Dan Calabrese on Wednesday February 14th, 2018
If I was on food stamps, I wouldn’t like this either.
I think that’s the point. If you can’t afford to buy your own food and you need the government to provide it for you, then you get it on the government’s terms. That’s usually what happens when someone else is supplying your needs. Don’t like it? Take every available action to get off food stamps and achieve independence, at which point you can buy whatever you want at the grocery store with your own money that you earned.
Until then, enjoy your Harvest Box:
• Under the USDA America’s Harvest Box proposal, all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participating households receiving $90 per month or more in benefits will receive a package of nutritious, 100-percent U.S. grown and produced food. Approximately 16.4 million households, or about 81 percent of SNAP households would be impacted by this proposal.
• The amount of food received per household would be scaled to the overall size of the household’s SNAP allotment, ultimately representing about half of their benefits. SNAP participants would receive domestically-sourced and produced food in lieu of a portion of their SNAP benefits.
• USDA would utilize a model similar to that currently used to distribute USDA Foods to other nutrition assistance programs to provide staple, shelf-stable foods (such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ready-eatcereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables) to SNAP households at approximately half the retail cost.
• This proposal creates a new approach to nutrition assistance that combines retail-based SNAP benefits with delivery of USDA America’s Harvest Boxes supporting the President’s leadership on Buy American. This proposal is cost-effective, enhances the integrity of SNAP, and provides for states’ flexibility in administration of the program.
• The remainder of the household’s benefits will still be provided via the current Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
The Department of Agriculture estimates the change would save taxpayers $129 billion over 10 years by switching to defined packages that would presumably have a predictable, consistent cost. I’m guessing it would actually save a lot more than that precisely because people would hate being restricted to the Harvest Boxes, and at least a significant percentage of them would respond to the added incentive to improve their situations.
And of course, I’m sure part of the idea here is that people can’t trade or sell their food stamps or find some clever way to use them to get booze, cigarettes, drugs, etc.
Yes, the government would be picking out your food for you. Yes, that would be frustrating and no fun.
The point of food stamps is not to treat you to gourmet meals. It’s to prevent you from starving to death while you get out of the trouble you’ve gotten yourself in, whether that takes the form of unemployment, underemployment or some other type of financial mess. We want you to have food. We want you to live. But if you want the kind of food you prefer, that’s going to require you to earn your own money and buy it.
That is not an unreasonable proposition. You’re not supposed to like dependence on the government. You’re supposed to want to get off it as quickly as you can. If you get stuck with the Harvest Box and you still don’t make the changes necessary to improve your life, well . . . at least you’re saving the rest of us some money.