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Trump Budget Proposes Food Boxes To Replace Food Stamps

by Countable | 2.13.18

What’s the story?

In the president’s budget released Monday, 80 percent of food stamp, or SNAP, recipients would receive half their monthly allotment of benefits in the form of prescribed and pre-packaged, non-perishable food boxes, rather than being able to choose what they buy within existing guidelines.

The budget was short on details of how such boxes would be assembled and distributed to the 16 million Americans who would receive them, especially those in isolated, rural areas. It simply gives states "substantial flexibility in designing the food box delivery system through existing infrastructure, partnerships or commercial/retail delivery services."

The federal government does currently distribute commodities to 600,000 elderly individuals via the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The foods are shipped in bulk to food banks and then repackaged for distribution. The proposed program would eliminate this program and scale up delivery of food by nearly 300 percent.

The administration argues that the program, which they describe as similar to meal delivery programs such as Blue Apron, would save the federal government $129 billion over ten years. Overall, the budget proposes a $213 billion cut to the SNAP program over ten years, or a 30 percent reduction in budget.

Critics, including the grocery industry and hunger advocates, maintain that any cost savings would be outpaced by the administrative overhead involved in developing such a huge distribution network. They also refer to the proposal as a "Big Government" answer, as opposed to the “free market model” currently in place.

Though Congress may ignore the president’s proposal, 2018 is the year that a new Farm Bill will be formulated. Food stamps and other nutrition programs make up 80 percent of the USDA’s expenditures, per NPR, totalling approximately $70.9 billion a year. Expect discussion of SNAP and other hunger programs to hit the headlines repeatedly as Farm Bill negotiations ramp up.

The House and Senate agriculture committees will lead those discussions.

What do you think?

Do you think the administration is on to something, or is the idea unrealistic? Given the amount of money the federal government spends on hunger programs, does the existing system make sense? What would you suggest to create cost savings? Do you think cost savings is something the government should even be thinking about when discussing combating hunger?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(363)
  • OlderNWiser
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Food Boxes sound suspiciously like the slop perpetrated on prisoners for the profit of the rich. The idea is to exert power over people to humiliate them, give them food that is unhealthy, line the bursting pockets of the rich. Cheese is too fat, comes from the suffering of animals, and is addictive. No medical needs, personal beliefs nor preferences will be taken into account and vast sums of money will be wasted. Republican is becoming a synonym for cruel, elitist, classist, racist, thoughtless and ignorant .

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  • Marcia
    02/14/2018
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    Not no, but HELL no. Human beings need fresh fruit and vegetables. Shame on anyone who supports this change.

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  • Samantha
    02/13/2018
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    Abhorrent. What about milk, eggs, and bread? What about fresh produce? Will people be able to select what food items they receive? How do you handle food allergies? Disgusting to think there will be people who think this is a good idea.

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  • TheJacobin
    02/14/2018
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    We need to stop punishing the poor for being poor. This is a shameless attempt by Republicans to exploit those less fortunate. I urge you to oppose this proposal.

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  • BeStrong
    02/13/2018
    ···

    It is impossible for people who have never been without to understand what it means to be broke and without resources. What it means to know your kids won’t get enough real food today. This Administration- all of them - have never struggled. The food stamp program must be revamped but denying $15. MILLION + children fresh fruit, vegetables and protein is unconscionable. Take your Poverty Box and ... eat it.

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  • Leo
    02/13/2018
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    I thought Republicans didn’t want a nanny state. How much more nanny like can you get than choosing what food people eat?

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  • Judith
    02/13/2018
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    GEE! THAT'S A REAL REPUBLICAN IDEA !!! IT'S A STUPID SHORT SIGHTED IDEA !! SOON THE NAME REPUBLICAN WILL BE SYNONYMOUS WITH STUPID AND SHORT SIGHTED !! WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT PEOPLE WITH FOOD ISSUES LIKE DIABETES, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HYPOGLYCEMIA , ETC. THAT REQUIRE A CERTAIN DIET !! WILL WE MAKE UP BOXES FOR DIFFERENT HEALTH ISSUE REQUIREMENTS ??? COMPLICATING AN ALREADY DIFFICULT SITUATION WITH THE STUPID SHORT SIGHTED IDEA THAT IT WILL SAVE THEIR PRECIOUS FEDRAL MONEY THAT THEY DON'T HAVE BECAUSE THEY GAVE IT ALL TO THEIR DONORS THAT HAVE SO MUCH ALREADY THAT THEY COULDN'T SPEND IT IN SEVERAL LIFE SPANS !!! HATE TO POP YOUR PRETTY LITTLE BALLOONIE TOON BUT GEE !!! THAT'S A REAL REPUBLICAN IDEA !!!

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  • Peg
    02/14/2018
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    O.K. But if I am paying to have Congress eat while in session and the President eat while in the White house then I want all of you to eat out of these boxes! Really, really health. You take away health care and then you give them unhealthy food to line your own pockets. If you define getting money from the government as being on government assistance then you all are on government assistance. Stop being hypocrites. If we are all equal, where do you get the idea that you are special and privileged and the rules don’t apply to you? Serve your country, remember that oath? There are people in this country who actually do serve their fellow man/ woman! Soldiers, police officers, firemen everyday put their lives on the line for you and me. Give them a fair salary and decent health care. Take care of our poor and ill. Stop being so d——— greedy. That cesspool you call the White house needs to be cleaned up. What a joke you have become.

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  • Jennifer
    02/14/2018
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    Having worked in human services for almost 30 years, I can attest—as with most issues—the truth is often somewhere in the middle. There are many people who need assistance...no one in our country should ever go to bed hungry. But thousands of children do, every single night! There are also a whole lot more than just “a few” who game the system. Throw in the grocery industry—who certainly do not want a change to the current system—and the entire agricultural system of subsidizing farmers, and this problem is much too complex to think any one change will help anything. It will take many small changes to affect the entire boondoggle! But to be part of the solution we have to stop the finger pointing. I will give This administration points for creativity...maybe a little thinking outside the box is in order here. Leon had a sensible idea on how to tweak the system...How about more ideas like that, about how to modernize, how to prevent EBT use for drugs and alcohol items, how to maintain healthy items, etc AND how to reduce its need in the first place by moving people off of government handouts toward self-sufficiency. If that goal was okay for President Clinton, surely it’s good enough for President Trump. The best overall reduction for this program is a good economy and a job.

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  • Amy
    02/13/2018
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    For those of you who are quite sure that poor people are always gaming the system, you are wrong. Most people who use food stamps and other social service programs, truly need them and use them well. The government should not decide what people are eating and you know the government will choose the cheapest of products with only generic care as to quality and content. Low income people are a vast mix of ability to cope and education or skill set. Some are just folks who hit hard times. Some are mentally or emotionally unstable or have addiction issues. Our society gave birth to them and our society raised them and often times forgot them. It is spiritually fit to make sure they have a leg up. As for Trump, I have not a lick of trust or faith in his motives or intentions. He has no idea of the sufferings of the poor. I take no candy from a man such as him. If Gandhi proposed it..well, ok. No to food boxes.

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  • RadicalModerate
    02/13/2018
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    EAT THE RICH!

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  • Jeanine
    02/14/2018
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    Food boxes are a stupid solution on many levels

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  • Sadekaronhes
    02/13/2018
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    We had this on the reservation I grew up on. It was called commodities and it’s like the cheapest, low quality canned food you’ve ever seen. It’s bad enough that we still have to live with this low quality garbage. Now Trump wants to shove this on the nation as a whole? Terrible idea. Want to know what happens to a population that has to live on this, come to the Rez. We got lots of real world data to show you.

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  • Rorschach
    02/13/2018
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    Finally! Maybe my neighbor will stop trading her EBT cards for drugs and feed her three children.

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  • JTJ
    02/14/2018
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    To all you complainers, what if we just stop welfare programs all together? Where in the constitution does it say that the government has the right to take my money and give it to someone else? It doesn’t. Shut up and direct your effort to getting people off of welfare if you are so concerned.

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  • Cl
    02/14/2018
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    Bad idea. There's no way to choose food that meets everyone's health and nutrient needs. Big Brother isn't the solution here.

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  • RadicalModerate
    02/14/2018
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    Feeding needy Americans doesn’t have to be in the constitution for it to be the right thing to do. Humiliating needy Americans is wrong.

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  • Gerald
    02/14/2018
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    “What’s for dinner Mom?”...”Oh, tonight we have powdered milk, a can of fish parts ground up for protein, some ketchup that counts as vegetables, and yummy, sugar coated insects.” Teach a man to fish, and he can feed himself. Take away his dignity by making him eat leftovers and whatever is cheapest generic food, and you teach him that the French Revolution began with “...Let them eat dry leftover cake...”. A leader would sit in the White House and demand to be fed what he is sending to the poor. Billions for defense and war, trillions for corporations from tax cuts, oh, but the poor? Punish them and shame them and paint them as lazy before cutting their benefits. This will make America great again. Cut their medical benefits, imprison them at higher rates, deny their right to vote, make them take drug tests, make their children’s education inferior or unaffordable, and the savings will pay for Trumps military parade. Come on America, you were great before Trump. Dump him and his butt licking Republicans in 2018 and let’s restore sanity once again.

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  • Leon
    02/13/2018
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    Or put their picture on their card and raise the fine to 5000 for accepting cards from anyone else.

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  • Sandra
    02/14/2018
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    This sounds built upon the 1600s notion of the “deserving” and “undeserving poor” but if the administration is as Christian as they claim to be, they also know about the hypocrisy of judgements such as that. Not everyone who is receiving food stamps is not working. There are many who have large families, fell on hard times, and work 2-3 part time jobs while still searching for a full time job. Canned food and shelf stable milk is the administration’s answer to the problem? It sounds like they need to listen to the constituents instead of the lobbyists.

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