Trump’s plan to treat welfare like a meal kit delivery service is getting some pushback.
On Feb. 12, the Trump administration announced it wanted to make big changes to the food stamp program: Instead of giving recipients all their monthly benefits on an electronic payment card, the government wants to distribute half of those benefits on a payment card and the other half as a box of non-perishable food.
“America’s Harvest Box” would include shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, pasta, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.
The idea, Trump said, is to save money. Since the government can buy food at wholesale prices, it gets items cheaper than retail, which is what people pay at grocery stores with their EBT cards. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget estimates the new system would save $213 billion over the next 10 years.
But not everybody is having it. One mother in Nevada seems particularly pissed off.
“SNAP [The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps] can help you get your child a birthday cake when you couldn’t afford anything more than bread on your own that week,” Emily Jean Kreager posted to Facebook the day after Trump’s announcement. “SNAP can save a child’s life by providing him with a dinner that won’t trigger his anaphylactic allergies.”
SNAP can help you get your child a birthday cake when you couldn’t afford anything more than bread on your own that…
Posted by Emily Jean Kreager on Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Kreager is a former WalMart cashier who now works at a beauty retailer in Reno. Her post immediately started getting dozens, and then hundreds, of reactions and comments. The day after she wrote it, the “People for Bernie Sanders” Facebook page shared it with their 1.5 million followers.
“Do you understand how snap works?” Kreager asks in the post, apparently directing her question to the president. “That it’s based on income and number of people in the family. As a single mom working 40 hours a week, I got $300 for 3 kids and myself. That’s two weeks of basic groceries.”
Okay. Fair enough. But when Kreager says “it’s a lie that it [SNAP] is abused,” people started to object. Welfare critics say the programs get exploited too often. They point out cases of lottery winners collecting benefits meant to go to the impoverished. In 2011, for example, a Michigan man named LeRoy Fick was found to be receiving food assistance even though he’d won $998,000 in the Make Me Rich! lottery the year before.
Clearly the system either has loopholes or isn’t enforced strictly enough to prevent fraud.
Personally, I still remember my shock from 10 years ago when a good friend of mine told me he was using food stamps just a year or two after he’d graduated from a $50,000-a-year liberal arts college (with no student loans). This was an able-bodied, well-educated guy (he’d even gone to a private high school) who was working part-time on a waffle truck in Portland. It seemed unfair that taxpayers should have to pay for (what I perceived to be) his laziness.
$37…. $37 a year is the amount of money taken out of your taxes for #SNAP benefits. That’s 0.7 weekly. Who the sweet baby Jesus is missing $0.7a week?
— donaldtrumpnewstoday (@irishrygirl) February 13, 2018
But honestly, what do we care if poor Americans sometimes use their EBT cards for steak and shrimp? Don’t they also deserve the right to choose what they eat and to treat themselves once in a while?
Whatever you believe, there’s no need to freak out just yet: Trump’s proposal still needs to be approved by Congress, which isn’t super likely to happen without some serious changes being made first.