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A Drug Testing Program that Makes Sense!

Republicans have been passing laws to require drug testing of welfare recipients. Florida tested food stamp recipients for four months in 2012 (until it was halted by a court on constitutional grounds), they found that less than 3% tested positive. In Arizona they tested 87,000 – how many tested positive? One.

So the approx $2.76 million spent drug testing welfare recipients saved less than $80k in those two states. Other states had similar results.

Last October, Congressman Trey Radel (R-FL) was caught buying $250 worth of cocaine from an undercover federal law enforcement officer. He resigned.

This could have been prevented by drug testing. Testing 535 members of Congress at $30 apiece would cost $16,050. Catching just one person (like Radel) could save us from paying his Congressional salary, which is $174,000 a year (and that’s not counting any expense accounts and pension plans, which can run far higher).

So drug testing Congress would actually have saved at least $158,000!

Ironically, Radel (a former conservative talk radio host) voted for drug testing for food stamp recipients. Of course.

Testing welfare recipients — a waste of money. Testing Congress-critters? Profit!



  1. Dan wrote:

    This drug testing BS started with the Military under Saint Ronnie. I understood it then, when we signed on the dotted line we effectively gave up our civil rights voluntarily.
    Now most employers require a pre-employment drug test.
    Yeah, test um, test um all, before they take office, just like the rest of us, and then randomly, just like the people they send to war!!!

    Friday, October 10, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    I’m imagining the Fox News anchors responding with a counterargument like this: The drug testing program worked because it served as an incentive! That is, all of those recipients would have been out partying every day–paid for by you honest taxpayers–had they not had the threat of losing benefits.

    The problem with this argument, like much of what comes from the pro-Drug War, pro-testing crowd, is that it completely ignores reality. Welfare and food stamp recipients aren’t using your money to buy drugs. They can’t afford them. They’re poor, remember? When’s the last time you’ve heard about a charitable drug dealer who gives you the drugs whether or not you can pay? It takes a special kind of willful ignorance to think that punitive testing policies for public benefits is effective at all. But testing Congress? I like it!

    Ooh, ooh, I have another suggestion, inspired by John Oliver’s wonderful take-down of civil forfeiture abuses: Mandatory testing of executives at publicly traded companies. Someone at your company tests positive? Civil forfeiture of company assets. After all, the company (which receives many public benefits, tax breaks, etc.) paid that person the salary that was used to buy the drugs. Thus, that company’s assets were used to facilitate the drug trade. Just imagine: We could fix the deficit pretty quickly that way. Win, win. Right?

    Friday, October 10, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink