By Robert Mann
Politico reported the other day:
The Trump administration is proposing to save billions in the coming years by giving low-income families a box of government-picked, nonperishable foods every month instead of food stamps.
White House OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Monday hailed the idea as one that kept up with the modern era, calling it a “Blue Apron-type program” — a nod to the high-end meal kit delivery company that had one of the worst stock debuts in 2017 and has struggled to hold onto customers. Mulvaney said the administration’s plan would not only save the government money, but also provide people with more nutritious food than they have now …
That package would be made up of “100 percent U.S. grown and produced food” and would include items like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal.
At first blush, this sounds cruel, ridiculous and impractical. How would homeless people get their boxes? What if you have severe allergies to foods, like wheat or peanuts?
After serious reflection, however, I must admit the Trump administration has a point. I’m all in with Washington bureaucrats deciding what food folks in New Orleans and Baton Rouge should eat. But why stop at food boxes?
How else might we eliminate waste, fraud and abuse and restrict people’s choices by shipping them goods and services in cardboard boxes?
I have many ideas. Here are a few:
Why should the states spend billions each year paying teachers, principals, school nurses and custodians? And why should schools expend millions to build and maintain costly buildings and operate busses?
Let’s replace our unwieldy education system with “Classroom in a Crate.” Under this plan, the postman would deliver your “teacher” in a box that contains reading material for your child to study after he has watched the day’s lessons on a DVD.
(Before you scoff, remember this kind of thing has been tried. In 2012, Louisiana Education Superintendent John White and then-Gov. Bobby Jindal awarded $600,000 in private-school vouchers to a school in Ruston that taught lessons via DVD. Imagine the money White and Jindal could have saved by mailing those DVDs to the students.)
Under “Classroom in a Crate,” if a student qualifies for free lunches, his box will also come with a tin of sardines from the Second World War, surplus cheese from the Eisenhower administration, a package of crackers from Operation Desert Storm and a can of condensed milk from the Nixon years.
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