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So while everyone else seems to be having a fit about something there are things that need to be attended to.  One important issue that should be voted on before the lame duck session ends is the Renewal of the Child Nutrition Act.  I've been following and writing about this issue for over a year now and yet we still don't have a new bill.  Still.

You'd think what we feed our kids would be a priority.  This seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout both legislative branches of Government, finding the funding, the resources and doing the right thing.  But come on people, school lunches!

And we're talking about big issues, about overhauling the nutrition guidelines and actually attempting to give more money to provide a bit more nutrition and a little less junk to the thirty million plus kids who eat these meals every school day in American lunch rooms.  We can do better.

The Hill reports that Time is Running out on Child Nutrition and that's one thing we don't have, more time.

Before Congress goes home this year, it should promote the wellbeing of our nation's kids by passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.  This legislation provides a historic investment in the health of our children, is fully paid for, and won’t add to the deficit.

The bill provides an additional $4.5 billion for child nutrition over ten years.  While many well-meaning groups wish the bill were even bigger, time is running out.  In addition, pressure to reduce spending in Washington will mean that the next Congress may be more focused on deficit reduction than on healthy school foods. Consider what will happen if the House fails to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act:

* Unhealthy foods and sugary drinks will remain in schools.  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act includes a bipartisan provision to update the national standards for school foods sold through vending machines, schools’ stores and a la carte in the cafeteria.  This provision enjoys broad support from the food and beverage industry and health and education groups.

* Schools will miss out on $40 million for farm to school programs and school gardens.  Promoting farm to school efforts that deliver fresh, locally grown food directly from the field to the cafeteria will improve students’ diets and support farmers.

There are other important things that need to be passed in this act and we cannot fail to act, we need to do something.  So hey, why don't we take a second tomorrow and call your legislator and tell them to pass this now!

But here's where I get all nasty and progressive on you.  Why do we need to cut food stamps to pay for school lunches?  See this is where everything goes haywire in our need to be so rigidly tightfisted in times where we have to think about where we cut in the middle of a National financial meltdown with record numbers of Americans unemployed or underemployed.  Not only are record numbers of people not working, a record number of them are dependent on Food stamps to get by.  It's not a happy fact and it's not something that makes people feel all warm and fuzzy, but is this the best time to be robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Why We Shouldn't Cut Food Stamps to Pay for School Lunch...

In the dying days of this Congress, food activists face an awful choice: Should we support the increased funding of children's school lunches, even if it means taking money from a family's food stamps? That is what's on the table in a version of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill passed by the Senate, in which an improved school meal program will be paid for by cutting back $2 billion in funding for food stamps in 2013.

No one disputes that poor children need to be better fed, but government food stamp entitlements are the last tatters of a safety net for many millions of people. Evidence? Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that 50.2 million Americans were food insecure in 2009, a mere 1 million more than the year before. Although that's still one in six people, the figure was a victory. Given the soaring rates of poverty and unemployment in 2009, there could have been considerably more food insecure people.

This is the dilemma that people are struggling with when it comes to legislation in Congress.  This is not about "pragmatism" or the professional left.  This is about the basic necessity facing millions of people in our Country and our inability to find a spine and say, NO, I'm sorry but we can't abandon our brothers and sisters in this time of need.

NO I'M SORRY WE CANNOT ABANDON OUR FELLOW CITIZENS IN THIS TIME OF NEED.

How hard is that?  This is not about the Republican or Democratic party, this is not about winning or losing elections this is about doing the right thing and making sure that people are FED, that children have at least one decent meal a day and that we should not HAVE TO MAKE THE CHOICE BETWEEN THE TWO.

And this is what our legislative process has come to, it has come to making choices that are impossible and immoral.  

Do we leave 50 million people without health care or just 20 million?  

How many more questions like this can some of us bear and not go a little insane?

And this is not about the deficit.  The costs alone to improving child nutrition will save money, the money spent in food stamps actually helps stimulate the economy and allows people to EAT.  

In findings echoed by other economists and studies, he said the study shows the fastest way to infuse money into the economy is through expanding the food-stamp program. For every dollar spent on that program $1.73 is generated throughout the economy, he said.

Extending unemployment allows a life line a bit longer until maybe those record profits might actually start meaning more jobs in the real world for people who are still looking.

The report pointed to expanding unemployment benefits as the program that gets the next biggest bang for the buck. That's because, although the unemployed are already getting checks, they need to spend the money. For every dollar spent here, the economy would see a return of $1.64, Zandi said.

That we have to discuss this choice, a choice that economists say will help stimulate the economy, be the right and moral thing to do and will help feed children in schools and people in need is what is making people frustrated and angry.

So you see, this is why things are not working.  We are not having a conversation with the sane, this is not pragmatism when people refuse to see reality and are forcing the rational, the caring and the just to make such a ridiculous choice.

We should not have to chose between the two.

Originally posted to Ellinorianne on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 08:52 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The pragmatism gods are ANGRY! (10+ / 0-)

    Human sacrifice is demanded!

    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" -- Gandalf, in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"...

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:10:25 PM PST

  •  Great diary, Elli (11+ / 0-)

    And food stamps is actually the most stimulative form of stimulus there is.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

    by priceman on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:37:52 PM PST

  •  Good grief. (0+ / 0-)

    It may suck but a freeze on federal salaries is not a pay cut--I'm glad kossacks realize that Americans are starving out there.

    And by the way, that includes high % of the population in a number of "progressive" states and cities... like Oregon. People are going to freeze to death this winter, in the United States of America, and more than a few are going to be hungry on Christmas.  Get your shit together, people.

    Mel Gibson makes movies that look like snuff films shot by Abercrombie & Fitch's photographer. -9.38, -5.18

    by Nulwee on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 10:37:37 PM PST

    •  where did I discuss (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Big Tex

      cut in federal employee wages in my diary?  Where?

      I'm talking about making a choice between cutting food stamps and improving school lunches and then unemployment.

      I wrote about the impossible choices that legislators have.

      Did you read this?

    •  The proposed pay freeze (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellinorianne

      isn't mentioned in the diary, so this may be a bit of a threadjack. But since you brought it up, taking money out of the pockets of working-class consumers in the middle of a recession is about the worst thing we can be doing. We shouldn't be freezing the pay of federal employees OR cutting food stamps OR school lunches. What we should be doing is getting rid of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and otherwise raising taxes on the rich; cutting the Pentagon's bloated, wasteful budget; and pulling ourselves out of the quagmire in Afghanistan. These things will do a lot more to reduce our deficit than the nickels and dimes we'll save freezing pay for federal employees, and certainly more than cutting food stamps and school lunches would.

      It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. -- George Carlin

      by Big Tex on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 08:26:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The reason we need to cut food stamps (6+ / 0-)
    to pay for child nutrition is that Obama decided we have to make cuts in one part of the safety net if we want to pay for another part. This is another issue that he has capitulated to Republicans just because. The safety net is thus now a self-contained zero sum game. Irrespective of how many poor people there are or their needs, no more money should or will be spent on it.

    Tax cuts for the wealthy, bailouts, defense, etc, are not part of this zero sum game or any other. There is no ceiling on these.

    In the Republican view, people should pay their way, and failing that, should pay taxes to support benefits that go to those in their class. So poor people should pay taxes to fully fund programs that help poor people, while doing charitable works and giving to charities to help poor people. In their worldview, rich people shouldn't be expected to pay a dime to help poor people, and shouldn't have to pay the cost of government, either, because they believe rich people don't use government services. And besides, rich people create jobs and wealth, which would trickle down if only those poor people would take those jobs instead of living in luxury on food stamps.

    Whatever. I think the "need" to cut one part of the safety net to pay for another is an issue we need to seize on and take back before any more damage is done.

    •  No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady
      I should I have mentioned that I do understand this has to do with Pay Go, but I was trying to make a much bigger point.

      And ultimately if we want to do pay go, we should be cutting things that right now, will not hurt people as much as cutting food stamps will.

      I do know the arguments, it was more rhetorical than anything else.

    •  but obama said his family once (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellinorianne

      relied on food stamps. and when he was senator, he sought out earmarks to provide for extra money to go to food stamps for illinois.

      if there was any issue i thought i didn't have to worry about, that he would have this covered, it's this one.

      but nooo. this man pretending to be president has forgotten where he's come from.

      now i have to worry about every damn thing on the legislative docket because obama is awol.

      •  58 votes in Senate, not 60. (0+ / 0-)

        Our fellow Americans elected 58 Dem Senators. We can't pass sane legislation as long as 42 GOP assholes plus a few Blue Dog assholes can sustain a filibuster.

        A plurality of American voters are idiots; perhaps a majority. These are the consequences.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 06:38:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  food stamps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, Ellinorianne

    help the farmers, in fact they were first started for the farmers more than the people who receive them. When your in my situation there are a blessing if you met the guidelines. I wish I met them sometimes. A child should not come home to empty fridges. My daughter does get free lunch and breakfast (I make sure she gets there for breakfast) but by the time she gets home she is starving not wanting to wait for supper. ok my ramble is over, thanks for joining me on this trip to the Bahamas.

    I don't care what you do in your beds, just keep your hand out of my pocket.

    by the mom in the middle on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 09:06:42 PM PST

  •  i would think (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, Ellinorianne, DRo

    that better nutrition in school would save lots of money in healthcare costs. Even better since habits started at an early age are more likely to last the savings would amount to way more than the initial costs. Also public schools likely include poor people who might remain poor and thus need subsidised healthcare. I bet the data wizards could show a significant savings in the cost of healthcare.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 09:42:41 PM PST

  •  I meant to add that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, Ellinorianne, DRo

    even insurance companies have figured out it's cheaper for them in the long run to pay for preventive medicine.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 09:44:51 PM PST

  •  Sorry I didn't get this in time to Rec :( (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellinorianne, Livvy5

    Luckily it found it by rescue.  Continue the good work!

  •  The food stamp program seems to have (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, Ellinorianne, Livvy5

    been hijacked by the command and control agenda that aims to tell people how to act and when.  Instead of simply giving people money for food, it employs a host of middlemen to "design" the program and, at least in the case of WIC, promote the purchase of mostly industrially produced foods.  Manufacturers and distributors have to sign up to qualify for inclusion, which of course means that small/local producers are shut out.  Food stamps are another guaranteed source of revenue for mega producers.  Encouraging schools to purchase locally doesn't just aim to improve the quality and variety of foods going into kids; it represents a hit on the food stamp industry -- another one of those agricultural subsidies to big business.  That's why it's being impeded.

    The ag industry relies on hand-outs.  It does not appreciate being handed less.

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 01:12:03 AM PST

    •  Very good point (0+ / 0-)

      The whole thing is based on giving our kids crap that they Government subsidizes.  As they say, once something is in place, it is hard to take it away.

      What if we subsidized all those healthy foods from small farmers, we would see cheaper, healthy foods from SMALL FARMERS.  Crazy.

      We need smaller, local AG for the future of this Country, but that's me and really it should be a priority.

  •  Winston Churchill (0+ / 0-)

    Churchill said

    The finest investment a society can make is to put milk into babies.

    These are a few of my favorite things. http://tinyurl.com/2a3cxpp

    by JG in MD on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 11:39:18 AM PST

  •  Great diary; thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry I didn't see it time to rec.

    I checked TheHill.com article, and the comments (few, thankfully) raised my blood pressure. I was going to comment there, but I got too angry.  

    Since when did making sure children are fed such a bad thing?  Rhetorical question; it happened when the GOP's official platform on domestic issues became, "Sorry you didn't pick better parents.  I got mine; screw you."

    The Price of Apathy towards public affairs is to be Ruled by Evil Men. ~ Plato

    by smrichmond on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 12:58:25 PM PST

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