Opinion: Trump admin's 'America's Harvest Box' proposal is innovative and cost-effective

(Sinclair Broadcast Group)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The Trump administration has proposed an innovative idea to reform a program you may know as food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, currently provides financial assistance to low-income Americans.

The administration is proposing to switch out a portion of the financial assistance from SNAP for actual food. Households getting over $90 a month would receive what is being called “America’s Harvest Box.” The box would have nutritious, 100 percent American-grown-and-produced food.

Opponents of the proposal have criticized taking choice away from SNAP participants. The government would be deciding what food the participants receive.

The harvest box, however, would represent only about half the benefits that any SNAP participant gets. The rest of the benefits would still be granted in dollars that participants can use on food as they wish.

In 2016, SNAP cost $70.9 billion.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that the harvest box program would save approximately $129 billion over 10 years. That is due to the government’s ability to buy in bulk at half the cost of retail.

Here is the bottom line: America’s Harvest Box is a good idea, but it’s all about execution. I think that rolling the program out on a limited basis would make sense. That would iron out any shortcomings. Once that happens, delivering nutritious food to those who need it, while saving the American taxpayers billions and billions of dollars, is exactly what our government should be doing.

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