Donald Trump has rolled out a food program that cuts EBT funds, and replaces them with Blue Apron-styled food packages for people who rely on government assistance to get by. This program, based on what I have seen, would provide current SNAP recipients with basic food items like rice and beans, while allowing some reduced discretionary spending on their own.
Changing SNAP in this way isn’t about fiscal responsibility. It does smack of government overreach and further dogwhistles to Trump’s base that people who need government assistance are lazy, wasteful, and on drugs. It is a progression from Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” stereotype, updated for 2018.
“White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney compared it to high-end meal delivery kit service Blue Apron. Mulvaney also said that it will give people more nutritious options while saving the government money.
According to the budget, the package will feature “100 percent U.S. grown and produced food”, with non-perishable items like peanut butter, canned fruits and cereal.” (Source)
People on government assistance don’t need Trump to tell them what to do with their SNAP benefits. They don’t need to be shamed for the sake of scoring political points. These people need better education and better jobs, so they can lift themselves out of poverty. I pay taxes and I’ll never begrudge someone of lesser means for buying a cheap steak or anything else that gives them a few minutes of a better life.
Again, this SNAP proposal isn’t about fiscal responsibility. It is about blowing the dogwhistle, and reinforcing stereotypes, even at the expense of people who voted for Trump. SNAP fraud is a tiny fraction of the total dollars spent on the social program, but never let facts and numbers get in the way of a decades-old conservative talking point.