Monday was the day that Donald Trump released both his budget proposal and his infrastructure program. Both were given a lukewarm reception at best, even by Republicans, while some aspects of each were given even more scrutiny than a simple “meh” from Congress, economists, and engineers.
But the budget proposal — which will require approval from Congress, and therefore an endorsement by ALL Republicans, and likely some Democrats — has attracted even more attention than the pathetic, zero-sum infrastructure offering that Trump came up with.
At this point, it almost seems like Trump has a team of assholes who sit in a room trying to think up new ways to make everything suck for everyone but rich, white, old males. One good way to do that is with “reforms” that the GOP perennially proposed to the social safety net — which is really just code for “taking care of poor people as little as possible.”
In this round of devastating budget cuts to programs that benefit the people who need them the most, Trump has decided that he wants to dictate exactly what goes in the shopping carts of anyone who receives SNAP benefits — formerly called “food stamps” — even in as small an amount as $90 per month. That level includes about 80 percent of all SNAP recipients. But it’s not exactly their shopping carts.
The Trump proposal would mean that anyone who gets at least that amount who get about half their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods Package.” The package includes peanut butter, powdered milk, canned vegetables, beans, and the like — ZERO fresh foods of any kind. No allowances for allergies. No options outside a standard package. And that would account for HALF the benefits. So if a single mother had two children, one of whom is lactose intolerant and the other with celiac disease, half of her benefits would be worthless, because they would come in the form of food she can’t feed her children.
The Trump administration is still spending the money — they’re just making sure that the beneficiary can’t choose what she gets.
It’s a transparent throwback to the myth of the “welfare queen,” who, in the minds of conservatives, drives a Mercedes and eats caviar and lobster on the government’s dime. Fraud and abuse exist, of course, but in nowhere near the amount that would necessitate an overhaul like this.
It’s heartless and cruel — just like everything this administration does.
Featured image via Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images