The School-Lunch Problem.

According to Politico, First Lady Michelle Obama is busy trying to get House Democrats to pass the Senate's version of child nutrition legislation that would provide a little bit more money for every school lunch, update nutrition guidelines, and make it easier for lower-income children to enroll in the free-lunch program. The problem with the Senate version, of course, is that it offsets the cost of the bill by cutting into scheduled food-stamp increases down the road. The increases come from the stimulus bill and were scheduled to be phased out anyway, and some politicians are arguing that it's better to use the money for childhood nutrition because, otherwise, the cash is vulnerable to other, less worthy programs. It's also hard to see another time in the near future when Democrats will be able to pass the bill.

So, Democrats are faced with a bird-in-the-hand problem -- a bill that marginally improves a child nutrition program that needs improving and gives it nothing like the money it probably really needs by taking money from another nutrition program versus, possibly, nothing. Incrementally is the way we do things in America, and we only need to go back to the health-care bill to remember the last time progressives did all the compromising on an important issue. More than anything, this is why liberals might sit November out. It's not that we don't understand the political realities. It's that there are few people who will say, "You know, this is stupid, and counterproductive, and I'd like to champion a bill that doesn't require the left to give up something they want to get something they want a little more."

-- Monica Potts

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