This Is Very Scary

[Content Note: Food insecurity.]

I have been saying for a very long time that Republicans think people aren't entitled to food. I have been collecting receipts.

Trump is the inevitable endgame of modern Republicanism, so naturally he agrees that people aren't entitled to food. And that people aren't entitled to choices over their own bodies and lives.

So this hideous proposed reimagining of SNAP is a natural, terrible outgrowth of his contempt, at the intersection of treating nourishment as a privilege and denying marginalized citizens their agency.
The Trump administration is proposing a major shake-up in one of the country's most important "safety net" programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.

The proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. It would require approval from Congress.

Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, 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.

...Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a hunger advocacy group that also helps clients access food-assistance services, said the administration's plan left him baffled. "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," Berg says.

He says SNAP is efficient because it is a "free market model" that lets recipients shop at stores for their benefits. The Trump administration's proposal, he said, "is a far more intrusive, Big Government answer. They think a bureaucrat in D.C. is better at picking out what your family needs than you are?"

...It isn't clear whether the boxes will come with directions on how to cook the foods inside. "It could be something that [SNAP recipients] don't even know how to make," notes Miguelina Diaz, whose team at Hunger Free America works directly with families to help them access food aid. "We deal with different people of different backgrounds. Limiting them by providing them a staple box would limit the choices of food they can prepare for their families."
It also isn't clear whether it matters one whit to this reprehensible administration that the foods they are proposing for the boxes include many extremely common food allergies and/or intolerances: Lactose, gluten, and peanuts. If people have no choice over the food they're getting, they may go hungry for lack of safely edible options.

Which is just one problem among many with this proposal. But obviously it's a big one.

And I cannot be any more blunt about that than this: Governments who are willing to starve their citizens are unfathomably dangerous.

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