In the Boston Globe yesterday, columnist Yvonne Abraham made an unjustified and hypocritical attack on the idea of giving food stamp recipients a monthly box of food instead of EBT cards. The Trump administration came up with this proposal, called “America’s Harvest Box,” which would involve replacing at least part of recipients’ EBT benefits with food delivered to their door.
There are legitimate differences of opinion about whether this would save the government money, and there’s definitely an argument that this would inconvenience recipients by providing them with food that isn’t necessarily to their liking instead of allowing them to choose what they want from the grocery store.
However, Abraham is out of bounds when she claims that the Trump administration’s reason for introducing this proposal is not to actually enact it but to “set a useful tone, furthering the narrative that those on public assistance are morally dubious, lazy, and not to be trusted.” Disagreeing with a policy idea is fine, but Abraham is ascribing motivations to the Trump administration with absolutely no evidence. She calls supporters of the Harvest Box idea “policy sadists,” motivated by a “nasty stereotype.” She calls the idea “patronizing,” “ugly,” and “insulting.” She criticizes Republicans because they allegedly “balloon deficits by giving tax cuts to the rich even as they trashed the poor” and tells them to “lay off SNAP recipients.”
Personally, when it comes to my opinions about welfare programs, the main thing I care about is for the government to spend as little money as possible. This is also the motivation behind the Harvest Box. There’s nothing sadistic, nasty, patronizing, ugly, or insulting about wanting to save money. It has nothing to do with any stereotypes and nothing to do with how hardworking or trustworthy recipients are. It has nothing to do with trashing anyone. It’s simply about what financially makes the most sense.
To make things worse, when discussing corn and sugar subsidies, Abraham writes, “Only the poor are stigmatized for eating the dreck marketed relentlessly to all; not Trump, whose diet is appalling.” First of all, this statement is false: when Abraham, a columnist in a major newspaper, describes Trump’s eating habits as “appalling,” then Trump’s eating habits are indeed being stigmatized, at least by one newspaper columnist. Additionally, this is hypocritical. Abraham uses words such as “nasty” and “ugliness” to describe a policy idea that she disagrees with, yet by choosing to call another person’s eating habits “appalling,” she is the one being nasty and insulting.
How about voicing and arguing for your opinions without personally attacking those who disagree with you?