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Paul Ryan resurfaced at CPAC last weekend giving a speech about how he knew of a poor child who refused a charity lunch at school because he would rather have a paper bag packed by a loving parent.
The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy, Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
~ Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 6, 2014
Aw, nice story, even though it made me go "Huh?" First of all, even if Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Aunt Lulu pack an occasional lunch, that still doesn't mean that all children have that option. Maybe there is no food at home to pack? During the recent Snowmageddon inNew York City the Mayor refused to cancel school because kids needed to go there and get that one hot meal a day. Starving children? Charles Dickens is rolling in his grave every time Paul Ryan speaks.
But anyway, Ryan seems to believe that hungry children would rather have an empty paper sack from home, than actual food for lunch. To him, a sack lunch has dignity, even if it has zero nutrition and humiliates a child in a world of well-stocked lunch boxes and kids who take food for granted. To Ryan, government assistance gives a child "an empty soul." Empty soul - oh, please! I suppose his own kids have "full" souls from eating when they are hungry. Ugh.
Well, in spite of his best efforts to once again sell himself (and his own soul) at CPAC, old Paul Ryan blew up the bullsh*t meter again. He wasn't called "Lyin' Ryan" during the 2012 Election for nothing!
This story has been twice plagiarized now: Lyin' Ryan stole it from Lyin' Eloise Anderson, a colleague from Wisconsin in charge of Children's Services (shudder), who was under oath at the time during a Congressional Hearing on Food Stamps chaired by Ryan himself.
Eloise Anderson Testimony to Congress
My thought has always been around the SNAP program even when it was called "food stamps" is, why do you have this program, school program, school breakfast, school lunch, school dinner, when do we start asking parents to be responsible for their children?Anderson made it sound as if she knew the child in the story, when in reality she merely overheard the quote on TV during an interview about the book. An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff. The book description from Amazon:
You know, a little boy told me once that what was important to him is that he didn't want school lunch, he wanted a brown bag because the brown bag that he brought with his lunch in it meant that his mom cared about him. Just think what we have done. If this kid tells me a brown bag was more important than a free lunch, we've missed the whole notion of parents being there for their children because we've taken over that responsibility, and I think we need to be very careful about how we provide programs to families that don't undermine families' responsibilities.
When Laura Schroff brushed by a young panhandler on a New York City corner one rainy afternoon, something made her stop and turn back. She took the boy to lunch at the McDonald’s across the street that day. And she continued to go back, again and again for the next four years until both their lives had changed dramatically. Nearly thirty years later, that young boy, Maurice, is married and has his own family. Now he works to change the lives of disadvantaged kids, just like the boy he used to be.
An Invisible Thread is the true story of the bond between a harried sales executive and an eleven-year-old boy who seemed destined for a life of poverty. It is the heartwarming story of a friendship that has spanned three decades and brought meaning to an over-scheduled professional and hope to a hungry and desperate boy living on the streets.
Okay - what did the author give the indigent boy? Oh yeah - food and hope, both of which have become bad words to the GOP and especially these Libertarian Ayn Rand types who don't give a damn. And the real kicker is that the child mentioned in Ryan's story has grown up now and is an advocate for hunger programs!
I say this to all the schools that I've visited that Maurice has told me the meaning of of the brown paper bag -- the bag is merely paper, but it is really about love…its a reminder that someone loves you. This is the one story that always comes up whenever we have talked about it."
But Maurice describes being hungry as being punched in the stomach. And given the choice between a free lunch and not eating at all, he would choose the free lunch.
~ Author Laura Schroff speaking to Huff Post in rebuttal to Ryan's remarks
Laura Schroff and Maurice Mazyck advocate for the group
No Kid Hungry
Here is Laura Schroff on All In With Chris Hayes:
. . . a simple inquiry would have determined that the person telling the story actually is an advocate for the federal programs that Ryan now claims leave people with “a full stomach and an empty soul.” So he (Ryan) also earns Four Pinocchios.
~ Washington Post
Full stomach, empty soul? Isn't that the slogan for Arby's?
. . . Point taken. People on food assistance have empty souls. Jesus once said, "If you give a man a fish, don't. Period. End of Bible.
~ John Stewart on The Daily Show
Ryan didn’t understand that this was a made-up story. After reporting by the Wonkette blog and The Post’s Glenn Kessler, Anderson admitted that she had never spoken to the boy. She picked up the story from a TV interview. Worse, she then twisted a tale first told by supporters of government nutrition assistance that had absolutely nothing to do with school lunch programs.
But what’s most troubling here is that it did not occur to Ryan to check the story because it apparently didn’t occur to him that most kids on free lunch programs have parents who do care about them. They just can’t afford to put a nutritious lunch in a brown paper bag every day.
Ryan was so eager to make an ideological statement about family structure that he was not bothered by the implicit insult he was issuing to actual families of children on the lunch program. A little more empathy could have saved Ryan a lot of trouble. He apologized for the factual error but not for the insult.
~ E.J. Dionne in WaPo
A kid with a brown paper bag does have someone who loves them; but the kid without the brown paper bag, the one whose parent either won’t or can't – because they’re working hard to get ahead and give themselves and their families better lives – deserves a society that loves and cares for them too.
~ Robert Schlesinger on U.S. News
Let’s be clear — the blame for this lay squarely with Paul Ryan because he’s not only a congressman sharing false anecdotes, he’s the Budget Committee chairman and he’s on a quest to cut vital programs that feed the needy. His next budget proposal is expected to hit food programs hard.
Feeding children shouldn’t be partisan, but it is because of sociopathic bean-counters like Ryan.
~ J.M. Ashby on The Daily Banter
In some ways, Paul Ryan is his own Walking Benghazi - he's never accountable!
~ Sam Seder
#PaulRyan's "brown paper bag" story earns him 4 Pinocchios from @washingtonpost. In other news, water is wet. http://t.co/MxLzTa9D4W #p2
— Eric Wolfson (@ericwolfson) March 8, 2014
@ericwolfson @terri_georgia @washingtonpost Observe The Nose & Watch It Grow.
— Ingrid Alston (@motherAlston) March 9, 2014
Who could Paul Ryan have had in mind when he talked about "Full Stomachs and Empty Souls?" #StopRush pic.twitter.com/N7mWW7t400
— clydetheslyde (@clydetheslyde) March 11, 2014
Distorted facts. Misrepresented research. "Full stomachs and empty souls." All in one week. Help me unseat Paul Ryan https://t.co/jhM4Mxooaq
— Rob Zerban (@robzerban) March 8, 2014
I would a vote for a petri dish of salmanella over poor-family-trashing @RepPaulRyan. Please support our friend, @robzerban!
— Lainie Jenner (@pywackett) March 9, 2014
#CPAC2014 Paul Ryan said welfare gives the poor "full stomachs and empty souls". Should the poor have "empty stomachs and full souls"!?
— Keith Alexander Ashe (@keithashe) March 8, 2014
Paul Ryan: "Free lunch kids are vampires. They have empty souls and can't see their reflections. Garlic scares them. Obama is hiding this."
— Birdy (@alainagrey) March 8, 2014
"Children who receive free lunches have full stomachs & empty souls" - Paul Ryan, getting starving children's boots off America's neck.
— BrickStone DaveSirus (@BrickStoneNews) March 7, 2014