Editor's Note: Peter Heck returns to the studio and to the Liberty Tree on June 18.
This isn’t really happening in America, is it? You remember not long ago there was quite a bit of talk about the Obama food police going through the lunch box of a young student to make sure the meal her mom packed met with the government standards. There was some controversy surrounding that incident and whether it was simply miscommunication (as the school suggested) or the Jello Gestapo (as the parents suggested).
Well, it’s kind of difficult to excuse or explain away this one:
One can find more evidence of the erosion of true federalism in the state of Utah. In a report proffered by Jonathon M. Seidl for The Blaze this past Thursday, a Salt Lake City-area high school is forced to pay a $15,000 fine for operating a soda machine during school hours. The administrators for Davis High School must now find alternative means to fund fine arts programs or cut the programs accordingly. The report by Mr. Seidl indicates that the operation of the vending machine during school hours was "accidental," as it occurred during lunch hour. As stated in the report:
Federal law requires the school to turn off its soda machines during the lunch period, which is 47 minutes a day. And Davis High school did turn off the machines in the lunch room. However, the school didn't realize that there was another machine in the school bookstore that wasn't being turned off. And when the food police realized it, the school was hit with a $0.75 fine per student for the duration of the offense.
The most appalling thing about this whole story isn’t the fact that the feds are taking $15,000 from a school for such a silly reason. The most appalling part is the fact that there is actually a federal law regulating when a coke machine can be turned on. How is that possibly – in any Gumby view of the Constitution – the purview of the federal government?
I don’t care how large you view the commerce clause to be or how wide your view of the necessary and proper clause is, that is such a blatant overreach of federal law into the autonomy and power of a state it isn’t even close.
Furthermore, exactly who is going around policing these kinds of things anyway? And how much are they being paid? And who is paying them? I’ll give you one guess on the latter question – you and I are.
Just remember this story the next time you hear liberals complain about how much money Republicans are “draining” from public schools in support of alternative education models.