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Monday, February 19, 2018

President Trump Wants to Stop Food Stamps and Deliver Food Boxes Instead to Low Income Families

Donald Trump

The Trump administration is once again making "innovative" changes in the president's budget. This time, a proposed food delivery service would replace food stamps for most low-income families. While the administration thinks it is a cost-effective move, critics say it would rather reduce benefits to the beneficiaries.
President Donald Trump wants to stop food stamps and replace it with a food box delivery service similar to that of "Blue Apron." The box which would be called "America's Harvest Box" would include domestically-grown food and shelf-stable milk, pasta, peanut butter, canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables, and cereals.

In this regard, the government will be directly in charge of what more than 16 million low-income families would eat. It includes those who qualify for $90 or more per month of food stamps, which is about 81 percent of those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, says it would also cut costs.

"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 that they're getting nutritious food. So we're pretty excited about that. That's a tremendous cost savings."

However, the proposal has immediately drawn opposition from different organizations. One is from the supermarket industry that is reportedly earning 7.5 percent of its sales from food stamps.

"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," Food Marketing Institute chief public policy officer Jennifer Hatcher said. "Retailers are looking to the administration to reduce red tape and regulations, not increase them with proposals such as this one."

Other politicians also demonstrated apprehension on the proposal. Rep. Jim McGovern of 2nd District of Massachusetts said in his tweet, "This sounds like something from the Great Depression, not 2018," saying it could negatively affect small businesses and those living in the rural areas.

Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, claims that the policy would only bring fewer benefits to those who greatly needed it.

"When combined with cutting health insurance and other core supports, it's just a devastating blow to low-income individuals and communities," she said.


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