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Old 02-13-2018, 04:26 PM  
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Trump pitches plan to replace food stamps with food boxes

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/...tration-343245

The Trump administration is proposing to save billions in the coming years by giving low-income families a box of government-picked, nonperishable foods every month instead of food stamps.

White House OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Monday hailed the idea as one that kept up with the modern era, calling it a "Blue Apron-type program" — a nod to the high-end meal kit delivery company that had one of the worst stock debuts in 2017 and has struggled to hold onto customers. Mulvaney said the administration’s plan would not only save the government money, but also provide people with more nutritious food than they have now.

The proposal, buried in the White House’s fiscal 2019 budget, would replace about half of the money most families receive via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, with what the Department of Agriculture is calling “America’s Harvest Box.” That package would be made up of "100 percent U.S. grown and produced food" and would include items like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal.

But America’s Harvest Box, which USDA contends would save over $129 billion over 10 years, is not very comparable to startup meal-delivery companies like Blue Apron. For one, the Trump administration’s proposal doesn’t include fresh items, like produce or meat, which are the core of Blue Apron and its competitors. Such products perish quickly and are incredibly expensive to ship.

Asked about how delivery would work, USDA spokesman Tim Murtaugh clarified that states would “have flexibility” in how they choose to distribute the food to SNAP recipients. In other words, the federal government almost certainly would not be picking up the tab for any type of Amazon-style delivery system. “The projected savings does not include shipping door-to-door for all recipients,” Murtaugh said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue praised the harvest box plan as “a bold, innovative approach” that would give SNAP participants the same “level of food value” as the current system while saving taxpayers money.

The idea that USDA would provide millions of low-income people packages of food on a national scale has not been floated by conservative think tanks, promoted by industry, or sought by previous administrations. Murtaugh said the concept was developed internally at USDA. Mulvaney on Monday credited Perdue for it during a briefing at the White House.

"Secretary Perdue wanted to give it a chance," he said. "We thought it was a tremendous idea."

Numerous questions remain, such as how these boxes would be customized for, say, a family that has a child with nut allergies — or for those who don't eat certain types of meat out of religious or personal reasons. The proposal was so out of left field that some anti-hunger advocates initially thought it was a joke.

Kevin Concannon, who oversaw SNAP during the Obama administration, was aghast when he saw the proposal.

“Holy mackerel," said Concannon, who said it reminded him of when poor people had to line up and wait for local officials to dole out food and other welfare benefits. "I don’t know where this came from, but I suspect that the folks when they were drawing it up were also watching silent movies.”

Other anti-hunger advocates said the concept was reminiscent of wartime rations or soup lines during the Great Depression. The Food Research and Action Center, a prominent nonprofit group, called the harvest box idea “a Rube-Goldberg designed system” that would be “costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure.”

In budget materials, USDA said it would be able to deliver this food at "approximately half the retail cost," a claim advocates found hard to believe. Food-stamp recipients would get their remaining monthly allotment on debit cards that they can use in grocery stores, as they do now. The proposal applies to households receiving at least $90 a month in benefits, which covers more than 80 percent of SNAP recipients. That’s more than 16 million households.

“This proposal focuses on ensuring that all SNAP recipients receive the nutritious food they need at substantial savings by harnessing USDA’s purchasing power and America’s agricultural abundance,” Murtaugh told POLITICO.

Grocery retailers also balked at the proposal, including the Food Marketing Institute — which represents major retailers like Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons, where tens of billions of dollars in SNAP benefits are spent each year. The industry argues that government-packed food boxes would simply be inefficient.

Jennifer Hatcher, the trade group's chief public policy officer, said grocery retailers had worked with USDA and Congress over many years to “achieve a national system, utilizing existing commercial infrastructure and technology to achieve the greatest efficiency, availability and lowest cost."

"As we understand the proposal in the president's budget to create a USDA commodity foods box of staples, each of these achievements would be lost,” Hatcher said. "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.”

Administration officials pointed out that USDA already distributes commodities. Currently, such food items are largely shipped to schools, food banks and other organizations — which in turn distribute the food to those who need it. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, for example, sends boxes of food to some 600,000 low-income elderly with the help of food banks and other nonprofits. The fiscal 2019 budget seeks to eliminate that program and combine it with the harvest box program.

However, a plan for SNAP recipients would be an exponentially larger undertaking, covering more than 16 million households. While grocery and meal-delivery companies are growing more common, their scale is still relatively small and largely confined to urban areas. Blue Apron, for example, has around 1 million customers.

There are also questions about how the government would get harvest boxes to rural and remote households and whether cutting SNAP benefits spent in stores would hurt mom-and-pop stores in small communities.

“This action would not only destabilize attempts to bring more healthy, fresh foods into the homes of America’s food insecure, but would keep dollars out of local grocery stores and farmers markets, which are critical assets to all communities,” said Jordan Rasmussen, a policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs, a progressive rural advocacy group.

Concannon, who retired from USDA at the end of the Obama administration, noted that it would ultimately be up to Congress on whether to fund such a proposal — something he said that lawmakers on Capitol Hill weren’t likely to be even remotely interested in creating.

“Even the people who put this forward have to know that the chances of this happening is the same chance of me captaining the next spaceship launching from Florida,” he said.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:40 PM   #61
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Uhhhh, really?

*looks around at nearly everyone here*

That guy.
I see a lot of people wanting to reform the systemin and one guy saying they should get green beans(which is ridiculous) but I’m not seeing anyone say don’t feed them at all.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:43 PM   #62
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Not a fan of this plan only because it limits food to non-perishable food items.

Perishable food items are some of the cheapest and healthiest food items you can buy. Perishable food items are a staple in any food budget and are essential for actual meals.

Someone who is looking to stretch their food-welfare to the maximum would be purchasing high amounts of perishable items.

We complain about the poor having poor eating habits resulting in poor health, further resulting in medical burdens and this would only exacerbate the problem. Government cheese? Powdered Milk? Powdered Eggs? Good lord....have any of you ever ate that shit? If you've been poor then you know exactly what i'm talking about.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:44 PM   #63
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It also severely hurts those that are vegetarian or vegan. Which is a far cheaper and healthier lifestyle.

That'd be a huge step back. Include perishables. They really need to include perishables.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:44 PM   #64
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I generally try to think the best of people. I know there are people that game the system and break the rules, but I also know it's nowhere near the problem many would like to believe. So I try to trust people are well-intentioned until they prove they're not.

Much like I try not to judge people who park in handicap spots when they don't have an obvious disability, maybe that person buying steak tonight with food stamps has been eating egg sandwiches for the past week so they could have a nice birthday dinner. Maybe the reason they're driving a nice car is because they had it before they were forced to go on assistance and were under contract, and they'd actually lose money if they tried to sell it.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:50 PM   #65
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I generally try to think the best of people. I know there are people that game the system and break the rules, but I also know it's nowhere near the problem many would like to believe. So I try to trust people are well-intentioned until they prove they're not.

Much like I try not to judge people who park in handicap spots when they don't have an obvious disability, maybe that person buying steak tonight with food stamps has been eating egg sandwiches for the past week so they could have a nice birthday dinner. Maybe the reason they're driving a nice car is because they had it before they were forced to go on assistance and were under contract, and they'd actually lose money if they tried to sell it.
Or maybe the people spouting that non-sense are generalizing and full of shit.

"A brand new Escalade" is a $75,000 car. How many poor people would have the credit to finance that? Or the cash for the down payment on something like that?

That "brand new escalade" is probably a 10-year old Escalade worth about $10K which is the basic starting point for a car off a used car lot, or $100-$200 a month.

"Steak" dinners also don't have to be expensive. I can feed my family of 3 a nice pork cop dinner for $10-$15.

It's really just over dramatic, hyperbole crap. People trying to pretend like they understand how other people live.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:55 PM   #66
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This is a $12,000 Escalade i just pulled right from CarFax's site.



That's $200-$250 a month for a car payment, which is entry level. Cheaper if you have good credit.

When people cite these ridiculous anecdotes about the poor having nice cars, i wonder if they understand how depreciation works, and how the poor are able to get these "nice new cars".
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:31 PM   #67
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I think the mixture of both plans makes sense.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:47 PM   #68
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It also severely hurts those that are vegetarian or vegan. Which is a far cheaper and healthier lifestyle.

That'd be a huge step back. Include perishables. They really need to include perishables.
You want a specialized diet?
Get off food stamps.
Sprinkles are for winners.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:58 PM   #69
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You want a specialized diet?
Get off food stamps.
Sprinkles are for winners.
Cheaper and healthier. The money is getting spent regardless. Why take away the option to be healthy and make the dollar go farther?
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:02 PM   #70
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Cheaper and healthier. The money is getting spent regardless. Why take away the option to be healthy and make the dollar go farther?
Don't interfere with my chance to say "sprinkles are for winners' please.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:07 PM   #71
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Why would we try to reform SNAP?

SNAP provides a great boost to the economy and it feeds hungry people.

The biggest problem with SNAP is that it's not robust enough. SNAP is incapable of feeding any kind of family.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:12 PM   #72
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Or maybe the people spouting that non-sense are generalizing and full of shit.

"A brand new Escalade" is a $75,000 car. How many poor people would have the credit to finance that? Or the cash for the down payment on something like that?

That "brand new escalade" is probably a 10-year old Escalade worth about $10K which is the basic starting point for a car off a used car lot, or $100-$200 a month.

"Steak" dinners also don't have to be expensive. I can feed my family of 3 a nice pork cop dinner for $10-$15.

It's really just over dramatic, hyperbole crap. People trying to pretend like they understand how other people live.
Isn't that the truth.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:14 PM   #73
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I’m not a big fan of any kind of .gov handout for anyone who isn’t disabled, let em work like I do for my food. Food stamps are a joke anyway, I’ve seen life losers who receive them buy carts full of steak and lobsters then go out to their Escalade big enough to seat their 5 undocumented tax refund anchor sex trophies. If it came done to starve or eat I’d say an off brand can of green beans is more in line with what they deserve then a blank check they get to cash at any place that sells groceries, but call me an asshole.
You're a ****ing liar.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:15 PM   #74
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Why would we try to reform SNAP?

SNAP provides a great boost to the economy and it feeds hungry people.

The biggest problem with SNAP is that it's not robust enough. SNAP is incapable of feeding any kind of family.
Shut the **** up you blatant shill.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:17 PM   #75
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You're a ****ing liar.
"5 undocumented tax refund anchor sex trophies"



There's so much stupid in that one sentence alone.
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