A thought to add to today’s editorial on Michelle Obama’s child-nutrition program, which has stalled in the House because it would be funded, in part, by cuts to the food-stamp program. I’m no fan of the welfare state, but food stamps are not at the top of my list of things to cut. (Hey, vouchers work! I wonder to what other areas of government spending we might apply that model?) Cutting basic food stamps in order to put more tofu on cafeteria trays in the suburbs doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.
To their credit, 106 Democrats in the House protested this move in a letter to Speaker Pelosi; to their discredit, each and every one of those 106 Democrats already had voted for a bill that cut not $2 billion but $12 billion from the same food-stamp program to support a bailout for spendthrift public schools and relieve pressure for reducing spending on teachers’ and administrators’ salaries and lavish benefits. Which is to say: House Democrats are unwilling to raid the pantries of food-stamp recipients to put more kale in the Pleasantville cafeteria, but they are willing to take bread from the mouths of the poor to fatten an already overfed public-school bureaucracy.
People who still believe, against all evidence, that the Democrats are the party dedicated to looking after the interests of the poor should keep Mrs. Obama in mind.