Drug Testing for Welfare recipents

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Killer Joe, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. train The Wildcard!!!...

    I gotta recognize - Whitman rule - limit the terms that individuals can receive government aid for life.

    Test'em and reduce/eliminate benefits if they are positive. Those benefits can be redistributed to others in need that were on hold, or be used to speed up the process and make govt. more efficient.

    Now - Its only the same pool of money, if the medium is the same. WIC, EBT, etc. are good examples of how at initial purchase, the money cannot go for anything other than the dedicated benefits.

    Maybe the government should have individuals submit their bills for payment. Provide some financial counseling and only pay pre-determined "necessity" portions of bills.
    Example: Cable companies and Internet for everyone: Since regular television (analog or digital with converters) is still available, cable is not considered a necessity. But an internet for everyone initiative provides that internet costs up to the average DSL cost are covered per region. When the beneficiary submits their bill for payment - the government, can directly apply payment to the Cable company for the pre-determined necessity cost.
    Same for electric, water, gas, public transportation vouchers/cards, except more of those would be paid.

    As for the cost of testing them - partner with drug-free america programs, and subsidize the testing, etc. The money exists to do this already - but it goes for exuberant salaries, etc. The testing is random - so over time, the savings can actually pile-up and eventually begin to absorb the costs.
  2. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Sorry, I think this just smacks of an example of people who are "well-off" and looking down on others less-fortunate (not necessarily you guys, but where the whole idea comes from). I think it's pretty arrogant to assume that welfare recipients must be drug users or stereotype them as such.

    I reiterate what would be more productive would be to ferret out fraud and waste, where inspectors and programs are already in place. Welfare can be a part of that, since "drug usage" obviously is fraud, but I think more people who are seemingly middle or upper class are benefitting from all sorts of fraud, be it Medicare/Medicaid, supposed disability, natural disaster aid fraud, etc. People who are more like those who are proposing this drug testing for welfare recipients.
  3. EricBess Active Member

    Spidey - I don't agree with any argument that says that we might as well give people what they want because if we don't, they will turn to crime. I remember a situation of spouse and child abuse where the "solution" proposed by the government was to pay the guy a bunch of money because it was his stress at work that was causing him to be abusive. Start doing that and I guarentee you'll see a lot more abuse happening really quick.

    Personally, I think the whole welfare system is messed up. I don't think anyone should get something for nothing except in very extream cases and there are charities that will step forward in those cases. What needs to happen is some sort of work program where people can contribute to society in order to earn the money they need. I'm not opposed to government subsidies where there is a need, but only if the person is willing to contribute in whatever way they can.

    Instead, welfare is set up as a trap. Once you get on it, it becomes addictive and very difficult leave. By that, I mean there are a lot of people out there that would actually start getting a lot less money (or at least not significantly more) if they were to actually take a job. That's a problem, IMO.

    Back to drug testing - this has already been mentioned, but many private sector jobs require drug testing. Why? Because they know that people who don't do drugs are generally more productive. Random testing means that if people are going to do drugs, they take their chances of losing their job, so the safest route is to simply not do drugs.

    Why shouldn't government run enterprises do the same? If its paid for by tax payer money, shouldn't we have an expectation of productivity?

    As for welfare, I don't see how administering random drug checks equates to stereotyping welfare recipients as drug users. I think everyone agrees that there are people on welfare who use the money for drugs. There are probably far more who do not. But for those people who aren't, how are they harmed in any way by occassionally peeing in a cup? Is that truely degrading enough to their pride? For people who really want to contribute to society, having to go on welfare in the first place is degrading, yes, but if they are going to take taxpayer money, I think they would understand taking a drug test to help weed out those who do abuse the system.
  4. Killer Joe Active Member

    So, on one hand there is an opinion that drug testing for welfare recipients is not a good idea but rather sifting out the fraud in other areas would be more productive; what about both?

    As for the random drug testing I had a tiny blip of an idea (smacks of the whole immigration thing really), if you get arrested on drug charges and you're on welfare you lose it automatically.
  5. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I'm not saying that either. I was saying that the taxpayer will end up paying for those individuals one way or another.

    I agree, but I think I see a different problem. Minimum wage should be raised to allow someone who works to beat the welfare OR welfare should be lowered. Obviously the latter is probably "easier" to do, but if welfare drops too low, then you might as well not even have the program.

    Who know what the welfare formula is, anyway?

    Sure.

    The problem I have with that is that it singles out welfare recipients, period. I'm sure there are other "free" programs out there. What about food stamps? What about housing subsidies? I'm not saying that those recipients are using that for drugs (although I guess with food stamps, you can sell them), but the whole idea is preventing fraud in the first place, of which drug use by welfare recipients is one example.

    See above; I see the former as a subset of the latter (or fraud in general).
  6. DarthFerret Evil Sith Weasel

    how does random drug testing for welfare recipients single them out? A majority of the rest of society that does have employment has random testing. This actually would be more inclusive of welfare recipients.

    An addendum to KJ's comment, drop the arrested part and insert convicted. You would have to make sure that the person brought up on drug charges was truly convicted of said charges before dropping thier welfare benefits.
  7. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Once again, because it focuses on just one "free" program, welfare. What about the others?

    And again, why the assumption that welfare recipients are drug users as opposed to other groups being drug users? And why the focus on "drugs"? There are hundreds of ways to misuse money - again, I refer to Title 16 disability of Social Security, of which I have second-hand knowledge of someone using the checks for "luxuries", like cable, internet, and a new TV.

    In fact, speaking of which, any disability program seems like "free money" to me. Where's the talk of drug testing for them?
  8. train The Wildcard!!!...

    Well - I think the thread here focused on welfare for its topic - but this could easily extend to others. So the general opinion here seems to be welfare program recipients drug testing is ok...

    As for whether it should be done for other programs - why not?

    The "use and lose" policy could simply cut down on the drug use if they wanted to remain on the programs.

    But there's a bigger cycle there then:
    Reduce drug use
    Reduce drugs necessary in society that maintain market
    Dealers lose revenue/market share
    Dealers begin extended turf wars
    Dealers go by the wayside...

    Simplified - but that's an example.
  9. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    New dealers spring up to take their place...

    Frankly, I don't see people's here objection to welfare recipients using drugs. I see their objection to taking supposed "free money" to buy drugs.
  10. rokapoke Man Among Gods

    I object to the idea that the government (ergo, you and I) are (potentially) handing money to people who feel that drug use is a good use of funds. I don't care if they use their welfare money exclusively for rent and groceries, and have other income streams that they buy drugs with. To me, if they can afford drugs, they can afford to not be on welfare. Period.
  11. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    And why do you think welfare recipients are using the money for drugs, as opposed to other recipients of government aid? And why is it just drugs as opposed to other misuse?
  12. Killer Joe Active Member

    Since this thread is MY CREATION; LOL, I hereby include any and all "free money" programs to be scrutinized for drug testing. No more talk needed for that.
    Also, it would be unfair to the rich businessmen, who recieve free gov't money, to be under any scrutiny.
    (heh, I just didn't want to appear to be the big fat liberal that I am so I thought I'd try to fight from the opposing side....ha-ha)
  13. rokapoke Man Among Gods

    I didn't say that only welfare recipients may use government money for drugs. I replied to a thread about drug testing for welfare recipients.

    As for other misuses, I think it is easier to perform a toxicology analysis on a blood sample than to figure out that so-and-so is funneling money to a terrorist organization or is running a Ponzi scheme or some such. So I don't intend to "pick on" drug use; I just feel that it is more readily determined than most other forms of abuse. Then again, I'm strongly anti-drug, so to some extent I may be subconsciously picking on drug use.
  14. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I'm more agreeable. But again, why just drugs? Why not any misuse?

    They kinda go together. Drug testing for welfare recipients implies suspicion that they are using drugs (else why the need to test them?) and are using the government money to obtain the drugs (as opposed to other sources of income, which I tried to distinguish early in the thread).

    I disagree, although I don't know how many welfare recipients there are - if it's a small number, then maybe it can be done quick (and I thought it was peeing in a cup, not a blood sample).

    But I'm not talking funneling money to a terrorist organization or Ponzi scheme, although they probably happen. I'm talking about beefing up current controls and oversights that identify fraud and misuse of such funds that are already in place.
  15. DarthFerret Evil Sith Weasel

    So by your logic, my employment making me take a blood test is implying that Americas working class is using drugs also? Come on. There is PROBABLY a higher percantage of drug use in the lower income (welfare) class, but even if there was not, and it was equal across the board, it is ILLEGAL. Thus, using government funding to perfor illegal activities should not be allowed. To me it does not matter if it is drugs, embezzelment fraud, or funding terrorism. It is all Illegal. Therefore, as this thread asked a question about a specific one of these illegal activities, I responded (as did most of the people here) to that specific activity.

    Maybe I am in the minority here (probably not), but I find that drug use is one of the largest problems in our country and if we could find a way (not likely) of curbing this usage, we would have a lot less problems in the poorer sections of town. Yes, the rich also have drug issues, but rarely are desperate enough to acquire the money to purchase them (they are rich already) to go kill some convienience store clerk, bank teller, etc... over a few dollars to fund said habbit. I do not know the percentages, but I would hazzard to guess that over 50% of our prison capacity is for illegal drug/alcohol use. Eliminate drug usage in the mainstream (yes, I know, impossible to completely eliminate anything) and you reduce the funding needed for prisons (or at least free up space for other criminals) and you clean up some of the seedier sections of town just a bit. Drug testing for welfare recipients could be a step in this direction. Not the end all cure, but a start. And yes, you can also try to regulate fraud (even if you have not defined said fraud yet) and you could target programs other than welfare as well.

    But then lets take it a step further. I have been assuming we have meant Illegal Drugs this whole time, but am prepared to go further with it. I am a smoker. I have been since 11 yrs old (don't ask). I support peoples right to smoke. So, I also think there should be a way to regulate the welfare funding so that it does not include tobbacco products. I know, this seems contrary, but smoking is not a neccessity to life. Millions of people get through life just fine without it. Millions of others have quit just fine. I view smoking as a right, not a need. So no, don't allow the waste of spending welfare on tabbacco (same arguments for alcohol as well). How to regulate this? I am not sure other than I know that food stamps cannot be spent on certain things, and that it is regulated by the stores that accept that card. Therefore, possibly the same can be done with Welfare? I am not sure on this as I believe (never been on welfare, so not sure) that part of your welfare can be converted to cash. This is were I get stuck, and will leave it to the rest of you as I have rambled on way too long.
  16. rokapoke Man Among Gods

    In regards to Spiderman's points about fraud and such, that reminds me of something. My wife told me once of a colleague of hers at one time (she was a teacher) had a husband who also worked full-time, drove a fancy car, had a big house, and somehow qualified for, and collected, welfare (if I'm recalling correctly -- otherwise, it was a similar program that was clearly not intended for her). That sort of thing makes me very upset, as I struggle to make ends meet.

    All that said, I would rather see welfare disappear altogether than to permit fraud of this sort. This would obviously negatively impact the people who are "responsible" about their welfare income, but it would certainly stop welfare fraud. I suppose you could call it cutting off your nose to spite your face, but that's just my personal stance on the issue.
  17. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    That kind of testing is already in place and since it's done by the private sector who are concerned with their bottom lines, actually, yes, I think that those owners believe that their employees are using drugs, else they wouldn't need to do it. Now, thanks to whatever Fairness Act there is out there, they probably don't believe every single one of their employees are drug users, but they just have to test everyone 'cause it's the law.

    And that right there is a problem, because the thread initially asked about such a specific problem rather than covering all sorts of fraud/misuse to begin with. It would seem people have much stronger opinions when the subject is drugs than if the subject was "Let's stop misuse/fraud with government money".

    This is a whole other topic, but again, putting the problem on the "poorer" sections of town smacks of elitism. I bet every single high school in the country has students who are using drugs, and that included "rich/middle class" kids to poor kids. Drugs aren't prejudiced, they affect ALL sorts of people and walks of life.

    Rich folk have to buy their drugs from somewhere, which means they have a dealer who has to get their drugs from somewhere. Any violence that comes from the drug trade means ALL users are responsible in some way for it.

    Now personally, putting the violence aspect aside, I think drug usage is a person's own choice. As long as it doesn't affect someone else, then someone should be allowed to do it. Once it *does*, then society rules take over, just like anywhere else.

    I think alcohol is part of that, and I think it's dismaying funny? ironic, that it's legal and most other drugs aren't.

    rokapoke: Indeed, that may be one of the examples of fraud/misuse that I'm talking about. Although it's possible that since it's several-hands-old, the facts might have gotten misunderstood of that particular example.
  18. EricBess Active Member

    I don't know what the welfare formula is, but I know it has to do with how much money you make on a monthly basis and how much you get is based more upon family size than income. Income is used to qualify, but I don't believe it has a significant impact on what you receive if you do.

    Shifting gears a bit, I have to disagree with you about minimum wage. There are a lot of people out there who would work given the chance. In general, businesses have an incentive to find good workers and wages are set with that in mind. If a company doesn't pay very much, the workers they end up hiring don't care very much. The employer should decide how important a job is to him and, therefore, how much he is willing to pay to have that job done.

    When you increase the minimum wage, you are effectively telling employers certains jobs are no longer worth it to them to hire someone. Perhaps where they would hire 3 people to do a certain job, they hire 2 instead, for example. But regardless, if they are forced to pay more than a job is worth to them, they simply don't hire. On the flip side, if they are unwilling to pay much money, they are either not going to get anyone interested in doing the job, or they are not going to be happy with the type of people who are willing to the take the job. IMO, minimum wage is part of the problem.

    Personally, I would also like to see welfare gone. If you want to help the needy, pass laws that encourage charities. Charities are far more efficient than government. Consider what we are talking about with drug testing for welfare. The majority opinion here seems to be that if someone is using drugs, then remove them from the welfare program. If "welfare" were run by a charity, what would be far more likely to happen is that the charity would work with other charities to get the people into a drug rehabilitation program. If they were completely unwilling to work with the charity, they would probably be cut off, but charities are far more likely to work with people rather than being tied down by statistics and numbers.
  19. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I slightly disagree with the caveat that it depends on matching such willing people and the location of jobs.

    For example, here in Maryland, there is an abundance of jobs in the crab-picking industry. However, there are not a lot of takers locally, I guess because of the nature of the work. Thus, the crab-picking industry has to hire immigrants to get the work done and that becomes an issue with visas (something about them running out).

    Now, if the industry is willing to hire out-of-country workers, they certainly should be able to find workers in the US, let alone Maryland itself. But they've said for a long time that while they advertise and try, no one wants that kind of job. So the conclusion is there may be people who can work, just not at that kidn of job. Meaning they're picky.

    Kind of the same thing with carpet installers, roofers, subcontractors in general, etc.

    It's all intertwined with the immigrant issue and employment, but the basic idea is that yes, there may be people out there who would work, but only at the jobs THEY prefer (and again, the location thing).

    Would such people be more inclined to work at the crab-picking jobs if minimum wage was higher? Maybe... but as you say, the companies may only be able to higher two workers instead of three. So it depends - obviously from the third worker standpoint, it's better to get the job and work period. From the other two, in both cases they're working, but in the higher wage case, they're making more. From the business standpoint, they could get more done with three workers than two (assuming the skill level is the same). So it all depends on the point on view.

    Shifting the work onto the charities sound like a good solution - the question is why isn't it being done now?
  20. turgy22 Nothing Special

    One big problem with charities is that they depend on private donations to stay in business. So when the country falls on hard times, those donations are going to get reduced and the charity will have less to work with and therefore be able to assist less people, when the situation dictates that more people are actually in need.

    A solution to this would be that the government could pick up the slack to fund welfare charities during tough times, but then there's not much difference between the charity and a government program. Not to mention, charities lack the regulation and oversight of government programs (which is why they're more efficient), which opens up more opportunities for corruption by the people running it.

    I'm also curious about EB's idea to "pass laws to encourage charities." Don't we already have that in place now? Aren't charitable donations tax-deductible? Aren't charities themselves already exempt from paying taxes? I'm not sure what further laws are necessary to encourage charities. Maybe EB can clarify.

    Another thing with charities is that no matter how well they're run, they're not going to provide equal treatment for everyone. Charities are efficient because most are small and localized. If the idea is to truly help all people in need, there's really no way to do it successfully through charities without some overlap (which would result in some people taking advantage of multiple charities).

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