A Quaint, But Ultimately Ridiculous, Technology Story

As the New York Times reports today, state governments in Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey and elsewhere have begun to distribute terminals to farmers who sell at farmers markets, finally enabling people to make purchases there (of, let's assume, healthier, better for the environment, etc. food) using Food Stamp debits.

Great. Really. But, at least to my mind, this really shows the advantages of the (historically) Canadian solution to the poverty problem: Give disadvantaged people money. That's accepted everywhere without any need for wireless terminals or additional government programs.

Yes, I know. One of the main supposed virtues of the U.S. Food Stamps program is that it prevents people from taking state support that could have gone to food and diverting it instead to cigarettes, drugs, booze, lottery tickets and other bad things. (And, of course, viewed from the other side, it helps to insure low-income people against the necessity of having to choose other living costs, like rent, over nutrition.) But, while I really am happy that some U.S. citizens will now be able to use Food Stamps at farmers markets, I can't help but note that all of the expenditure for these sexy new technology programs could have instead been used to increase Food Stamps benefits. Just saying...

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