Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, a candidate for Senate, suggested that low-income students either pay or work for their subsidized school lunches to teach them that “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
“One of the things I’ve talked to the Secretary of Agriculture about — why don’t you, you know, have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel, instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch. Or maybe sweep the floor in the cafeteria,” he says in a video first reported by The Huffington Post.
Kingston adds: “And yes, I understand that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money, but think what we would gain as a society in getting people, getting the myth out of their head that there is such thing as a free lunch.”
The federal school lunch program provides free lunches to children from families with incomes at or less than 130 percent of the poverty level and reduced-price lunches for students from families making up to 185 percent of the poverty level.
Kingston’s view is not unique within the GOP. In 2011, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a fellow Georgia Republican, suggested firing janitors at schools in low-income areas and hiring students instead.