I am a progressive liberal because I was taught to have compassion...

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs, who, however, has never learned to walk forward.
A liberal is a man who uses his legs and his hands at the behest ... of his head." - Franklin D Roosevelt

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Facebook Friends And Mitt Romney In Favor Of Drug-Testing Welfare Recipients

I have, in the past, argued with “friends” on Facebook against the idea of drug testing welfare recipients.  My assertion has been that, constitutionally-speaking, it’s wrong.  Worse yet, it’s racism.  And if it’s not racism, then its AT LEAST discrimination against the poor.  My personal belief is that people still unfairly associate welfare with minorities; therefore, the attack on welfare recipients is an attack on minorities.
(image is licensed under WikiMedia Creative Commons License)

And now, Republican candidate for President, Willard (Mitt) Romney, has indicated he is in favor of testing ANYONE who receives government funds.  The context, of course, was that he agrees with Florida's law to drug-test welfare recipients.  In agreeing with that policy though, he included anyone receiving government funds:

But I digress.  Back to drug testing welfare recipients.

The state of Florida passed a law mandating welfare recipients be tested for illegal drugs in their system.  This has resulted in 2% of those recipients being tested positive and loosing benefits. TWO PERCENT.  The overall rate of drug use in Florida is 8%.  EIGHT PERCENT.  Therefore, the argument that welfare recipients are more likely to abuse drugs is just false…an attempt to demonize the poor.

Of course, in Florida’s case, it can be argued that there are improprieties with that state’s governor having ownership in a drug testing company that provides the testing.  Similar to the accusations of Arizona’s governor having a financial stake in the privatized prison system, therefore having a financial interest in the passage SB1070.

Now drug testing welfare recipients legislation has been introduced in other states too: Hawaii, Indiana, to name a few.  However, I have not noticed the same fevered push to drug test other recipients of government funds.  Congress is not mandated to be drug tested.  None of the bailed out banks were required to be drug tested.  Where is the fairness in that?  If the argument is that anyone receiving government assistance should have to be drug tested to make sure they aren’t using government money for drugs, then EVERYONE who receives any money from the government should have to be tested.

Yes, I am aware that some will argue that reason for the low percentage of welfare recipients who test positive in Florida is because the law itself dissuades recipients from filing in the first place.  REALLY?  Do these people who argue this point really believe that argument?  If I have no job, no source of income or assistance, am I going to decide to keep using drugs I cannot afford to purchase since I have no income or assistance, opting to not receive those benefits just to keep using the drugs I cannot afford?  Explain the logic!  I saw one very informed observer breakdown the numbers even further (unsubstantiated): The 2% of Floridians who fail (and loose benefits) save the state $48,200 per person per year.  Multiply that by the 38 people who failed and that equals $1.83 million.  Seems significant, doesn’t it?  UNTIL you learn that the cost of administrating the policy/program is $178 million.  So much for saving money for the tax-payers of Florida, huh?

(image is licensed under Wikimedia Creative Commons license)

So setting aside the “fairness” issue of drug testing welfare recipients, the next time you “like” a Facebook post or page about “mandatory drug testing for all welfare recipients”, ask yourself why you think it’s really a good idea.  You may not like the answer you come up with if you’re honest because it really has nothing to do with saving your tax dollars and more to do with the opening paragraph of this article.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work- Keep at it. I'll try to overcome my techno challenged self and access/read your blog frequently.
    Morever, I'll look forward to meeting you one day - We share some interests. I'm a former lecturer in Rhetoric and Public Address, and taught both at California universities. Good Luck!
    Linda Dolphin (your father's 'friend')


Thanks for the comment! I will review and allow or deny depending on its content soon.