The First Lady’s federal school lunch rules have become the poster child for why Big Government programs fail. No matter how many times we see this occur, proponents of mandates fail to accept that trying to force people to behave in a certain way is not only a rejection of human nature, it is an incredible waste of supposedly scarce tax dollars. The latest example comes from the Los Angeles Unified School District, where conservative estimates say the students throw out $100,000 of food each day because federal rules require kids to take food they have no intention of eating. Here is how the LA Times story begins.

It’s lunchtime at Washington Preparatory High School in Los Angeles, but 16-year-old Parrish Jackson has barely touched her turkey burger and apricots.

She’s dumping them into the trash can.

The apricots are “sour,” the junior says. The meat is “nasty.” If it were up to her, she would just have taken the potato wedges — they’re close enough to fries — then headed to the student store to fuel up on hot Cheetos and juice.

Ah yes — turkey and apricots — just what your average teenager is craving for lunch.

And what’s the culprit for this costly waste? The federal mandate.

The rules, part of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, imposed a dizzying array of requirements on calories, portion sizes, even the color of fruits and vegetables to be served. The rules also increased the amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains that must be offered, imposing higher costs on school districts.