The Trump administration's idea of replacing up to half of all food stamp benefits with food boxes has been properly flayed by public assistance and nutritional specialists, members of Congress on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle, and experts in food policy.
Now we have the opinion of the nation's economists, thanks to a regular survey by the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. According to results published Friday, the survey's panel of 43 economists (conservatives, progressives, and almost every shade in between) is nearly unanimous about the idea. Their conclusion: It stinks.
In fact, among economists with any opinion, it was unanimously thumbs down on food boxes.
Asked whether providing cash debit cards "does more for its recipients' well-being" than directly providing a smaller selection of foods directly, 29, or 67%, agreed or strongly agreed. Of the 43 panelists, only one stated that he disagreed. Another said he had no opinion, and the other 12 didn't answer or were uncertain.