Writings and observations

Technology on abuse

One of the complaints about direct-assistance programs is the potential for abuse: Give someone money to buy food, and how do you know they won’t use it to buy liquor? There are laws addressing some of this, of course, but slips happen.

Enter technology, as a bill in Washington takes note. There, the state offers electronic benefit cards to help the needy with basic costs. Then, as the Capitol Record blog notes, “The bill will make it illegal to use the cards for certain nonessential expenses — and will require those businesses to disable their ATM machines from accepting the EBT cards. What businesses are affected? Liquor stores, bail bond businesses, erotic entertainment venues, tattoo shops, taverns, casinos and other adult-only establishments. Cardholders who violate the law will be subject to a civil infraction.”

Resolvable, in large part, via computer programming.

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