Included in the Trump administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019 is a proposal which would severely restrict what Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — food stamp — recipients can purchase with the benefits they receive.
According to NPR:
“Low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a ‘USDA Foods package.’ The package was described in the budget as consisting of ‘shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.’ The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.”
The way the SNAP system is currently set up, recipients receive money which is loaded onto an EBT debit card they can use to purchase whatever food items they wish with few restrictions.
Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a hunger advocacy group, said the new proposal is merely a cut in SNAP benefits:
“They have managed to propose nearly the impossible, taking over $200 billion worth of food from low-income Americans while increasing bureaucracy and reducing choices.”
Douglas Greenaway, president of the National WIC Association, agreed with Berg, adding:
“Removing choice from SNAP flies in the face of encouraging personal responsibility. The budget seems to assume that participating in SNAP is a character flaw.”
The Trump budget proposals for SNAP are not the only changes planned, according to Miguelina Diaz, of Hunger Free America. She says the administration wants to slash at least $80 billion from the SNAP program by cutting off about 4 million people who currently receive food assistance.
Critics of the changes being advocated by the White House said they don’t see Congress agreeing to make such gigantic cuts to the program. Jim Weill, president of the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center, said the real purpose of what the administration wants to do is clear:
“Whenever you see proposals like this that attack [SNAP] … it harms the program even if it doesn’t pass, in the long term reducing support for the program and stigmatizing people who use it.”
Beyond all that, there is the potential negative impact that taking all these customers out of grocery stores and getting their food from a “central distribution center” could have to local economies in every part of the nation.
But at least The Donald may have found a way to get rid of all those expired Trump steaks.