You might have missed this news yesterday—I know I did—but it seems as though Trump has the seeds of an idea for a way that he thinks could save the country billions. Here’s the idea, via Politico:
The proposal, buried in the White House’s fiscal 2019 budget, would replace about half of the money most families receive via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, with what the Department of Agriculture is calling “America’s Harvest Box.” That package would be made up of “100 percent U.S. grown and produced food” and would include items like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal.
Trump and his spokespeople are comparing it to Blue Apron, which is bogus because there’s no fresh food, no fruits or vegetables, no meat—those would be too expensive to ship. Nor would the federal government be responsible for shipping in the first place, as USDA spokesman Tim Murtaugh explained. That job would go to the states, and the $129 billion “savings” figure doesn’t include shipping.
But those are only the start of the problems. I could go on, but there are two excellent Twitter threads that you need to read to understand how cruel, ineffectual, and outright harmful this program would be, if it was ever implemented. The first comes from Annie Lowrey, economic policy writer for The Atlantic, who lays out the brutality of this program in a series of pointed questions:
It goes on from there—Lowrey gets up to 60 questions, all of them pertinent, all of them unanswered. I won't copy her whole thread, but you can access the rest by clicking on any of the tweets above.
The second thread comes from @hugwins, a 26-year-old with personal experience using food stamps and a unique perspective on the proposed food boxes.
Again, the thread goes on from there, and you should absolutely read it by clicking on the tweet above. But the conclusion is well worth posting:
Enough said. Let’s hope this gets erased from the 2019 budget and never rears its ugly head again.