There are no free breakfasts

To the Editor:

In the world of economics, there’s a saying that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” meaning you cannot get something for nothing.

Based on the comments from Fairmont Area School Superintendent Joe Brown on Wednesday, July 9, I’m inclined to think he believes providing free meals to students comes without any cost to taxpayers.

In Wednesday’s article, Mr. Brown states that “instead of parents paying the 40 cents [for reduced lunch], the state will pay for that.” He later goes on to state that “the money is simply coming from another source.”

I am confused as to what Mr. Brown means by “another source,” as if the state of Minnesota is a magical entity where money grows on trees. As far as I am concerned, money only comes from one source, hardworking taxpayers, the same people who now find themselves financing $1.7B in new taxes after the most recent legislative session.

In terms of school lunch policy, the cost burden was shifted from taxpayers to the state of Minnesota which is … you guessed it … also funded by taxpayers. No matter how many hands and layers of bureaucracy it goes through, money that is distributed by the state of Minnesota has always been generated by taxpayers and business owners of this great state and of the community of Fairmont.

Mr. Brown’s line of thought is one that we see all too often among policymakers in our community, state and nation; where the wider implications of public policy, such as how it is funded, are largely ignored at the expense of taxpayers.

I would never deny that every child in our school system should have access to affordable food options, but I would caution Mr. Brown to remember where the money to implement those policies comes from in the first place: the hardworking taxpayers of our state.

Andrew Hasek