Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Here I Go Suggesting Government Efficiencies Again

Yesterday's Garrison Center op-ed is about the Trump regime's proposal to partially replace "food stamps" (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka SNAP) with the "America's Harvest Box." The column focuses on the real purpose of the "food stamp" program (to justify farm welfare) and why that real purpose makes it possible that Congress will go for the proposal.

An ABC News headline has me thinking about a solution to one of the objections raised by opponents:

USDA proposes replacing food stamps with delivery service, added work requirements

From the piece:

Current USDA requirements say that able-bodied adults without children can only get three months of food stamps in three years unless they work or participate in a job training program at least 20 hours a week. USDA would likely not change that requirement but could grant states waivers to impose stricter requirements at the state level.

So, a major objection to the plan is that its supposed cost savings doesn't account for the cost of actually getting the food to recipients' doorsteps.

Well, why not have some SNAP recipients fulfill the work/training requirements by packing and delivering the boxes? Pick the recipients who are 1) able-bodied and 2) unemployed and have them take those boxes to the recipients who are 3) disabled and/or 4) employed.

It seems like an obvious measure from both cost-cutting and putting-welfare-clients-back-to-work standpoints.

They learn to work on a packaging assembly line and/or drive a delivery truck -- both skills that will help in the job hunt.

If the work is hard enough, it might also constitute a figurative boot in the ass to go find jobs that pay in something other than SNAP bennies.

Yes, I'm against "food stamps" on principle.

And yes, I think this particular proposal is even more stupid than the existing program if for no other reason than that if I'm going to pay for a program to feed poor people, I'd rather they just got the cash because they're better judges of their own needs than some USDA bureaucrat could possibly be (see Milton Friedman's four ways to spend money).

But if feeding the hungry and reducing the costs of doing so and putting non-working people to work and/or teaching them how to work are all priorities, why not make that single program serve all three priorities?

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