December 02, 2011

• A loaf of bread is about $2 in America and usually contains 24 slices, which can be 12 sandwiches if you’re cool with crusts (and if you’re starving, you should be).
• A jar of peanut butter is about $3 and provides 12 sandwiches.
• A jar of jelly is about $3 and provides at least 12 sandwiches.
• Water is free.

That’s $2 + $3 + $3 = $8 for a dozen sandwiches, or $0.67 per sandwich. If you want to really live the life of Riley, replace the PB&J with butter and ham, and the price swells to a whopping $1 per sandwich. Thanks, calculator. Now I can enjoy my coffee in peace.

What parent can’t scrape together three quarters a day? A bum can gather enough change to buy 12 oz. of vodka, but you can’t get it together to create a sandwich for your child? Judging by the size of the moms’ asses at my daughter’s public school, these women are hardly starving. I would be stunned if one of them didn’t have an equally large TV. So why is it the taxpayer’s job to provide New York’s 1.1 million public-school students with lunch? The New York Department of Education’s budget is $24 billion a year. That’s $21k per student or, if the number of students per classroom remains in the low 20s, about a half-million dollars per classroom.

This is one of those deal-breakers that leads Republicans and Democrats to an impasse. The left is totally incapable of crunching the numbers because doing so inevitably pins some culpability on impoverished (and most likely single) mothers. When they hear “free-lunch program,” they think of Dorothea Lange’s iconic image of Dust Bowl poverty. The problem with such romanticism is that it creates policies begging to be abused. The millions of dollars in unpaid lunch fees prove this isn’t about the system helping the poor. It’s about New Yorkers taking advantage of a patronizing policy some asshole billionaire dreamed up to feel better about himself. As was made painfully clear in the Atlantic Yards project, what’s good for the billionaire goose isn’t necessarily good for the hundredaire gander.



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