Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wrong Way: drug-testing welfare applicants

Leave it to Texas Republicans to drive right past those red signs, though.

Out of the more than 250 bills filed Monday, the first possible day to file legislation for the 83rd session, one measure — concerning drug testing for welfare applicants — is already drawing the support of the state’s top lawmakers and the criticism of civil liberties advocates.

Senate Bill 11 would require applicants to the Texas Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to undergo a drug test. If applicants fail the test, they would not be eligible to apply again for a full year, unless they attended a substance abuse treatment program. The bill was written by state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and several other Republican lawmakers.

“This will help prevent tax dollars from going into the pockets of drug abusers,” Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday at a news conference. He said that the goal of the bill is to "empower every Texan to reach their potential," because "being on drugs makes it harder to begin the journey to independence.”

More at the link makes for worthwhile reading, but let's present the rebuttal not mentioned by the Trib.

This program was implemented by the state of Florida and has been demonstrated to be cost-ineffective. In fact, the cost of the testing -- not including administrative costs -- far exceeds the savings realized on denial of benefits. Nor does the "threat" of drug testing result in fewer applications for aid, according to the Blog of Rights...

Despite the complete failure of this program to unearth anything other than the fact that there is no overwhelming drug problem amongst welfare applicants, the state of Florida continues to defend this law. And unfortunately, other states have followed Florida's ill-informed lead. Over 25 states introduced welfare drug testing legislation this year. You'd think that the court rulings and high costs might have logically stopped these bills, but they have not.

In these lean budgetary times, do conservatives actually want to implement a new invasive government program that wastes money we don't have?

They need to stop calling themselves fiscal conservatives if they do.

Just in case anyone was wondering, the correct governmental response is decriminalization of certain substances, followed by regulation and taxation. Once again the American people understand what its elected leaders are slow to figure out.

Imagine what effect this would have on the Mexican drug wars, for just one thing.

More from Christy Hoppe at the DMN. The argument against denying children assistance because of their parents' "violations" is laudable, but I just don't think an appeal to empathy is effective with the Republican hive mind.

Update: Grits...

... (S)tate leaders begin to pursue yet another policy likely to reinforce the politically toxic meme that Republicans are at war with women (and in this case their young children). If the Governor and Lt. Governor's goal is to help dissuade TANF recipients from drug use, eliminating their benefits is counterproductive. If they have some other goal, maybe they should just drop it before we have another round of embarrassing court decisions slapping down Texas policy once again. 

And Rep. Joe Deshotel, via The Bayou...

“Senate Bill 11 is both fiscally and morally irresponsible. Its even more egregious that it comes at a time of slow economic recovery and while Texas has almost twice the national average of uninsured children. It would violate personal privacy, ignore the presumption of innocence, and continue the Legislature’s expansion of government into our personal lives.”


Greg said...

Don't want to pee in a cup? Don't sign up for a government handout in this state -- or relocate to another.

PDiddie, aka Perry Hussein Dorrell said...

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: Exhibit A.

Greg said...

My position is the same on working for a private employer that requires such tests -- if you don't want to pee in the cup, then don't apply there (or quit your job and find another).

PDiddie, aka Perry Hussein Dorrell said...

Everyone is quite clear on your position. It's a budgetary, moral, and electoral loser. It's more of the same shit that got Republicans defeated all across the nation last week -- except in Texas, of course, where no conservative has had their bubble burst yet. Exhibit B: secession petitions.

Please do continue doing it. Because it hastens the day when the tide finally turns against you.

Greg said...

Yeah, you are probably right. As your side becomes the party of more free stuff for more people and increased government dependency, it will become increasingly hard for my side to win.

That said, I recognize what the sort of policies you prefer ultimately lead to. See: Greece.

PDiddie, aka Perry Hussein Dorrell said...

"Free stuff". You are aware that Republicans not named Mitt Romney are disavowing that, yes?

Not you, though. I suppose you still come here to get some credit for sticking to your (pathetic) principles?

Rage on. Dying of the light and all that. You are symbolic of nothing but abject and epic failure.

Greg said...

They can disavow the comment all they like -- that does not change the reality that the trendline of Democrat policies over the last three-quarters of a century has been towards increased transfer of wealth from GOP constituencies to Democrat constituencies as a means of securing their votes.

PDiddie, aka Perry Hussein Dorrell said...

You're off the rails now, and not just with the conflation of drug-testing legislation and 'Democratic' policies and constituents.

Your laughable rant has taken a turn for the psychotic. Seek help, please. Holding so much anger is unhealthy.

Greg said...

So, disagreement has now become a sign of mental illness. Nice to see your inner Stalinist exposed.