Trump Wants To Replace Food Stamps With Food Boxes
The Trump administration wants to replace food stamps for low-income Americans with boxes of non-perishable food items selected by the government.
The proposal, led by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, is being compared to start-up meal delivery company Blue Apron, with low-income families receiving a product dubbed “America’s Harvest Box” by the Department of Agriculture every month, according to a report from Fortune.
The box would include staples like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal.
If the proposal is approved, then the amount of money low-income families receive as part of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) would be cut.
Although the measure will reportedly save the federal government $129 billion over the next decade, there’s a still a number of concerns surrounding the proposal.
For example, the proposal doesn’t include fresh items such as produce and meat (unlike Blue Apron which does), and it’ll be up to the states to decide how box deliveries work.
As Politico notes, other concerns with the proposal also included customization, such as if families will be able to change what comes in the box based on if someone has a nut allergy or doesn’t eat certain meats for religious or personal reasons.
Critics of the proposal have compared it to the wartime rations or soup lines during the Great Depression. Kevin Concannon, who oversaw SNAP during the Obama administration, also wasn’t in favor of the measure.
“I don’t know where this came from, but I suspect that the folks when they were drawing it up were also watching silent movies,” Concannon said.
Grocery retailers are also not in favor of the proposal, with the Food Marketing Institute stating that tens of billions of dollars in SNAP benefits are spent each year at their stores, which includes Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons.
“Perhaps this proposal would save money in one account, but based on our decades of experience in the program, it would increase costs in other areas that would negate any savings,” Jennifer Hatcher, the trade group’s chief public policy officer, said. Hatcher added that grocery retailers had worked with the USDA and Congress over many years to utilize “existing commercial infrastructure and technology to achieve the greatest efficiency, availability and lowest cost,” but the new measure would affect those achievements.