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May 9 2012

Banning Bake Sales: A Half-Baked Idea

Lori Drummer

The State of Massachusetts is poised to ban bake sales and other competitive food sales in school-related fundraisers – all in the name of “saving the children.”  Think Marie Antoinette, only now, the peasants don’t even get the cake. 

Didn’t liberal busybodies in the PTA invent the bake sale in the first place as a way of poor mouthing the legislature over pencil supplies? 

Now, I take a backseat to no one in the sheer pleasure of watching liberal activists fighting each other when their overbearing demands come hilariously into conflict.  But this one goes into dizzying absurdity, even by Occupy movement standards.   

Bay State liberals have presented absolutely no evidence that banning bake sales will actually do anything to curb childhood obesity.  However, it will most certainly hurt the ability of wholesome, energetic, and active students from raising money for good causes. 

Mind you, the Nanny State of Massachusetts is not just trying to crush the entrepreneurial spirit of its youth and protect the government food monopoly during school hours.   No, they’re kicking it up the crazy scale a few notches by “pushing schools to expand the ban 24/7 to include evening, weekend and community events such as banquets, door-to-door candy sales and football games.” 

No more popcorn or pizza at football games.  No more potlucks and sodas at the arts festival.  No more neighbor kid offering a $2 chocolate bar.  Are these people serious?

The state should not be limiting students’ ability to work and raise money to support their extra-curricular activities.  Quite the opposite.  They should be encouraging activities that introduce young people to entrepreneurship and personal responsibility, which will enable them to increase their exposure to the arts, cultural studies, and the very athletic programs these liberals purport to encourage. 

If the basketball team wants to go to camp, the band needs new uniforms, or if the French Club wants to try some real French food, they should have every opportunity to work to earn the money for these rewards.  The kids need the money, and bake sales work.

Students will learn nothing positive from this ban, nor will the obesity problem be addressed in any meaningful way. 

As Michael Farris of ParentalRights.org said recently, “The idea you can stop [the obesity trend] by banning bake sales really is ridiculous.”  It’s not just ridiculous – it’s absolutely absurd.

The latest fad in government control is dominion over our diets, and once again it is dressed up as being for the children.  Heaven forbid we encourage and trust parents to watch their children’s diets.  Instead, the brave fight against childhood obesity means government bureaucrats get sweeping new regulatory powers, while struggling  restaurants owners get a costly mandate for nutrition labels, we adults get to pay new fat and soda taxes, a ban on Happy Meal toys, a ban on drink and snack machines, and now a ban on bake sales.   

The upsides of school fundraisers are enormous.  Kids selling brownies and candy bars isn’t what is expanding kids’ waistlines.  But those fundraisers are expanding opportunities for students who could otherwise not afford to participate in extra-curricular activities.  Fundraisers like bake sales allow parents and students to take some healthy ownership over their own education lives, instead of taking whatever the government decides to dole out.

In banning bake sales, Massachusetts has outdone the elite indifference even of Marie Antoinette.  No easy feat.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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