Saturday, April 02, 2011

Drug Testing for All Welfare Recipients?

Should all welfare recipients be tested for drug use? I'll admit, it's an issue that has a lot of knee-jerk supporters right from the get-go. After all, who wants those incredibly lavish welfare payments given out to drugged-soaked slackers who lay around in their penthouse suites on our tax dollars, watching their big-screen tvs, leaving home only to drive their Cadillac down the block to meet their connections and get more buckets of chicken to feed the munchies? You know the type: Ronald Reagan made her famous 30 years ago.

Several states -- e.g., Florida, Missouri, Illinois -- are jumping on this bandwagon, as is the federal government in the form of a bill introduced last year by Utah's Orrin Hatch, a Republican, naturally (you remember them, the party of state's rights and getting the government off our backs?). All this despite the fact that actual proof that it is actually a problem is so scant as to be invisible -- in fact, according to the NIAAA, the incidence of drug and alcohol abuse among recipients mirrors that of the rest of society.

But as we know, facts are never allowed to get in the way of a "sexy" piece of legislation that will garner instant support. Especially among RepubliCONS who will use it as a wedge issue to show that Democrats are a bunch of "weak on crime" sob sisters who will squander our hard-earned tax dollars on the unworthy (the "unworthy" being pretty much everyone who is on public assistance and other words, the very people who actually need it.)

But nowhere in this discussion can I see any acknowledgment that there still can be -- even after all the time the professional medical-experimentation people have had to "perfect" their tests -- false positives, as well as the little-talked about false negatives. Equally absent is anything except some vague lip service that if the welfare recipient does test positive, she will get a "referral" to some kind of unstated and unspecified drug rehab.

Apparently no distinction is being made as to the type of drug involved, either. It's one thing to spend your entire welfare check on a $500 rock of cocaine, and it's another thing entirely to smoke some homegrown weed from your own windowbox. Either one will land you in hot water and a new role as an unwilling participant in that vague rehab program, which itself probably has barely enough money to operate with the clients it already has, who likely want to be there...

And also absent is any discussion about all welfare recipients being tested.

Like the CEOs and boards of directors of corporations who owe their success to the injudicious application of corporate welfare payments from us ("we the people") to the already bloated coffers of the ├╝ber-rich, in the form of our tax dollars going to support Big Oil and General Electric (see Corporate Welfare: The Shame Page for more). When even the WTO, itself a bastion of corporate interests, complains about US corporate welfare, it ought to be signal that there really is a problem...

Drug testing for CEOs? Yeah, like that's gonna happen. Don't we have plenty of other problems, ones that are more pressing, more critical, to worry about than whether a welfare recipient is "on drugs"?

Gimme a break.


BadTux said...

One thing I want to note is that if you are a major corporation with a contract with the Federal government, yes, you, the CEO (along with other personnel deemed "critical" by the Feds), *are* required to be drug tested. Indeed, I was in a meeting with a CEO whose company was seeking its first Federal contract (I was there on an unrelated thing, my group was making a proposal for a new product and as the principle architect I was presenting it) and heard him whine, "Oh man, I gotta go clean for six weeks to pass the drug test if we get this contract? Bummer!".

Of course, as the above makes clear, the CEO does get *some* perks the welfare recipient doesn't get. He gets told when the drug test is going to be. And if he doesn't pass the drug test, his corporation doesn't get kicked off the welfare rolls, he just has to check into Club Med for a few weeks and certify "clean" at the end. And finally, the cost of the drug testing is being borne by the corporations seeking government contracts, not by the individuals being tested, while drug testing for welfare recipients will likely take money away from providing services to welfare recipients. Still, drug test mania extends far beyond welfare recipients when we're talking about the Feds -- and as you point out, the issue of false positives is one that the entire system has a problem with.

BTW, makes me wonder who owns the testing labs that do these drug tests, and how much they donate to various Congresscritters to get mandatory drug testing... do you happen to have that info handy? If not, maybe I'll do some research and blog on that in a while...

- Badtux the Testy Penguin

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, BT. I did not know that.
But I do know that the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has proposed that ALL state employees be required to get drug tests, and that his wife is a major player in one of the Florida's largest drug testing companies.
I'm sure that this is just a coincidence...
--The F Man

Anonymous said...

REPOST- NOT MINEUnfortunately, I can't find any English sources on this, because when I try to search for it I am deluged by a bunch of articles about how there is no looting in Japan. But below I list some Japanese sources and provide brief summaries in English. I also found a YouTube video of a looting in progress (albeit calm looting - the employees just watch as it happens).

(1) Looting

As of the 14th of March, Prefectural Police in Miyagi reported 40 known cases of looting. An earlier article (on the 13th - there were 21 cases of known looting by then) quoted a police officer noting that known looting cases were likely only a tiny fraction of the actual looting. He also warned store owners to watch out and protect themselves.

An article from a different source on the 17th reported at least 146(!) cases of looting, including failed attempts that resulted in an arrest. Some of the looting is food, but also people taking cash and brand name clothing. The article also talks about a man at an evacuation center attempting to molest a little girl.

(2) Hoarding/Stocking Up on Supplies

Here is article about how people in Tokyo hoarding food and gas are causing trouble for people in the real disaster areas up north. Here is another article about government efforts to stop people form hoarding:

(3) Fraud

Here is a report about people fraudulently posing as Tokyo Electric Power employees and visiting homes to trick people into paying for "repairs". Here is more general article about the phenomenon of people doing things like using the earthquake to go to people's homes to scam, saying it was extremely common in the past after natural disasters. d4d

d4d said...

Some years ago there was a s storm over a fireman who lost out on a drug test. I was interested in them and union. I called the local's clue less and dumb pres, who I knew. He was making hits on opiates. I asked if he ate things with poppy seeds on them. If so stop for some time and get a new retest, THANKS TO THE UNION. Then he was clean. I wondered what a fireman who had been at a meth lab would test. YOU CAN LOSE IF GO INTO THE WRONG ROOM. d4d

Farnsworth68 said...

d4d, thanks for that forgotten that the alkoloids in poppy seed had actually caused false positives on many occasions.
Anlon. did you mean to post here? Doesn't seem like it has much to do with the topic...
--T F Man

Anonymous said...

Not for nothing but, I say drug test welfare recipients. They drug test people who actually work so why are they any different. Matter a fact, I, and people like me, work to support them so why should they get away with it? Also, they should have to do some sort of work to get their checks and not be able to collect more checks for having more kids. I am sick of supporting these people. I have worked 3 jobs to support myself when I have had to so let them get a job or two and work and stop being lazy. This entitlement mentality has to stop.