So this is what happens when you put the Democrats in charge

Minnesota has a Democratic governor and a Democratic house, and that means…children get fed.

Kids and parents in Minnesota won’t have to worry about affording school meals thanks to a new law that guarantees free school meals for all children in the state.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed the bill into law Friday to cheers and hugs from some of the kids who will benefit from the program.

The new law provides free breakfast and lunch for all K-12 students, regardless of their parents’ income.

In case you were wondering what the benefits of helping kids might be, here’s an explanation.

One study published in 2020 looked at the adoption of universal school meals in middle schools in New York City that occurred in different years for different schools. The researchers focused on changes in test scores for individual students followed over time. They paid special attention to the comparison of students previously eligible for free meals due to their family’s low income status versus those students who were not previously being offered free meals.

After each school started to offer free meals to all students, test scores increased in both English and math. While test scores went up for both low-income students and those who were not from low-income households, the students who were not previously eligible for free meals benefited more. The gains in test scores for the students whose families had higher incomes or were missing out on free meals due to problems with certifying eligibility was estimated to represent six to 10 weeks of learning.

Another examination of data from NYC found an improvement in attendance for kindergartners once all students were offered free meals.

More recently, a 2022 study looked at the adoption of universal free meals by school districts across the U.S. Using district-level test scores rather than test scores on individual students, the author also found that the decision to offer universal free school meals was followed by an increase in math scores. A comparison of districts with high levels of poverty to those with lower poverty levels found that the math score gains were greater in districts that had fewer students from low-income households. In other words, school districts with fewer low-income students experienced the greatest improvements in math scores.

What happens if you put Republicans in charge? They deny the problem and do nothing.

The bill drew the ire of Republican state Sen. Steve Drazkowski, who argued Tuesday that “hunger is a relative term” in his opposition to feeding kids.

“I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that is hungry,” Drazkowski said on the Senate floor in St. Paul before voting against the legislation. “I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that says they don’t have access to enough food to eat.”

I think that says more about the elite circles he moves in than anything about the state of the citizenry. Why isn’t everyone eating cake?

By the way, Minnesota also allowed immigrants, all immigrants, to get a driver’s license, which is sensible, good news for everyone who uses our roads and highways.

A bill to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain a driver’s license without showing proof of legal residence was passed by the Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday.

The “Driver’s Licenses for All” bill passed in the House by a vote of 69-60.

If you keep Republicans out of power, you’ll get all kinds of nice incremental improvements to your life.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    Bah! Humbug!
    Next, you will claim that California got better government after the Republicans were completely eliminated from influence…

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Tabby Lavalamp @ 2
    För the utterly corrupt form manifest in USA and Britain, yes.

    In countries where it is forbidden for corporations to donate cast to political parties, and where ordinary middle-class people dominate the parties, conservatives can be “ordinary”, non-sociopath politicians.

  3. says

    School lunch programs are very small investments that make huge returns. At least huge returns if you value a healthy and educated population. There are some twisted sorts out there who want people to be stupid. Makes them easier to control.

  4. Doc Bill says

    An old codger I know said that in his day, last century in the 60’s, school lunches were free but milk cost a dime. Occasionally a kid would forget or not have a dime, but the teacher kept a little jar of dimes in her desk. Back then you could just about buy a house for a dime.

  5. wzrd1 says

    hemidactylus, not all that odd. Remember Saint Reagan’s ketchup is a vegetable?

    Tabby Lavalamp @ 2, the current crop, yes, the mainstream, not so much. Those are vastly more common and in reality are just adverse to change of any kind.
    Change is terrifying to some.
    What we have currently is wealthy extremists that just don’t give a shit if they burn everything down if they don’t get their way. They forget what happened in France in 1789 and the extensive use of the French National Razor.

    School lunch objections that are somewhat valid tend to halt with the following conversation:
    “Who is going to pay for them?”
    “Oh, the same people who are paying for treatment of the poor children’s malnutrition treatments, the taxpayer. Which do you think is cheaper?”
    Any denials get swiftly shown study links on childhood malnutrition in the US and I then question, as a veteran, how they could allow our nation to sink so low while I was busy defending it.

    Ray Ceeya, I agree on all points!
    School lunches should be looked upon for what they actually are, not an expense, but an investment in the future.

  6. goaded says

  7. robro says

    Democrat vs Republican is just a check mark on some forms.

    OT but as good a place as any: Ben Barnes, a long time Democrat operative, has come forward with a story of working with his “mentor”, Texas governor John Connally…that’s the one in the car with the Kennedy’s…to prevent an “October Surprise” in 1980 and get Reagan elected.

    Like many Southern Democrats, Connally saw a better opportunity as a Republican and flipped in 1979 to run for the Republican nomination in 1980. He lost to Reagan in the primaries, then…according to Barnes…put in to help Reagan get elected in hopes of getting the nomination for Secretary of State or Defense. Reagan won but offered Connally the Energy seat instead, which Connally declined.

    Barnes is coming out of the woodwork to correct the record on the Carter legacy since Carter is dying soon. There’s no evidence for his claims at this late date.

    Here’s the story behind the NY Times paywall: A Four-Decade Secret: One Man’s Story of Sabotaging Carter’s Re-election.

  8. says

    robro: It’s certainly possible that Connally and some other Republicans encouraged the Iranians to hold onto the hostages until Carter left office. It’s also possible, however, that Khomeini — who absolutely despised Carter the whole time — simply wanted to hurt Carter any way he could, and didn’t need any encouragement from anyone else. He and his inner circle quite likely decided (quite reasonably IMO) that humiliating one US President was all they could accomplish with those hostages, and that once that President was gone, people (both in and out of Iran) would just get tired of that melodrama.

  9. robro says

    Raging Bee — I’m confident Khomeini needed little convincing to hold the hostages until after the election. His one caution might have been that Reagan would be more strident and militaristic than Carter. Quiet, behind the scenes assurances that Reagan would not go on the war path may have given him all he needed.

  10. says

    I, for one, was not wondering what the benefits of helping kids might be. I mean, the benefit of helping kids is…helping kids. Isn’t that, like, what we’re supposed to do as adults? You know, as a society?
    Unfortunately, arguing that it benefits their education will not convince Republicans, as it assumes that Republicans see benefits in education.

  11. says

    The same sorts of things are happening in Michigan, now that Democrats are in charge of all three branches of government for the first time since the 1980s.

  12. wzrd1 says

    @Raging Bee, the NSA has intercepts with Reagan personally speaking with the Iranian leadership to hold off releasing the hostages until after the election. That directly lead to the arms for hostages deal and when we lagged, some of our merchant vessels boarded by Iranian forces and searched.
    There are also intercepts of Nixon with North Vietnam sabotaging the cease fire until after he won the election.
    The Republican Party is the party of treason and long has been.

  13. crivitz says

    Glad to see this school lunch program pass and I find the objections to it stupid. People–in the USA for sure seem to have weird ideas about food and one is that providing it at no charge, even to kids, is anathema. Related to this are the many stories I’ve heard in which people talk about a great dining experience that goes something like: “That was the best meal I’ve ever had–it was tasty and cheap to boot!” How many people go to all-you-can-eat buffets determined to get the absolute maximum number of calories for the price they paid?

    After a career in the US military, I’ve found that the budget for food service is always strictly accounted for and frequently audited. A unit’s food service budget has to balance to the penny and the count of meals served and how many troops your unit has on duty must match. If it doesn’t, that means a soldier or two may have gotten a meal that they didn’t deserve somehow. Budgets for other areas (most of them much higher than food service) are not given nearly the same scrutiny, whether for supplies, services or equipment. Our society’s obsessive focus on food and the idea of someone getting a “free lunch” is ridiculous.

  14. Jemolk says

    Definitely worth quite a bit. It’s not enough, but it doesn’t even compare to the alternative.

  15. wzrd1 says

    crivitz, far too many seek the additional calories. Me, I graze and browse the salad bar. I’ll literally come back with an overflowing dinner plate with fruits and veggies.
    Leftover main course then becomes my bagged lunch.

    I’ve found, after a lengthy career in the US military, we account for food more closely than we account for ammunition expended.
    But, as a society, we’ve adopted the attitude that necessities for life are not part of human rights. So, we get the right to life insanity, then force those who are forced into life to starve to death, to make Murica grate.
    When we do allow food to the poor, it’s typically processed crap, with all of the health sequelae that brings, then blame the victim of that forced narrow selection, doing our level best to then deny care, despite Article I, Section 8’s requirement. All, while bashing “entitlements”, which is a disparaging term politically for Constitutional rights.

  16. Artor says

    From the party of “Won’t someone think of the children?!?” comes a hearty, “Fuck those kids. Let ’em starve!”

  17. says

    Two centuries ago, when I was in grade school, lunch cost an exorbitant $0.35. I was fortunate and lived in a ‘middle-class’ neighborhood and didn’t know of any kid that couldn’t afford that. But, later, there were times when my paycheck barely covered rent and food was a luxury. (one package of hot dogs, a bottle of ketchup and a loaf of day old bread was dinner for a week)
    @2 Tabby Lavalamp wrote: I don’t think it’s possible to be a conservative without having some degree of psychopathy.
    I reply: here is a prophetic quote
    What has allowed so many psychopathic personalities to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next.
    — Kurt Vonnegut
    @10 robro: here is a similar Ronnie the Raygun story open to all:
    @20 Artor: you are so right. repugs don’t care about anyone else. see quote above.

  18. wzrd1 says

    Raging Bee @23, without going into classified stuff, there is this:
    Google “October Surprise” for more on Saint Reagan’s shenanigans.

    The rest are in NSA intercepts that remain classified, even if well discussed openly.

  19. StevoR says

    @ 23. Raging Bee : I dunno what wzrd1’s sources were but gogling has found me this :

    Plus this :

    Whilst over at Marcus Ranum’s Stderr blog just the other day or so we had this :

    on that.

  20. indianajones says

    @Robro, comment 10: “Democrat vs Republican is just a check mark on some forms.”

    Yeah, but not this time right?

  21. StevoR says

    @10. robro : “Democrat vs Republican is just a check mark on some forms.”

    No. No its not. You post that onthis thread. Did you not read or think about the OP here?

    yeah, we can and do wish the Democratic party were a lot better – but they are nowhere near as bad as the Republicans Trump cultist sociopathic mob of scum.

  22. Chris Capoccia says

    Republican view that government can’t do anything right becomes a self fulfilling prophecy where they attract politicians rewarded for not trying to do anything except being the racist culture war uncle at Thanksgiving. Democrats make make weird policy sometimes, but at least they start from believing good policy is possible and work towards making it happen

  23. Jake Wildstrom says

    How many people go to all-you-can-eat buffets determined to get the absolute maximum number of calories for the price they paid?

    Oh, it’s worse. I feel like I saw a lot of articles on Lifehacker and whatnot back in the day about making sure at buffets that you get all the high-cost items like crab legs and such, and I’m thinking, “wait, how does cost to the provider relate to utility to me? I mean, sure, if I want crab legs, I’ll get crab legs, but getting them just because they’re expensive — how does that help the buffet be good for me?” There is definitely a mindset which only engage with things through their dollar value and I think that’s connected to the mindset that begrudges people anything free.

    (As for general social benefits, I’m all for universalizing entitlements and putting all the means-testing on the revenue side. UBI, public healthcare, school meals, childcare. Subsidize it all with an aggressively progressive tax rate and you end up with the difference between social services and revenue-raising mostly being a “net support” mostly for the poor, like they’re supposed to be, but without laying the burden of proof on them.)

  24. StevoR says

    @15. feralboy12 : “As so often happens, the Onion is on top of this.”

    Cheers for that. Some spot on satirical brilliance there albiet really close to the truth. In fact, pretty much the truth they just don’t put it quite that way – tho’ again, close.