Politicians only care if your check clears Part 2 – EBT Reform will never happen

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Politicians only care if your check clears Part 2 - EBT Reform will never happen

By Tim­o­thy Imholt

Dur­ing the past year or so I have writ­ten on a vari­ety of top­ics that have appeared in every­thing from let­ters to the edi­tor of local papers, to more national in scope web­sites, to, yes, BLOGs. One of the top­ics I have been pas­sion­ate about is end­ing fraud in the EBT system.

Please take note that I did not want to end the EBT sys­tem or take that ben­e­fit from peo­ple who really do need it. I am a char­i­ta­ble per­son and if we can’t get the job done with local food banks we have to do it some­how. I would pre­fer this to be han­dled by char­i­ties but it is what it is. So let’s focus on at least get­ting the fraud taken out as a first step.

There are a host of prob­lems with the EBT sys­tem as it stands. Peo­ple get two cards (or more), dead peo­ple con­tinue to use the ben­e­fit long after their pass­ing, and even peo­ple who have left the coun­try con­tinue to receive and uti­lize their card.

I approached some state rep­re­sen­ta­tives here in Mass­a­chu­setts about reform­ing the sys­tem with a high tech solu­tion. That solu­tion was even writ­ten about, and pub­lished in PJMe­dia.

Basi­cally, the way these cards cur­rently work is that it is a debit card that works to pur­chase food. When the user gets to the check­out they slide their card, enter their pin num­ber and are on their way.

If some­one knows some­one else’s pin this can lead to fraud.

I wanted to go high tech. It is pos­si­ble (and the card exists today) to put a fin­ger print scan­ner on the card itself. So when slid­ing the card the per­son puts their thumb on the cor­rect spot, slides the card, the thumb elim­i­nates the need for a pin. Presto bango, no more fraud.

So, with all of this home­work done I go to the Mass­a­chu­setts state house and meet with two state rep­re­sen­ta­tives, one Demo­c­rat and one repub­li­can. Both very rea­son­able peo­ple. They pull in some­one from the proper state agency to dis­cuss it.

The per­son (a lawyer) from the state agency had a vari­ety of rea­sons why they would think a leg­isla­tive man­date would be nec­es­sary to enact this change. Well, great, you may thing, we have two leg­is­la­tors in the room, let’s get started.

That is where this gets interesting.

The two (remem­ber, one D and one R) go and start kick­ing the idea around the halls on Bea­con (Bacon?) Hill. The D meets a ton of resis­tance. The R also met a ton of resistance.

Could it be based on cost of the new card you ask? Well, no the new card only costs 10 cents more per card than the cur­rent one.

What could the prob­lem be?

Well, sim­ple. Money. No, not money spent on the card, not even the money spent on the pro­grams fill­ing those EBT cards with cash. It turns out its cam­paign money.

Let’s fol­low that money trail. The Democ­rats, in gen­eral, tout the pro­gram as a suc­cess in help­ing the poor and work­ing poor. In gen­eral, I tend to agree that this does help some peo­ple (and has fraud in it that NEEDS to go away in order to pro­tect the pro­gram for peo­ple that need it). On top of that, is where, if you look at the quar­terly reports, a large group of cam­paign dona­tions come in from peo­ple who want to expand that pro­gram. It could also cost them votes (accord­ing to the his­toric vot­ing patterns).

Let’s flip to the other side. Repub­li­cans, some of them, raise money by scream­ing loudly about all of the fraud in the pro­gram. Why wouldn’t they get imme­di­ately behind a solu­tion that exists, is known to work, and is used in parts of Europe already today to do exactly what I wanted to do? Well, fel­low pri­vate cit­i­zens, if you can answer that you are smarter than I am.

Just for the record, I don’t own any part of that tech­nol­ogy and stood to gain noth­ing from the solu­tion being imple­mented, except for per­haps lower taxes, which I really would like.

It’s all about the money, and stay­ing in office. Solv­ing this prob­lem means some folks have to go raise money with other ideas, of which they have none. Don’t let most of them fool you; they only care about your check clearing.

************************************************************

[olimome­ter id=3]

It’s Fri­day and we only need $190 to get this week’s pay­check paid in full.

Only 8 Tip jar hits of $25 are needed to get us over the top and give us a chance to make a run on the monthly goal.

Be one of those 9. hit DaTip­Jar below.

Now there is another rea­son to kick in on a more per­ma­nent way

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you can receive one of sev­eral Exclu­sive Orig­i­nal Chris Muir high Res Graph­ics of orig­i­nal mem­bers of DaTechGuy’s Mag­nif­i­cent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


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By Timothy Imholt

During the past year or so I have written on a variety of topics that have appeared in everything from letters to the editor of local papers, to more national in scope websites, to, yes, BLOGs.  One of the topics I have been passionate about is ending fraud in the EBT system.

Please take note that I did not want to end the EBT system or take that benefit from people who really do need it.  I am a charitable person and if we can’t get the job done with local food banks we have to do it somehow.  I would prefer this to be handled by charities but it is what it is.  So let’s focus on at least getting the fraud taken out as a first step.

There are a host of problems with the EBT system as it stands.  People get two cards (or more), dead people continue to use the benefit long after their passing, and even people who have left the country continue to receive and utilize their card.

I approached some state representatives here in Massachusetts about reforming the system with a high tech solution.  That solution was even written about, and published in PJMedia.

Basically, the way these cards currently work is that it is a debit card that works to purchase food.  When the user gets to the checkout they slide their card, enter their pin number and are on their way.

If someone knows someone else’s pin this can lead to fraud.

I wanted to go high tech.  It is possible (and the card exists today) to put a finger print scanner on the card itself.  So when sliding the card the person puts their thumb on the correct spot, slides the card, the thumb eliminates the need for a pin.  Presto bango, no more fraud.

So, with all of this homework done I go to the Massachusetts state house and meet with two state representatives, one Democrat and one republican.  Both very reasonable people.  They pull in someone from the proper state agency to discuss it.

The person (a lawyer) from the state agency had a variety of reasons why they would think a legislative mandate would be necessary to enact this change.  Well, great, you may thing, we have two legislators in the room, let’s get started.

That is where this gets interesting.

The two (remember, one D and one R) go and start kicking the idea around the halls on Beacon (Bacon?) Hill.  The D meets a ton of resistance.  The R also met a ton of resistance.

Could it be based on cost of the new card you ask?  Well, no the new card only costs 10 cents more per card than the current one.

What could the problem be?

Well, simple.  Money.  No, not money spent on the card, not even the money spent on the programs filling those EBT cards with cash.  It turns out its campaign money.

Let’s follow that money trail.  The Democrats, in general, tout the program as a success in helping the poor and working poor.  In general, I tend to agree that this does help some people (and has fraud in it that NEEDS to go away in order to protect the program for people that need it).  On top of that, is where, if you look at the quarterly reports, a large group of campaign donations come in from people who want to expand that program.  It could also cost them votes (according to the historic voting patterns).

Let’s flip to the other side.  Republicans, some of them, raise money by screaming loudly about all of the fraud in the program.  Why wouldn’t they get immediately behind a solution that exists, is known to work, and is used in parts of Europe already today to do exactly what I wanted to do?  Well, fellow private citizens, if you can answer that you are smarter than I am.

Just for the record, I don’t own any part of that technology and stood to gain nothing from the solution being implemented, except for perhaps lower taxes, which I really would like.

It’s all about the money, and staying in office.  Solving this problem means some folks have to go raise money with other ideas, of which they have none.  Don’t let most of them fool you; they only care about your check clearing.

************************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Friday and we only need $190 to get this week’s paycheck paid in full.

Only 8 Tip jar hits of $25 are needed to get us over the top and give us a chance to make a run on the monthly goal.

Be one of those 9. hit DaTipJar below.

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Please consider being a subscriber. Only 57 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plus the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!