Monday, July 4, 2011

Florida's Controversial Law Requiring Drug Testing of Welfare Recipients is a Waste of Taxpayer Money

The state of Florida just passed a controversial law, whereby, they may drug test people applying for welfare assistance.  While to most people this sounds like a great idea, in my opinion, it is just plain stupid, the way it is written, and a waste of taxpayer money.

It isn't that I think they should not be able to pass a test, it is that I don't think the test is going to work the way taxpayers intend it to.

Why, you may ask?  Let me give you a few things to think about, and you decide.

 First off, they are only, from what I read, going to test them when they apply, and if they fail, they will have to get someone else to get the money, and that person will make sure it goes to the children.  That sounds reasonable, but are they also going to test the person that will be in charge of giving the money to the person that failed the test, and if that person is going to give the person that failed the test, the money anyway, what is the purpose?

Secondly, most people that want to pass a drug test to get assistance, will probably stay clean long enough to take the test, and then what?  Also, the most dangerous drugs, like Crystal Meth, leave the person's system quickly, so those abusers would not be caught.

Thirdly, they are going to ask the person to pay up front, and quite frankly, if the person had money to spend on a drug test, they probably would not be applying for assistance in the first place, and what happens to the person and their children, that cant' afford the test.

You have a lot of people on assistance, that have worked hard all of their lives, but because so many have lost jobs, people that never needed assistance before, are now applying in droves.  If they are hungry, and their children are hungry, do you really want to tell that person, you can't get any assistance because you don't have any money to take a drug test.

Also, you just had a state, make a requirement, for the Federal Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is a Federal Program, not a state program, so constitutionally, the state is violating the rights of the Federal Government.

How about going after dead-beat dads.  I know of one young person that received assistance, told the welfare department, where he worked, what time he worked, and they have done absolutely nothing to try and collect, and that was several years ago, and nothing has been done.  If the mother's and father's could get the money owed to their children, they probably would not qualify for welfare assistance.

Also, what kind of test they are going to give will be important.  With the spread of MRSA, if it is a blood test, you are requiring a person to take an invasive procedure, that could endanger their lives as well as the lives of their children, since it is very contagious.

When you give the government an inch, they always take a mile.  DNA testing for every man, woman, and child is probably not too far around the corner, and insurance companies will be able to eliminate you from the insurance pool, if you are genetically predisposed to an inherited disorder.

At first glance it sounds like a good idea, but in reality, I don't see how it is going to work, and it is going to create more jobs for the government, a rise in taxes, cost the taxpayer untold millions, maybe billions, and create more paperwork for an already overburdened agency, and since they are only tested once, will serve no useful purpose, because if they are a drug user, they will start back immediately after passing the test.

However, the public seems to want them tested, so I think the most effective way to handle this, and eliminate some of the above problems, would be to do a random drug screen, that way there is no time to prepare, it will keep cost to a minimum, and if the state wants to give the test, the state should pay for it.

What to do if they fail the test also needs a solution.  You can suspend their benefits, but what about the kids? Foster care, well, you will need to test the Foster Care parents too, and states already have enough trouble finding people to take kids as it is.

Most of the time, all you have to do is follow the money trail, to find out why an ineffective program is pushed upon the public. The best solution is always prevention, and that will mean a change in the way the failed War on Drugs is fought.

What do you think?
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