During a speech to the Jackson County Republican Party last Saturday, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said that poor children should have to pay or sweep floors to get "free" school lunches.
Rep. Kingston failed to mention that children from wealthy families do not personally pay for their school lunches.
“I’m on the Agriculture Committee, we have jurisdiction over the school lunch program,” said Rep. Kingston, noted RawStory.com. “The school lunch program is very expensive.”
“One of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about is, 'Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch?'” added Rep. Kingston. “Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria, and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money.”
“Think what we would gain as a society in getting people, getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch,” claimed Rep. Kingston.
Following outrage over the comments, Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford claimed the fault lay with people who don't want poor children to work for their meals.
"It is sad that trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans so quickly devolves into the usual name-calling partisan hysteria," Crawford told The Huffington Post.
"Having worked from a young age himself, Congressman Kingston understands the value of hard work and the important role it plays in shaping young people," added Crawford.