The proposed changes to SNAP reduce food assistance to a humiliation ritual.
On Monday, the Trump Administration rolled out a budget that would dramatically alter the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—also known as snap, or, more colloquially, food stamps—which helps protect almost one-sixth of the American population from falling into hunger. There’s a good chance that the proposed changes to snap, like so many of the proposals contained in this budget, will end up in the congressional garbage can. But policymakers should be aware of the damage they stand to do—and of the window they offer into this Administration’s view of poverty and the poor.
Currently, snap benefits are delivered in the form of cash added to an electronic benefit-transfer (E.B.T.) card, and they’re spendable at almost any store that sells food. The Department of Agriculture wants to dock about half of that money and replace it with an “America’s Harvest box,” consisting of “100 percent U.S.-grown and produced food.” Not freshly harvested fruits and vegetables or meat, mind you, but processed “American” food in cans, tins, and jars.