Stamp out fraud with fingerprinting

Why would anyone in their right mind — and I’m talking to you, Gov. Cuomo — object to fingerprinting food stamp applicants? Mayor Mike wants to keep the program in force, but for some reason I’ll never understand, Gov. Cuomo wants to nix it. Currently, counties in New York State don’t have to fingerprint applicants, but thanks to a soon-to-expire waiver, the city requires it. And the governor wants it to expire.

What gives Gov. Cuomo?

There is so much room for scamming even with fingerprinting that you would have to be out of your mind to object to it. But object they have.

“I understand fraud detection. I understand fingerprinting. But don’t make a child go to bed hungry because your government wants to come up with a fraud program that requires fingerprinting,” the governor was quoted.

“Fingerprinting food stamp applicants is an unnecessary, time-consuming, stigmatizing process,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn

“Mayor Bloomberg’s doubling-down today on fingerprinting for food is perverse, and destructive to the many New York families and children who are going to bed hungry every night,” said Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio.

What they don’t say is why it would be perverse or destructive or stigmatizing? And why would children have to go to bed hungry?

I say, bull dinky — if you are legitimately entitled to food stamps, having your fingerprints taken to safeguard your identity is not going to demoralize, or stigmatize, or prevent a child from eating. Is it any more so if they had to have their picture taken to make sure the right persons get the right benefits?

It just might make it better for the children everywhere, if fraud is cut down, there will be more funds for the hungry children.

According to the Bloomberg administration, last year, 1,900 duplicate cases were detected thanks to fingerprinting, saving $5.2 million.”

Let me ask you, if you had nothing to hide, would you have any objection at all to be fingerprinted?

I wouldn’t. I’d be happy to provide my fingerprints and feel secure that no one else could take away from me what was legally mine.

So to Gov. Cuomo, Councilwoman Quinn, and Public Advocate DeBlasio get over yourselves. Don’t come out against it because you think it’s going to get you votes — start concerning yourselves with the issues that are really important to the people of this city and state.

Not for Nuthin, put on your thinking caps and find a way to create jobs, keep businesses here, and raise the quality of life, so less people will need food stamps. Because what is really stigmatizing, perverse, and destructive is high unemployment, a failing infrastructure, and unaffordable housing.


Joanna DelBuono's column appears every Wednesday on BrooklynDaily.com. She can be reached at jdelbuono@cnglocal.com.

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