communities, where it belongs, but that won’t happen.

    A bureaucracy’s principal function is the continuation of its own existence.

    Once created, a bureaucracy will never go away, unless the organization which created it, abolishes it, or itself goes away.

    Bureaucracies, irrespective of charter or mandate, only serve their public or institutional function when said function does not interfere with their existence.

    Based on Wessel’s OpEd, the town is giving away about $1500/day in food, but they’re also giving away nearly $1000/day in labor (figuring four employees, a supervisor, and a bureaucrat overseer.) Assuming there’s a similar program in every town with a population greater than 4000-5000 (I know that such is the case, in my part of the world), and this little program starts to run to some significant green…

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