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Random Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by BetterThanEver, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. BetterThanEver

    BetterThanEver Contributing Member

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    This is a brilliant idea. If a drug addict needs food stamps, they got to give up the crack. I think this could help with fraud, where dopeheads sell food stamps to get cash to buy more dope.

    I think this would be great for medicare also. Why should we pay for the medical needs of somebody that's jacks their body up with crack and expects somebody else to pay for the consequences?


    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/States-consider-drug-tests-apf-14749108.html

    States consider drug tests for welfare recipients
    Stay clean or stay off the dole: lawmakers want welfare recipients to take random drug tests

    Tom Breen, Associated Press Writer

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Want government assistance? Just say no to drugs.
    Del.

    Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing.

    The effort comes as more Americans turn to these safety nets to ride out the recession. Poverty and civil liberties advocates fear the strategy could backfire, discouraging some people from seeking financial aid and making already desperate situations worse.

    Those in favor of the drug tests say they are motivated out of a concern for their constituents' health and ability to put themselves on more solid financial footing once the economy rebounds. But proponents concede they also want to send a message: you don't get something for nothing.

    "Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs," said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Viginia Legislature who has created a Web site -- notwithmytaxdollars.com -- that bears a bobble-headed likeness of himself advocating this position. "If so many jobs require random drug tests these days, why not these benefits?"

    Blair is proposing the most comprehensive measure in the country, as it would apply to anyone applying for food stamps, unemployment compensation or the federal programs usually known as "welfare": Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Women, Infants and Children.

    Lawmakers in other states are offering similar, but more modest proposals.

    On Wednesday, the Kansas House of Representatives approved a measure mandating drug testing for the 14,000 or so people getting cash assistance from the state, which now goes before the state senate. In February, the Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a measure that would require drug testing as a condition of receiving TANF benefits, and similar bills have been introduced in Missouri and Hawaii. A Florida senator has proposed a bill linking unemployment compensation to drug testing, and a member of Minnesota's House of Representatives has a bill requiring drug tests of people who get public assistance under a state program there.

    A January attempt in the Arizona Senate to establish such a law failed.

    In the past, such efforts have been stymied by legal and cost concerns, said Christine Nelson, a program manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures. But states' bigger fiscal crises, and the surging demand for public assistance, could change that.

    "It's an example of where you could cut costs at the expense of a segment of society that's least able to defend themselves," said Frank Crabtree, executive director of the West Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Drug testing is not the only restriction envisioned for people receiving public assistance: a bill in the Tennessee Legislature would cap lottery winnings for recipients at $600.

    There seems to be no coordinated move around the country to push these bills, and similar proposals have arisen periodically since federal welfare reform in the 1990s. But the appearance of a cluster of such proposals in the midst of the recession shows lawmakers are newly engaged about who is getting public assistance.

    Particularly troubling to some policy analysts is the drive to drug test people collecting unemployment insurance, whose numbers nationwide now exceed 5.4 million, the highest total on records dating back to 1967.

    "It doesn't seem like the kind of thing to bring up during a recession," said Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "People who are unemployed, who have lost their job, that's a sympathetic group. Americans are tuned into that, because they're worried they'll be next."

    Indeed, these proposals are coming at a time when more Americans find themselves in need of public assistance.

    Although the number of TANF recipients has stayed relatively stable at 3.8 million in the last year, claims for unemployment benefits and food stamps have soared.

    In December, more than 31.7 million Americans were receiving food stamp benefits, compared with 27.5 million the year before.

    The link between public assistance and drug testing stems from the Congressional overhaul of welfare in the 1990s, which allowed states to implement drug testing as a condition of receiving help.

    But a federal court struck down a Michigan law that would have allowed for "random, suspicionless" testing, saying it violated the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure, said Liz Schott, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    At least six states -- Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Virginia -- tie eligibility for some public assistance to drug testing for convicted felons or parolees, according to the NCSL.

    Nelson said programs that screen welfare applicants by assigning them to case workers for interviews have shown some success without the need for drug tests. These alternative measures offer treatment, but can also threaten future benefits if drug problems persist, she said.

    They also cost less than the $400 or so needed for tests that can catch a sufficient range of illegal drugs, and rule out false positive results with a follow-up test, she said.

    Associated Press Writer Lawrence Messina in Charleston contributed to this report.
     
  2. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    This will never happen. It goes completely against the agenda of welfare.
     
  3. Malcolm

    Malcolm Member

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    The spending out cost the money you'll save on the people who looses their benifits. Simply enough its a bad idea.
     
  4. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    I can't decide if I agree with this or not. It seems to me like a roundabout way of decreasing welfare rolls, because we assume these particular individuals are more likely to use drugs. I wonder why we don't do this to farmers, defense industry employees, NEA recipients or anyone else who directly benefits from "our tax dollars."
     
  5. BetterThanEver

    BetterThanEver Contributing Member

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    Because they aren't sitting at home collecting tax dollars. They are actually working and contributing to the tax rolls.
     
  6. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    This is complete crap. We already do not allow convicted drug offenders to get food stamps, which just encourages them to be recidivists. Unlike the majority on this bbs I frequently see the suffering this causes.

    This will have the effect of punishing the innocent children of these folks.

    We are now going beyond the Reagan -Bush era and this seems like a desperate attempt to re-raise their strategies.
     
  7. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    It sounds like a huge waste of money to start paying for all these tests.
     
  8. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    Exactly. Any money saved by purging drug users from the tax rolls would be spent administering drug tests. Bad idea.
     
  9. pgabriel

    pgabriel Contributing Member

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    LOL, what's the "agenda" of welfare?
     
  10. DonnyMost

    DonnyMost clean your room bucko

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    Oooo this will be fun.
     
  11. rocket3forlife2

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  12. MoonDogg

    MoonDogg Member

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    How about drug testing for state/national legislatures....and how about some freakin' term limits while we're at it?
     
  13. jiggadi

    jiggadi Contributing Member

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    Hell why don't the judges and district attorneys take them as well.
     
  14. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    How about random drug tests for House & Senate members. Talk radio hosts?
     
  15. Trader_Jorge

    Trader_Jorge King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking

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    Just think if we had random drug tests at the polls. John McCain would be our nation's 44th President and we would all be wealthier and safer.
     
  16. MoonDogg

    MoonDogg Member

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    Teachers? Janitors? That old lady at the bus stop? People that post in internet forums?
     
  17. Artesticle

    Artesticle Member

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    No testing. No welfare.
     
  18. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    I don't have enough exposure in the welfare system to form a strong opinion on this, but my first question would be: Why do you believe "this will have the effect of punishing the innocent children of these folk?" If one or both of their parents are drug addicts, do you really think that the children get any of this money?

    Also, along this same rationale, why not extend the drug testing to people getting unemployment benefits? The non-drug abusing recipients would be in no jeopardy but we would be able to identify people who need help and who should be in rehab. The principle is the same.

    Federal and state governments need to make cutbacks wherever possible. That's why the administration is floating trial balloons on such sacrosanct programs like veteran's benefits -- i.e., wounded service personnel would have to pay for their own medical insurance needs.

    Again, I ask not to be combative but rather for the rationale counter to those questions -- not that "it's just c-stuff-p."
     
    #18 thumbs, Mar 26, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  19. pgabriel

    pgabriel Contributing Member

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    "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated," McCain told the Wall Street Journal in late November.
     
  20. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    I seriously doubt that

    Rocket River
     

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