Should Conservatives Back Trump’s “Blue Apron” Welfare Reform?

 

First, let me say officially and on the record — I love Blue Apron. I had their “Soy-Glazed Korean Rice Cakes” earlier this week (see photo). If America’s food-stamp recipients were getting actual Blue Apron meals, their lives would immediately improve. But here’s what the Trump administration is actually proposing:

Think of it as Blue Apron for food stamp recipients.

That’s how Budget Director Mick Mulvaney described the Trump administration’s proposal to replace nearly half of poor Americans’ monthly cash benefits with a box of food. It would affect households that receive at least $90 a month in food stamps, or roughly 38 million people.

Here’s how it would work:

Instead of receiving all their food stamp funds, households would get a box of food that the government describes as nutritious and 100% grown and produced in the U.S. The so-called USDA America’s Harvest Box would contain items such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. The box would be valued at about half of the SNAP recipient’s monthly benefit. The remainder of their benefits would be given to them on electronic benefit cards, as before.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about logistics and cost, but here’s the question we asked in today’s podcast: Is this a good idea?

Well, I know who thinks it’s a bad idea: the people who don’t want to stand in a liquor store parking lot with a box of food trying to sell cans of beans and bags of rice for cash. Selling EBT benefits for cash is easy. Heck, you can do it on Facebook! If you’re a shopper in the inner suburbs of Boston, you’ve almost certainly had someone approach you with the offer of $100 in groceries for $50 in cash (using their EBT card). So converting half the EBT transaction into barter rather than fungible currency is not going to be popular among a certain segment of the population.

It’s easy to assume, therefore, that liberals will oppose this policy. (Actually, since it’s a policy initiative from the Trump White House we already know every liberal will oppose it.) But why should they? After all, one of the core premises of modern liberalism is that people are too stupid/evil/both to be allowed to make their own decisions. Liberals love high taxes on sugary sodas. Why? Because they’re “bad for you.” They love restricting fast food restaurants, keeping them out of low-income neighborhoods, for the same reason. The phrase “food desert” was invented by liberals to describe “places where people won’t buy the food we’ve decided they’re supposed to eat!”

This policy would give the government the power to make these food decisions for food-stamp families. No more worries about whether they eat their veggies — the government is going to make them. Or at least, send the veggies and hide the yummy snacks.

And this is precisely why I don’t like the idea. I don’t want to give the government this power. It’s none of Uncle Sam’s damn business what we eat.

I know — if you let the taxpayers pay for the food, then the taxpayers get to pick the menu. Legit point. And I’ll go along, as soon as you apply that policy to Social Security checks, too. But as long as my grandmother can spend her Social Security on pork ribs and Oreos, why shouldn’t her fellow handout recipients be able to do the same. (And no — Social Security is not “her money.” Her money ran out the first two years. It’s a welfare program just like any other.)

I don’t like giving government power. I also don’t like using the government to give away free stuff, including food stamps. I can’t stop the latter. Maybe we can prevent the former.

There are 35 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Thatcher

    Michael Graham: Well, I know who thinks it’s a bad idea: the people who don’t want to stand in a liquor store parking lot with a box of food trying to sell cans of beans and bags of rice for cash. Selling EBT benefits for cash is easy. Heck, you can do it on Facebook! If you’re a shopper in the inner suburbs of Boston, you’ve almost certainly had someone approach you with the offer of $100 in groceries for $50 in cash (using their EBT card). So converting half the EBT transaction into barter rather than fungible currency is not going to be popular among a certain segment of the population.

    One way around this is for meals to be directly served by a third party, much as is done in soup kitchens. However, then you would need a huge government-run infrastructure to administer the program (Can you say, “inefficient”?).

    No, I like the private, third party approach: the truly needy come in and eat.

    • #1
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:10 am
    • 2 likes
  2. Member

    The guy in front of me at the grocery checkout the other day had a case of beer and bag of Doritos. He paid for the beer with a twenty then swiped his “Lone Star” card for the chips. He didn’t even turn back and thank me for the free snack.

    • #2
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:15 am
    • 5 likes
  3. Member

    I see your point, but hasn’t this ship already sailed?

    It’s my understanding that the recipients of SNAP benefits don’t get to spend the money on absolutely anything; there are already restrictions on what they can buy. The government already tells them what they can and can’t eat. This objection to the new plan already applies to the status quo, so it’s not really anything new.

    So, given that we already have a foodstamp program that tells people what they can and can’t eat, isn’t it a significant marginal improvement to make it harder to exchange the EBT funds for cash? I mean, people who do this are defrauding the government so they can get cash to buy recreational drugs. If having to engage in barter stops that, isn’t that a better outcome than the status quo?

    • #3
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:19 am
    • 9 likes
  4. Thatcher

    Michael Graham: But as long as my grandmother can spend her Social Security on pork ribs and Oreos, why shouldn’t her fellow handout recipients be able to do the same. (And no — Social Security is not “her money.” Her money ran out the first two years. It’s a welfare program just like any other.)

    Here’s where your argument doesn’t check out. Social Security isn’t a welfare program like any other. It’s an insurance program based on a 12.4% tax. Let’s not try to turn all Americans into welfare mommas. It’s not good politics (right Mr. Romney) and it’s sloppy thinking. Anyway that’s the Democrats’ job.

    I prefer stamps, food boxes and work requirements.

    • #4
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:21 am
    • 6 likes
  5. Member

    It is my understanding that the budget suggests reasonable cost savings with less opportunity for fraud. I am all in favor of the government saving money. A lot of conservatives rightly complain that the Trump budget does not deal with deficits. This is at least one area where they are attempting to reduce costs without reducing benefits to the individuals.

    Since we have reached the point where the Federal Government is feeding millions of people, I am on board with doing this in the most cost effective way possible. It would seem that recipients would still get half the money to spend as they wish. We are giving people free food. I don’t think we actually have to let them choose what we give them.

    • #5
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:35 am
    • 2 likes
  6. Member

    In 2013 the Washington Times reported that sales of food stamp vouchers had generated a market of $858 M. I suspect this is what the GOP program wants to curb.

    If people are really in need of food, I think -(a) they will not find it dauntingly inconvenient, certainly not impossible, to claim the food. (b) they’ll be less concerned about choosing any particular menu.

    This is a way of ensuring that they get food, and not other less necessary things. But I’m sure the market in SNAP cards , or EBT cards, is even bigger now, so I feel if this program were to go through, it might have the unintended consequence of removing a lot of cash flow from the economy.

    Oh but it won’t go through, because of people like the OP author who feel we must avoid even the appearance of what uesed to be called the dole; that’s demeaning, and might make people want to get off it ASAP.

    • #6
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:47 am
    • 4 likes
  7. Inactive

    Yeah, you’re completely wrong.

    Go and interview 3 grocery checkers ( I have talked to 20 ) in various impoverished areas. Try a Black community, a Hispanic one, and a maybe a West Virginia White hick area.

    You’ll find the manner in which stamps/cards are abused to fuel the addictions and proclivities of the recipients. A case of water dumped out and returned for the nickels in order to get a deck of smokes.

    So children go without nutrition. Ahhhh the children, ahhhhhh.

    The abuses are rampant and will not increase. In fact , when the food is in front of a loser parent it’s less likely they’ll deprive their child of nutrition than if it’s a card/stamp.

    Did I mention you’re wrong.

    • #7
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:59 am
    • 11 likes
  8. Member

    If the feds must do something, this might be better than food stamps and cash, but Trump should just send the programs and a shrinking budget to the states with no mandates and let them figure it out. Some states will let the programs die or shrink to nothing, some will figure out how to give stuff away constructively and Democrat run states will buy votes, welfare roles will ballon and they go broke. All of those outcomes are better than anything the feds could do. This is a country of 300 million of the most diverse people on earth. It is impossible to run such programs centrally even if they were a good idea. I do not know why that is not obvious.

    • #8
    • February 13, 2018 at 9:09 am
    • 7 likes
  9. Member

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Yeah, you’re completely wrong.

    Go and interview 3 grocery checkers ( I have talked to 20 ) in various impoverished areas. Try a Black community, a Hispanic one, and a maybe a West Virginia White hick area.

    You’ll find the manner in which stamps/cards are abused to fuel the addictions and proclivities of the recipients. A case of water dumped out and returned for the nickels in order to get a deck of smokes.

    So children go without nutrition. Ahhhh the children, ahhhhhh.

    The abuses are rampant and will not increase. In fact , when the food is in front of a loser parent it’s less likely they’ll deprive their child of nutrition than if it’s a card/stamp.

    Did I mention you’re wrong.

    Yes, if a box of food is delivered, maybe the kids will at least have a chance to grab something to eat, which they don’t have if mom’n dad just get a plastic card .

    (oh yeah, I know: the recipients aren’t all  like that! Undoubtedly true, but in 2013 enough of ’em were like that to generate $858 M in sales of their vouchers, so I don’t think the GOP plan is quite  as ludicrous as it’s being made out to be. )

    • #9
    • February 13, 2018 at 9:25 am
    • 6 likes
  10. Member

    When I went to school, the school lunches I was given were very good. The cafeteria people would cook real food, and the wonderful aromas circulating around the building all morning would make everyone’s stomach growl. :)

    When my children went to school, the school lunches were inedible. The “fresh fruit” was so bruised or old that I wouldn’t have eaten it or given it to my children. The fried chicken and pizza smelled like garbage.

    My kids’ parents’ council had a meeting about it at school one night, and the head of the lunch program said that along with the federal school lunch subsidies came federal government orders to use “surplus” food. That surplus food was disgusting. It didn’t sell because it was inedible. She told us we couldn’t do anything about it.

    All of the middle-class parents made their kids’ lunches. None of the poorer kids’ parents made their kids’ lunches. It was a visible difference among the kids eating lunch on any given day in the school cafeteria. And the poorer kids were getting the awful food.

    When our kids got to high school, it had gotten so bad that not even the school administrators could stand the lunches anymore. The bad thing about the high school was that it did allow a lot of vending machines into the school, so the kids were skipping lunch and eating the snacks and sodas. Finally we had a nurse on the school committee who put an end to the vending machines. The school also invited some chain restaurants–as I recall it was Pizza Hut and Subway–to open up a “booth” in the cafeteria. The plan lasted only a few months, but the kids loved it.

    My point is that as surely as day follows night, the government will turn this Blue Apron program into a way to get rid of its inferior food.

    I much prefer giving food stamp recipients access to the private-sector food supply. And I’d rather reduce the amount of the food stamp allotments or give them to fewer people than start up a program that gives recipients food instead of vouchers.

    I wish people would keep in mind that although the program is taken advantage of by people who really don’t need it, there are a lot of people who use it properly and get a lot out of it. Good nutrition is really important for kids. And it’s especially important for disabled people.

    I once read an interesting op-ed by one of the chefs who works in the Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen in Brookline, near Boston. He wrote that he had visited his son’s school at lunchtime, and he was deeply disturbed by the poor quality of the lunches being sold there. He wrote that the kids would be better of with a piece of good cheese, a slice of good bread, and a carton of milk. And I agree.

    • #10
    • February 13, 2018 at 9:38 am
    • 4 likes
  11. Coolidge

    This is still far too generous a proposal. I’m with Ben Franklin that poverty should not be made easy and should in fact be uncomfortable in order to motivate people to escape poverty.

    The government should bid out (to the lowest bidder) a daily nutritional bar containing 35% of all daily nutritional requirements per the FDA in a few standard sizes (2500/2000/1500/1000 calorie bars) and must account for all the food allergies that more than [insert some small percentage – I’m not an expert on the subject] of the population experiences. Taste should not be considered when awarding the contract — this will result in a fairly distasteful product (think of chewing a non-chewable vitamin pill) due to lowest bidding process. People who qualify for food stamps can sign up for 3 a day of any size bar per member of the family.

    I suspect many people who “need” food stamps currently would suddenly figure out that they can actually feed themselves on their own if instead of receiving essentially free money (fungibility!) they get a bland and mildly distasteful (while nutritious and filling) food product. And it would still prevent any actual starvation.

    • #11
    • February 13, 2018 at 10:23 am
    • 2 likes
  12. Member

    Doesn’t one of the Ricochetoisie make a living producing Government Cheese? He’ll potentially benefit from this program, which indirectly benefits Ricochet. It’s win-win!

    • #12
    • February 13, 2018 at 11:14 am
    • 1 like
  13. Podcaster
    Michael Graham Post author

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    Michael Graham: But as long as my grandmother can spend her Social Security on pork ribs and Oreos, why shouldn’t her fellow handout recipients be able to do the same. (And no — Social Security is not “her money.” Her money ran out the first two years. It’s a welfare program just like any other.)

    Here’s where your argument doesn’t check out. Social Security isn’t a welfare program like any other. It’s an insurance program based on a 12.4% tax. Let’s not try to turn all Americans into welfare mommas. It’s not good politics (right Mr. Romney) and it’s sloppy thinking. Anyway that’s the Democrats’ job.

    I prefer stamps, food boxes and work requirements.

    ALL welfare programs are paid for by taxes collected against our will. Pretending that I’m getting “my” money back on food stamps or unemployment or SS is just that–a pretense. If it were “your” money, your heirs would get the unused portion when you die. They don’t. (assuming there is any, which is unlikely)

    • #13
    • February 13, 2018 at 12:03 pm
    • 2 likes
  14. Coolidge

    Michael Graham (View Comment):

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    Michael Graham: But as long as my grandmother can spend her Social Security on pork ribs and Oreos, why shouldn’t her fellow handout recipients be able to do the same. (And no — Social Security is not “her money.” Her money ran out the first two years. It’s a welfare program just like any other.)

    Here’s where your argument doesn’t check out. Social Security isn’t a welfare program like any other. It’s an insurance program based on a 12.4% tax. Let’s not try to turn all Americans into welfare mommas. It’s not good politics (right Mr. Romney) and it’s sloppy thinking. Anyway that’s the Democrats’ job.

    I prefer stamps, food boxes and work requirements.

    ALL welfare programs are paid for by taxes collected against our will. Pretending that I’m getting “my” money back on food stamps or unemployment or SS is just that–a pretense. If it were “your” money, your heirs would get the unused portion when you die. They don’t. (assuming there is any, which is unlikely)

    SS was sold as and is constantly promoted as “just getting your money back”. Expecting non-hyper-political types to know it’s welfare is silly. And the fix for this isn’t treating SS recipients as people on welfare, it’s reforming SS to be what it claims to be. You turn the propaganda of SS, which is it’s greatest strength, against itself.

    We need to call the propaganda bluff on SS and pass a “you get what you pay for” fix to social security. Tell them the politicians have been playing games with their retirement and insist that “you should get exactly what you put in plus the appropriate interest from the so called ‘trust fund'”. Insist on this and slam the Democrats for playing games with peoples’ retirements and going against decades of SS propaganda when they object. You make them live up to their promises/propaganda and force them into what is a essentially a private account (but for God’s sake don’t call it that) where everything is invested in government bonds.

    At this point I hear everyone saying “But Hank, that’s just a worse version of the privatization that I want!” That charge is exactly true, but that is only the first step. Then you can make the simple argument that this system isn’t fair. “Government employees and companies with 401ks can invest in more and better things than government bonds, why can’t SS accounts?” You slam the Democrats for forcing people into poor investments and not being fair. Unfortunately you cannot argue both steps at the same time coherently when you have the noise machine of the media drowning out all but the most simple of arguments.

    • #14
    • February 13, 2018 at 1:02 pm
    • 2 likes
  15. Member

    Joe P (View Comment):
    I see your point, but hasn’t this ship already sailed?

    It’s my understanding that the recipients of SNAP benefits don’t get to spend the money on absolutely anything; there are already restrictions on what they can buy. The government already tells them what they can and can’t eat. This objection to the new plan already applies to the status quo, so it’s not really anything new.

    So, given that we already have a foodstamp program that tells people what they can and can’t eat, isn’t it a significant marginal improvement to make it harder to exchange the EBT funds for cash? I mean, people who do this are defrauding the government so they can get cash to buy recreational drugs. If having to engage in barter stops that, isn’t that a better outcome than the status quo?

    Except I think them turning the EBT into cash is actually probably better for everyone, and is an argument to remove the stupid restrictions that come along with these benefits.

    The administration officials are thinking that they can save money by buying food in bulk, but the trade off of this is that they will lack diversity in products specially tailored to individuals. So while it will it might be cheaper in theory it will also probably deliver people a lower quality of food and satisfaction. It would be just as easy to cut the total cash given to save money if you are looking for the saving. We have a robust food distribution system in the US that requires no government supervision. All you need is cash. Making a parallel system can’t possibly be cheaper in the long run. This would be like the government deciding to help out poor people by building them large apartment buildings and giving them apartments… oh wait we did try that and it turned out not so great…

    • #15
    • February 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm
    • 2 likes
  16. Member

    Michael Graham (View Comment):

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    Michael Graham: But as long as my grandmother can spend her Social Security on pork ribs and Oreos, why shouldn’t her fellow handout recipients be able to do the same. (And no — Social Security is not “her money.” Her money ran out the first two years. It’s a welfare program just like any other.)

    Here’s where your argument doesn’t check out. Social Security isn’t a welfare program like any other. It’s an insurance program based on a 12.4% tax. Let’s not try to turn all Americans into welfare mommas. It’s not good politics (right Mr. Romney) and it’s sloppy thinking. Anyway that’s the Democrats’ job.

    I prefer stamps, food boxes and work requirements.

    ALL welfare programs are paid for by taxes collected against our will. Pretending that I’m getting “my” money back on food stamps or unemployment or SS is just that–a pretense. If it were “your” money, your heirs would get the unused portion when you die. They don’t. (assuming there is any, which is unlikely)

    Nope I’m calling BS on your statement taxes are not collected against our will. Our will is bound to the legislative process. Dully enacted laws are our will. Now maybe if we had no participation in the political process because we were slaves, colonies, or some other none citizen then we might say we are taxed against our will. You can avoid all US taxes by leaving the country and renouncing US citizenship. By staying you consent.

    • #16
    • February 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm
    • 2 likes
  17. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Dully enacted laws are our will.

    Every once in awhile, I have to agree not only with your point, but also with your typos.

    • #17
    • February 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm
    • 2 likes
  18. Member

    The only thing I have against the idea, besides the points mentioned about the possibility of the government sending out inedible trash, is that for people with food-related diseases having someone else choose can be deadly. (Of course, some people are choosing their own deaths through food, but that’s another issue.)

    • #18
    • February 13, 2018 at 2:11 pm
    • 1 like
  19. Member

    MarciN (View Comment):
    I much prefer giving food stamp recipients access to the private sector food supply. And I’d rather reduce the amount of the food stamp allotment or give them to fewer people than start up a program that gives recipients food instead of vouchers.

    I wish people would keep in mind that although the program is taken advantage of by people who really don’t need it, there are a lot of people who use it properly and get a lot out of it. Good nutrition is really important for kids. And it’s especially important for disabled people.

    Amen! No system of welfare can be perfect. The main problem being giving to the “undeserving poor” those who are unwilling or incapable to being responsible. It is a sad state of thing that such people exist, and that many such people also take advantage of the generosity of others and society at large. But, given that we must balance trade offs the trade off of giving good quality help to the grateful and deserving needy should be prioritized over the fears of the ungrateful and undeserving.

    Frankly if one is worried about abuses to the system funding investigations and prosecutions of abusers is probably the better way to go, because it is easier to catch a cheater than to design a cheat proof system.

    Our society is amazingly wealthy, and today we can honestly contemplate the feasibility of providing everyone with enough calories to survive. Consider this two pounds of bread and half a pound of cheese represent approximately the total caloric intake of the average medieval worker. To provide this to everyone in the US as off the shelf prices every day would come out (from my back of the envelope math) to about 5% of GDP. Which is a lot, but considering that the government regulatory spend about 20% of the GDP, it means our society can afford to give as part of our regular order of business what our ancestors spent 12 hours a day 365 days a year doing back breaking labor to acquire. That is an incredible thing to ponder. The food stamp program does not cost so much and as far as helping people in a concrete and measurable way is probably better than half the other programs the government runs.

    Everyone know how much food 100 bucks in hand can get you at a grocery store, but who can honestly say how much a 100 buck given to a bureaucrat will get you?

    • #19
    • February 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm
    • 4 likes
  20. Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Dully enacted laws are our will.

    Every once in awhile, I have to agree not only with your point, but also with your typos.

    I flatter my self by thinking I put them in there to make sure people are reading me closely. But the truth is I type away fast looking at my keyboard.

    • #20
    • February 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm
    • 3 likes
  21. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Everyone know how much food 100 bucks in hand can get you at a grocery store, but who can honestly say how much a 100 buck given to a bureaucrat will get you?

    Given enough times, it will get you more bureaucrats.

    • #21
    • February 13, 2018 at 2:24 pm
    • 5 likes
  22. Member

    The gas station across the road will fry chicken you bring for some small sum.

    So you get your food stamp chicken toss Lucky a few bucks and bam fried chicken.

    • #22
    • February 13, 2018 at 3:13 pm
    • Like
  23. Thatcher

    Michael Graham (View Comment):
    ALL welfare programs are paid for by taxes collected against our will. Pretending that I’m getting “my” money back on food stamps or unemployment or SS is just that–a pretense. If it were “your” money, your heirs would get the unused portion when you die. They don’t. (assuming there is any, which is unlikely)

    Come on Michael, this a silly argument. Even if all government programs are funded by taxes collected irrespective of an individual’s will (collective will is a thornier question) it doesn’t make all programs identical.

    Your example of your grandma collecting fat checks which exhausted her contribution within two years is farfetched, unless she retired at 90 or started collecting her benefit in 1940 (some real windfalls in those days).

    The average middle-class Social Security recipient starting today is receiving about 5% compound interest on their contributions. Compare that to an index fund over the same 40-year period. That’s why many of us support privatization of SS.

    Sure the lockbox rhetoric is nonsense. As is exempting these IOUs from debt-to-GDP ratios.

    But so is your equation of Social Security with food stamps.

    • #23
    • February 13, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    • 2 likes
  24. Member

    Jager (View Comment):
    It is my understanding that the budget suggests reasonable cost savings with less opportunity for fraud. I am all in favor of the government saving money. A lot of conservatives rightly complain that the Trump budget does not deal with deficits. This is at least one area where they are attempting to reduce costs without reducing benefits to the individuals.

    Since we have reached the point where the Federal Government is feeding millions of people, I am on board with doing this in the most cost effective way possible. It would seem that recipients would still get half the money to spend as they wish. We are giving people free food. I don’t think we actually have to let them choose what we give them.

    And how much of the food in these boxed is subsidized at the farm/production level by the taxpayer?

    I am Leary if government control, but I agree.

    We have a food pantry program at school that sends home food on the weekends…because kids are not getting enough food when they aren’t in school?

    Look, my mom was on food stamps during a hard time. I was off in college. My family ate well during that time. My mom was a model recipient, and used it for good, and got off as quick as she could.

    Any good parent would not rebuff. receiving good food, never mind not having to stand in line at the store!

    • #24
    • February 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm
    • 1 like
  25. Member

    I Walton (View Comment):
    send the programs and a shrinking budget to the states with no mandates and let them figure it out.

    Well, look here, rocket science! 😘

    • #25
    • February 13, 2018 at 6:08 pm
    • 3 likes
  26. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Except I think them turning the EBT into cash is actually probably better for everyone, and is an argument to remove the stupid restrictions that come along with these benefits.

    FIFY

    • #26
    • February 13, 2018 at 8:32 pm
    • 2 likes
  27. Member

    It seems nobody is discussing the cost effectiveness of supplying food, purchased at wholesale, over giving EBT cards to spend at retail. It is effectively a taxpayer funded subsidy of the grocery business. Not to mention that a large portion of that money is spent at high markup mini marts and convenience stores.

    If people are truly at risk of undernourishment then they should be grateful for the most basic of nutrition. Instead many if not most are spending their food grant money on expensive and low nutrition snacks and junk, when not outright fraudulent uses like those expressed above.

    If the goal is feeding the hungry, and preventing malnutrition, then supplying actual food is the most cost effective as well as nutritionally sound way to do so. It does not have to be a one size fits all box of food. When a family member of mine was on welfare in the 80’s, they had a local food bank where they could go and select off the shelves those items that fit their culture or habits, within reason. No steak and lobster, but canned foods, dry beans and rice that would do quite well for keeping one from going hungry.

    Certainly there are challenges in distribution and supply, but it makes much more sense than handing $200 to someone without any income and expecting that money to be spent effectively on nutrition.

    The whole argument reminds me of an encounter I had on the street with a woman holding a sign ‘need money for food, my kids are hungry’. She had three children with her. I stopped at a local burger place, and picked up a bag of burgers (white castle!). When I offered it to her, she looked at me like I was a bug and spat ‘I don’t want your leftover food’. I told her it was just purchased across the street for her and her children, and she still refused.

    She didn’t want food, and she didn’t need to feed her kids. She wanted cold cash, and I can only imagine what for. But it wasn’t food.

    If people are hungry, give them food. It’s not cruel, or complicated. Cut out the middle man, and put food in their hands.

    • #27
    • February 14, 2018 at 6:13 am
    • 3 likes
  28. Member

    @phenry so then why not make the process simpler. Have the govenrment give people Amazon vouchers that can be spent on their online food store and amazon will deliver the food people buy with the government gift voucher? But then that is subsidizing some other business, and don’t think for a moment government buying food whole sale won’t turn into some corn subsidy scam.

    Like I said you can’t really make a system that is cheat proof, some one some way will scam it. I think over all people scamming food stamp to get hard cash is less bad than some wholesaler and a congressman scamming the tax payers to line their pockets. The less moving part the government has to manage the better job it will do. I object to this welfare scheme over the current welfare scheme because it has more points of failure built into it.

    Imagine someone who can barely assemble a bike declaring that the solution to their transportation problem is for them to instead make a car.

    • #28
    • February 14, 2018 at 8:02 am
    • 2 likes
  29. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But then that is subsidizing some other business, and don’t think for a moment government buying food whole sale won’t turn into some corn subsidy scam.

    No denying that anything the government does will be immediately misused. Using Amazon is no different really from the current system, it just funnels the profit to the Amazon coffers ( they are doing fine without more tax subsidies! )

    I’m just trying to get it boiled down to the basics – get simple nutritious food at the lowest cost possible and pass it to people who need it. It may well still be exploited by fraudsters, but it will be less ripe.

    • #29
    • February 14, 2018 at 8:09 am
    • Like
  30. Coolidge
    TBA

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Everyone know how much food 100 bucks in hand can get you at a grocery store, but who can honestly say how much a 100 buck given to a bureaucrat will get you?

    Given enough times, it will get you more bureaucrats.

    Like Miracle-Gro™ given to kudzu.

    • #30
    • February 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm
    • 1 like
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