Wow! Food Stamp recipients instead of having to go to the grocery store and use an EBT card to purchase food for their families may one day be able sit at home and receive a box of food called "America's Harvest" just like rich people who can afford Blue Apron.
At the same time, it would help in the fight against the "welfare state." Wouldn't that be great?
Some genius at the U.S. Department of Agriculture apparently thinks so because that's an idea that has made it into President Trump's 2019 proposed federal budget, the same one that slashes Medicaid, health care, housing assistance and just about every other support program designed to help the poor.
Those "America's Harvest" boxes wouldn't really be like Blue Apron, even though that's the analogy used by White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. Blue Apron, largely designed for busy families where both parents have careers, come with all the fresh ingredients needed for a meal, including the recipe.
Here's what would be in an America's Harvest Box: shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, fruits and vegetables. USDA says that box of goodies would be a major portion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits of any family receiving more than $90 month in such benefits.
According to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the first Republican governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, the food box would maintain "the same level of food value" as if recipients purchased their own foods. They said it will be cheaper to do, not accounting for distribution and assembly costs, of course.
But this article in Daily Kos makes a great point. Not only is the idea culturally insensitive and stigmatizing, it is stupid from a dietary standpoint.
Take the case of milk, for example. Milk is great, the article points out, as long as you are not lactose-intolerant. But if you are, it's useless. And surprise surprise, while that's generally not much of a problem for people of northern European ancestry like Perdue and President Trump, it's a common problem for many other ethnic groups, including Latinos and African-Americans.
How about peanut butter? Allergies to peanuts are increasing -- hell, I was recently on an airplane where they announced they couldn't hand out peanuts because a passenger had a bad allergy. So what are those people supposed to do?
And canned meat, fruit and vegetables? What's a common ingredient in those products? Salt. What does salt cause? Hypertension. What's a big health care cost these days? Diseases caused by hypertension.
Are they just idiots at USDA? Or don't they just give a crap about anything except cutting costs so they can help pay for Trump's big tax cut for the rich and his bloated defense budget?
Hopefully, sense and reason will come to Congress and this idea will be buried in a box and taken out to the dumpster with the other garbage.