I think I can see Trump’s mind on this one.
The food stamp program is rife with fraud and abuse. (It is also a big area of crony capitalism. Food stamps buy certain things. Companies lobby to make sure their products get on the list. In some cases this has included Taco Bell and KFC.) Why not just go directly to the source and send food instead of “money”? Plus, if people got healthy food there might be a reduction in obesity and diabetes, two conditions that are crushing our health system.
But, as much as we have issues with food stamps, and we have huge issues with the food stamp program, (In the Obama years food stamps were even encouraged as a kind of meal plan for college students. That is ridiculous.) the idea of the federal government sending food directly to the poor feels very weird. How long until this program is manipulated for God only knows what reasons?
I don’t like my government to be this visible. Though I do like that the supermarkets are freaking out because it undermines their crony deal with the government. That is good.
According to a summary of the proposal compiled by the Agriculture Department and obtained by CNBC, the boxes would replace about half of the current program’s cash benefits. All food would be grown domestically and include “shelf-stable” items such as juice, pasta, canned meat and beans. The USDA estimated it would save $129 billion over a decade, driven in part by the government’s unique purchasing power.
“It lowers the cost to us because we can buy prices at wholesale, whereas [beneficiaries] have to buy it at retail,” Mulvaney said. “It also makes sure they’re getting nutritious food. So we’re pretty excited about that.”
But the proposal drew swift opposition from many fronts – including the $840 billion supermarket industry, where food stamps drive 7.5 percent of sales, according to Customer Growth Partners. The firm estimated that Walmart alone reaps more than one-fifth of all food stamp sales.