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July 13, 2014

Honor system isn't good enough of

It is a well-intentioned federal nutrition program: Give $21 in vouchers for fruits and veggies to low-income seniors who otherwise might not be able to afford fresh produce.

But the metro-east program is being operated on the honor system, and that should leave a bad taste in taxpayers' mouths. There is no honor among thieves, as the saying goes; some seniors will take the coupons even though they don't meet the criteria.

"If they need it that bad, then let them have it," said Ashley Duffie, of the Area Agency on Aging. Wrong attitude. If people take coupons who aren't eligible, that means some people who truly need the help won't get it. Also, taxpayers who are footing the bill for the $19 million annual program don't want their money squandered.

If seniors are going to take these freebies, they should be required to first prove their eligibility.

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