June 17, 2022

Biden is a mess. He and his Cabinet are doing their best to ensure a lost generation among America’s children.

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Normally, I like economists. They’re scientists, work with numbers, focus on the future—all positives in my book…usually. But good grief, Dr. Janet Yellen, when was fast-rising inflation ever a hiccup and not full-blown pneumonia? We both lived through the 1970s, so don’t say you couldn’t have known skyrocketing prices wouldn’t just be bad but also be enduring. And since when was minting new trillions ever the solution? This inflation may shut down American schools altogether in the fall, especially when allied with the administration’s hard-left social and environmental policies.

The USDA’s Tom Vilsack is horning in on the Department of Education’s territory by trying to force all schools to offer environments that resemble that one in Loudon County Virginia. That’s where a fully-intact boy dressed in a skirt raped a girl in a “gender fluid” girls’ high school bathroom. To that end, the Biden Administration is threatening to let little kids, including children of color, go without breakfast, lunch, and snacks at school if the state, school district, or parents try to protect the children’s innocence and personal safety. Biden doesn’t care about the children, and his federal overreach policies prove it.

Sixty percent of the nation’s 50 million school children regularly participate in the USDA’s school-based food programs. A combination of Grand Solar Minimum-driven weather variations lowering some crop harvests and continuing COVID-related disruptions in food production, packing, processing, and distribution, affected food availability this past year in the grocery stores. Institutions—in which pre-portioned food is the norm—saw even more shortages. The USDA waived nutritional and other requirements in the program because schools were unable to meet them. The war in Ukraine, which the Biden administration could have avoided but didn’t, is only going to exacerbate the problem.

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At the beginning of this school year, the USDA increased food reimbursement rates to schools by 15% and, in January, by another $0.25 per meal. Still, most school districts said it wasn’t sufficient to cover the costs.

With monthly jumps in the price of everything, will the school lunch program be sustainable by this fall? Is canceling the program for schools that maintain traditional toileting facilities perhaps just a way to provide enough funding to feed only some of the children? How will the more culturally modest components of the poorer urban areas react to this?

School starts two months before the mid-terms. We’ll see if Dems letting the kids go hungry is a winning strategy.

Then there’s the fact that slightly more than half of our children ride the bus to school. Leaving aside labor shortages and labor cost increases, will the buses be running this fall? Almost all school buses run on diesel fuel which is outstripping gasoline in price increases this year. Do state and local jurisdictions have the budgetary flexibility to cover these costs as they rise week after week?

Most school bus models require diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to meet EPA emissions standards. DEF, which is made with urea, is in global short supply and thus costs much more than last year. The U.S. imports most of its urea so we are not immune from this shortage.

Image: Empty classroom by Piqsels.

Motor oil for diesel engines is also in short supply and thus expensive. Sinopec, the world’s largest petroleum lubricant manufacturer, expects to run out of it in a month and not to have more in stock until the first quarter of 2023. If schools are open, will there be sufficient resources to continue to support programs like athletics and half-day kindergarten that rely heavily on the bus system?