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Finger-Printing the Poor?

January 29, 2007

The New York Post reported today that Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes is advising Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to begin finger-printing Medicaid applicants in order to “deter fraud.” New York is currently one of only four states that fingerprint applicants for food stamps, despite numerous studies showing it costs much more than it’s worth.

If District Attorney Hynes thinks it’s “perfectly appropriate” to finger-print people who get public money, then why not finger-print every homeowner who gets a mortgage tax-reduction? Why not finger-print all the employees at Goldman Sachs for the money their company received to stay downtown? Finger-printing is not just intrusive and demeaning – this wasteful process costs far more than it ever saves in fraud reduction.

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