This is actually yesterday's Brevity, but editorial cartoons get a little break from the "same day" rule and this accidentally became an editorial cartoon when the administration announced its cunning plan to replace food stamps with "American Harvest Boxes."
Dan Thompson thereby proves that, indeed, you can make this shit up.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney explained it this way:
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. It lowers the cost to us because we can buy [at wholesale prices] whereas they have to buy it at retail. It also makes sure they're getting nutritious food. So we're pretty excited about that.
Which raises all sorts of questions, and not just "Whatever happened to all that government cheese?"
But, as much humor as is laced in that linked explanation, it does suggest another question, with its description of "40-foot semi tractor trailers with 20 pallets of cheese in each truckload," which is, "How does the gummint think it can save money by purchasing food at wholesale and then setting up an entire distribution network?"
Which is not just those trucks, but purchasing boxes and packing them, which is to say, doing all the labor that grocers do anyway and that, by the way, is a major cost factor in the price of food?
Or, in simpler terms, "Why cut off local stores from doing this for you? Why damage local economies for no benefit?"
Or, in even simpler terms, "Are you people idiots, or is someone planning to skim some profits from this ridiculous idea?"
See? If you make the question easy enough, it kind of answers itself.
Two factors here:
One is that I remember welfare food. I had friends whose kitchen shelves had bags of flour and other stuff, with a marking that said something like "Gift of the American Government - Not for Resale."
So, yes, it can be done. But they stopped doing it, and there may have been a shame factor in those bags, but there's a shame factor in using your ESB card at checkout, so that's a wash.
My guess is that they stopped giving out actual food because it was stupid and expensive.
One argument in favor of providing food is that it guarantees that welfare recipients will get good nutritious food instead of junk, but, then again, the Trump administration also ruled that they couldn't simply add soda and candy to the list of things you can't buy with food stamps, and this graph comes from that article.
By the way, you don't see "crab and lobster" in that list, despite the good Christian people who honestly report having watched WIC recipients buying luxury foods, but, in defense of "We're too stupid to be able to define eligible foods," I remember somebody trying to make crab legs ineligible and accidentally eliminating canned tuna, too.
However, if "we're too stupid to determine a list" is your defense, how will you know what to put in those boxes?
Bottom Line: This is an absolutely ridiculous, unworkable, unnecessary idea.
Have pity on the cartoonists, Mr. President: Stop coming up with sillier things than they can.
For instance, this explanation from the President's personal attorney about Trump's porn star:
In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.
What a considerate fellow. He must be a tremendously popular divorce lawyer.
Speaking of things they think we're dumb enough to believe
Jeff Boyer draws for the Albany Times-Union when he's not handling other graphics there, and I haven't figured out his schedule but I have figured out that it's worth checking in. He nailed this one.
In Honor of the Day
It's hard to have Valentine's Day follow Groundhog Day so closely, because it means that our shortest month contains two mandatory cartooning days. Well, Monty isn't having any, and I don't know how Jim Meddick will deal with this next year but I'm happy with how he's handled it this time around.
And Mark Anderson doesn't mention the day but he reflects the mood, and I laffed because pet adoption agencies have their own codes for describing animals they need to place but that you surely don't want to take home. They translate well to dating.
"Needs a little training" means "Completely headstrong and undisciplined," "Does better in a home without other dogs" means "Insanely and unreasonably jealous," and "Just needs a little love" means "Pathologically insecure."
Honesty wouldn't change it: "Will piss on your rug" would simply translate to "Will shit on your head."
"First Love" is a wonderfully wistful, romantic concept, but, as Cat Stevens wrote, first cut is the deepest, and, in Between Friends, Maeve and her ex met on the street by happenstance, grabbed coffee and are discussing their current status.
Part of the fun of following this strip closely is knowing that Maeve is the expert at romantic disasters, but that even she has trouble outdoing her first marriage.
The other part is the guilty laugh because, yeah, I can relate.
I hope guys aren't the only ones who have that moment of "Okay, the time to gracefully leave has passed," but maybe it's the difference between being a hunter and a gatherer.
Hunters don't want to be gathered.
Dammit, that's not our fault. It's just anthropology.