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The Hightower Report

School lunches vs. fat-cat dinners

By Jim Hightower, Fri., May 23, 2014

Ah, progress! In the 2012 elections, Republicans cast themselves as budget balancers by promising to whack welfare programs for the poor, snarling that such people are "takers" and "moochers."

Such vindictive sourness didn't play too well with voters, and Republicans now seem to have learned their lesson. Oh, they're still going after food stamps, school lunches, etc. with a vengeance – but this time, with a gentle, even loving tone.

The GOP's official message massagers now have their members saying that they want to "help the poor" by eliminating those programs, referring to them as soulless giveaways that sap their initiative and tether them to the cold, uncaring hand of government. The message is: We're doing this for the poor people's own good. Their chief budgeteer, Rep. Paul Ryan, trotted this theme out at a recent right-wing rally, condemning school lunches as unloving "Obamafare" plopped on plates by unsmiling cafeteria personnel: "What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul," he oozed.

If that doesn't make you gag, try another subsidized lunch program that tender-hearted GOP budget whackers never mention, much less demand that it be eliminated. It's the tax subsidy for corporate meals, drinks, and entertainment. Multimillionaire CEOs can go wining and dining on your and my dime, writing off their high-dollar lunches, cocktails, dinners, and club hopping as a business expense. And expensive it is for us taxpayers – this subsidy adds up to more than $12 billion a year. And that doesn't count the human cost of executive initiative that is sapped by this giveaway and the lack of love a CEO feels from being dependent on unsmiling taxpayers.

We ought to be subsidizing healthy meals for poor people, but not a dime for fat cat CEOs dining out at Chez Gourmand.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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