What’s Choice Worth?


I doubt that Trump has ever eaten a can of baked beans. His taste, I understand, runs to Big Macs and Diet Coke with occasional side-trips to steak and caviar. But I am sure whatever his preferences may be, he indulges them to the max. He didn’t get that fat by accident.

Obviously, he thinks Big Macs and Diet Coke are too good for the poor. He wants them to eat beans and similar stuff preselected by Uncle Sam.

There’s nothing nutritionally wrong with beans, of course. What’s wrong is the loss of the right to choose.

Not everyone enjoys beans (for example, the ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras loathed beans). Some Americans might prefer wonton soup. Some might prefer tacos. Or curry chicken. Or  oxtail soup. Or a Big Mac and Diet Coke.

Surely, in the Land of the Free, even the poor should be free to eat what they like?

In Trump’s budget proposal, he seeks to replace a portion of the food stamps provided to low-income Americans with a USDA package.

No, I am not kidding.

The food stamp program now gives 42 million Americans vouchers – worth $125 a month – which they exchange at the grocery store for whatever they want to eat. Trump’s budget would replace some of the voucher’s cash value with:

…shelf stable milk, ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish.

No Jamaican patties or banana chips… no ox tail soup… no salt fish and ackee… Indeed, apart from pasta, I don’t recognize any “ethnic” foods on Trump’s list. One of Trump’s minions boasted that it’s “a hundred percent American grown.”

I suppose if you’re poor in America, you’d better learn to enjoy your can of beans. Or you could vote Trump and his minions out of office when you get the chance.

More on Trump’s budget