As the commenter pointed out, the sad paper bag lunch story was actually lifted from a book titled An Invisible Thread, but that was only the beginning of discovering just how misconstrued Ryan’s anecdote was.
Here’s the key passage from An Invisible Thread:
“If you make me lunch,” he said, “will you put it in a brown paper bag?”
I didn’t really understand the question. “Do you want it in a brown paper bag?” I asked. “Or how would you prefer it?”
“Miss Laura,” he said, “I don’t want your money. I want my lunch in a brown paper bag.”
“Okay, sure. But why do you want it in a bag?”
“Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them. Miss Laura, can I please have my lunch in a paper bag?”
But wait, where in An Invisible Thread are school lunch programs mentioned?
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson reportedly shared the sack lunch anecdote with Paul Ryan during a congressional hearing in 2013, but the school lunch aspect was inserted by her and repeated by Paul Ryan. Ryan also added that “the left” couldn’t possibly understand the story and that Democrats offer Americans a “full stomach and an empty soul.”
According to the author of An Invisible Thread, Laurie Schroff, the book wasn’t intended to be a partisan argument and, in fact, she believes cutting school lunch programs is a mistake.
She asserted that her book was not “political” and disagreed with Ryan’s “full stomach and an empty soul” comment.
“I want people to think about what they can do to make the world a kinder world,” Schroff said. “I don’t care about Republicans and Democrats. But we are talking about children that need to be fed. Cutting school lunch programs doesn’t accomplish that.”
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.