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Late Night FDL: When Can You Pay Me to Care?

Schoolchildren are getting free lunches! That’s 67 cents that could have gone to feed a millionaire!

This time around, Rehberg set his sights a little lower down the educational ladder. On a tour of a Montana elementary school (where his sister is principal), Rehberg wanted to know quite a bit about how the school policies its government-subsidized lunch program. From the Billings Gazette:

Rehberg asked [his sister and school district official Brenda Koch] pointed questions about fraud and whether families ever dupe the free and reduced-price meal system.

Koch explained that each year, a random sample of families who sign up and qualify are audited by the district to make sure they meet the income guidelines.

On top of that, she said, the district is audited by the state every year on how its Title I dollars are spent.

“I’d like to punish those systems that rip the taxpayers off,” Rehberg said during the visit, according to the Gazette.

Just seriously wake me up when there’s a meeting I actually need to be at, okay? Just … I will give this guy a twenty dollar bill to shut up. I will give this guy a twenty dollar bill which will pay for probably all the free lunches that week, and then maybe the grown-ups can talk about things that need doing. Like schools with holes in the roof and boilers that don’t work and textbooks that still talk about Czechoslovakia.

Because I just cannot get excited about possible double-digit fraud in the school lunch program. Not while we have illegal, unwinnable wars going on, the entire economy is caving in, sinkholes are opening up and swallowing entire intersections, and Ashton Kutcher is still on my TV. When we have gotten to all those other problems (and seriously, never do a Google news search for “sinkhole,” it’s like a fucking gallery of the Hellmouth) then we can get to the fifty bucks those mean kids are scamming off the fine taxpayers of Montana.

Atrios summed this up:

But the point is that if you’re making the effort to, say, defraud the school lunch program so your kid can have a crap free lunch every day, you’re probably pretty fucking poor regardless. And, you know, the giant cost to government is…a crap free lunch per day.


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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.