By Alex Lontoc
Monday, Feb.12, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney announced the food stamp reform.
The idea is part of the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget. It would slash the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to low income families and replace it with a monthly food box program that will be shipped to each household.
Dubbed as a “Blue Apron-type program” by Mulvaney, the proposal is part of a benefit where low income families under the food aid program will receive the food instead of cash.
The new program supposedly will cut cost by about $17.2 billion by 2019, according to USDA, and more than $213 billion over the next decade. The USDA claims that under the program the cost of produce would be cheaper compared to each household buying it themselves because the products could be bought at wholesale value instead of retail, saving $129.2 billion over the next decade.
“It takes away the recipients ability to choose what they feel is best for their household and once again, forms a stigma that recipients are not smart enough to choose healthy options for their families,” said Amanda Ingold, LPC CalWORKs coordinator.
The food box program implies a ration system, where the government chooses what the families can eat, which are non perishable food items.
It poses a dilemma where consumer choice is stripped away from the families under the program.
Fresh produce will be substituted with shelf-stable food. It’s up to the recipients to buy perishable foods which “would leave concern as to whether or not they are actually able to afford purchasing those additional items to create a balanced meal plan,” said Ingold.
Families with dietary restrictions will need special attention by a professional to curate a box fitted for their lifestyle.
The food box program also proposes a problem to homeless people who receive SNAP. Government won’t be able to reach them and ship the packages.
The reform contains no detailed plan on how the government would ship the boxes to approximately 16.4 million households who would be affected by the new program. There’s no solid blueprint on how the process would actually work. The proposal only presents the idea that government bureaucrats will have the power to choose what low-income families can eat and live on pre-packaged canned goods.