New Mexico: Land of the Free Lunch (and breakfast)?

The economist Milton Friedman famously said (as have other economists) that there’s no such thing as a “free” lunch. Apparently, Dr. Friedman never visited New Mexico.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, New Mexico has a higher proportion of its students on the federal free and reduced lunch program than any other state besides (thank you Mississippi). As seen in the chart we put together below, New Mexico has seen rapid growth in the proportion of students on the federal program, the parameters of which are often used as a proxy for poverty. Perhaps this is related to yesterday’s post on the dramatic decline in the number of working age New Mexicans who actually work?

On a personal note, many New Mexico schools now also provide breakfast in the classroom to all students regardless of need on top of the “free” lunch. If you are one of those crazy “old-fashioned” parents who actually decide to feed your kids at home (like me), wouldn’t that second breakfast at school conflict with Michelle Obama’s crusade against childhood obesity? Nah….