American Shithole #4 — What Treasures Await Within The Failure Box?
by Eric Wilson
All eyes may be on the Rob Porter debacle this week (or now the school shooting in Florida), but buried deep within the latest budget proposal is another hatchet job on our country’s defenseless and beleaguered poor. This administration is looking to slash 129 billion dollars in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in order to support tax cuts for the filthy rich. In a now struggling and continuous effort to one-up themselves, next week Trump conservatives, for no apparent reason, plan to throw one random adorable deaf child off a cliff.
What’s really going on here — besides the wholesale redistribution of value from the needy to the ruling class — is the old conservative classic, the shaming of the poor. Trump and Co. want to bring the shame back to the safety net programs that they can’t outright kill — in this case, by cutting assistance in half, taking power away from the individual, and replacing the ease and independence afforded by the EBT card, with what they call “America’s Harvest Box.”
I’ll give evil republicans one thing, they sure know how to name the beast. Hell, Citizens United sounds more like a well-meaning U2 album, than the death to democracy it represents. This latest proposal is no different. Slice this turd pizza any way you like, this reverse wealth redistribution is a failure box, born of cruelty, dressed in shame and bound by greed. We can expect nothing less from an administration that so embodies failure as its defining characteristic.
"Under the proposal, households receiving $90 or more per month in SNAP benefits will receive a portion of their benefits in the form of a USDA Foods package, which would include items such as shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and canned meat, poultry or fish," the budget reads.
I can hear the breakfast banter already:
“Mom, can I have more shelf-stable milk?”
“Now Timmy, you know you have already had your governmentally allotted granules of dehydrated, dairy product! You know the billionaire class needs every cent the rest of us can spare, for really important reasons, like they want it. Now help your sister open the meat."
“Aww, mom! But I need strength in my bones for the Trump Parade!"
"Well, now that the Trump Parade is every second Thursday of the month, I guess you’re right, son!”
Ugh. Billionaires clawing at the bones of the disenfranchised, scraping for specks of flesh along the fracture lines. Vampiric lords of the undead, sucking the last of the marrow out of a deeply-flawed economic construct that’s now collapsing under the weight of its own coddled indifference.
Also, the “portion” of redistributed benefits mentioned above, in most cases will amount to more than half the SNAP allowance, but let’s not quibble over numbers — when it’s the intent of the proposal that is of most concern.
The intent is to throw a monkey wrench into a fragile safety-net policy, strip it of value once it is effectively destabilized, and reintroduce public shame to an already stigmatized process — the last straight up out of spite. There will be no delivery; it’s not even funded in the proposal. If this proposal were to somehow be implemented, poor Americans will be forced to stand in line outside of some public facility every month, where their value will be scrutinized, and their integrity questioned — just so they can pick up a fucking box of shame.
So prepare to tighten your belts, my fellow impoverished Americans. Even with the recent tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy, apparently billionaire yachts aren’t going to buy themselves. Hell hath no fury like a plutocrat denied their eleventeenth floating water penis. Besides, you know who really has it all too easy in America?
Hungry children who apparently haven’t yet experienced enough soul-crushing shame in their lives, according to republicans. Sure, gone are the days of the soup lines and the embarrassment of government food stamps at the checkout line, but this administration is going to bring the humiliation of failure back!
In the form of a box — filled with a few dollars’ worth of bulk pasta and broken promises.
American Shithole was able to secure a few quotes from various proponents of America’s Failure Box.
“What we do is propose that for folks who are on food stamps, part — not all, part — of their benefits come in the actual sort of, and I don't want to steal somebody's copyright, but a Blue Apron-type program where you actually receive the food instead of receive the cash,” Office of Management and budget director Mick Mulvaney said.
“USDA America’s Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families — and all of it is home grown by American farmers and producers," Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. "It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers.”
“What we also want to do,” Mulvaney continued, “is provide an avenue for regular folks, like me and you, to better be able to ridicule recipients of government assistance, the way we used to be able to do — that’s where the box comes in.”
“We’ve been floating around the idea of fluorescent paint for the boxes,” Perdue continued, “in an effort to draw attention to Americans that just can’t seem to take responsibility for themselves.”
“And just in case neighbors can’t identify citizens requiring scorn by the brightly painted boxes,” Mulvaney assured reporters, “we have introduced legislation that requires SNAP beneficiaries to paint their houses in the same colors as the boxes to avoid public confusion as to who to discriminate against.”
Don’t put anything past this administration. Nothing is truly satirical; nothing is truly farcical these days.
So, what will the contents of this failure box really look like, I wonder? I mean, beyond the delicious, shelf-stable, dehydrated milk — which I imagine to be the equivalent of a chalky Tang to the freshly-squeezed orange juice of the world. Some of us remember Tang.
Not to be left out of the loop, our crack investigative team has uncovered these items to be featured in America’s Failure Box — a food crisis solution for hungry Americans put forth by generous billionaires.
1. A single caviar egg. (enjoy the decadence!)
2. Table scraps from the 2018 Bilderberg Group retreat.
3. Soylent Orange: orange-flavored presidential all-purpose protein paste. (coming soon!)
4. Mystery Sack! ™
5. Fun House mirror sectional for when you wish to look full.
6. Mystery Sack Zero! ™
7. Edible 8" x 10" glossies of Trump Steaks.
8. Paula Dean recipes for Failure Box packaging materials.
These days, as with all machinations of this presidency, I am no longer surprised by brazen, naked greed. I am surprised at how much of it we are willing to suffer through, that is indeed surprising.
Anyway, I’m not the only detractor as you might imagine, according to a Business Insider report, the Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit working to end hunger in the US, blasted the proposal, along with many, many other agencies following suit.
The new boxes will be "a Rube-Goldberg designed system of commodity distribution via food boxes that will be administratively costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure, and that will return the country to Depression-era anti-hunger approaches," said the group in a statement.
A thought that I imagine would give the Koch brothers wicked, east coast, libertarian boners.
The question most often on my mind again, is how much of this we’re going to take? Because these dirty bastards aren’t going to stop until there is nothing left to steal.