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Classy Warfare

Legislator co-sponsoring a bill requiring drug testing for welfare recipients — Normal Republican tactics.

Same legislator getting arrested for DUI — Normal Republican hypocrisy.

When arrested, the legislator was driving his gold four-door Jaguar XJ8 — Priceless.

What makes this even more ironic is that when the Republican bill to require welfare recipients to be tested for drug use was introduced, a Democratic legislator filed a similar bill to require that all state legislators submit to similar testing.



  1. Duckman wrote:

    The entire government should be tested regularly. Drugs could be the reason half of them are batshit crazy and make poor decisions.

    Grant it a drug test wouldnt of stopped a DUI, two different worlds there. However, the idea of people within the government getting drunk at night isnt flattering either…

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 4:43 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    As a public health nurse, I am highly in favor of drug testing welfare recipiants. Many are or will be mothers. They are with their smoking, drinking and drug taking passing these things on to their children, creating another generation who start life with handicaps. I pay for those children and their special 30K a year educations. I want to stop the cycle.
    21 year old mother of three went out to have a smoke, leaving her tiny children behind alone. Also went to get beer. The house caught on fire. Not all survived but those who did were badly burned. I pay for all that. Her trial had to be postponed as she was having child number four at age 21.
    When my house burned because the person watching it didn’t follow directions, insurance covered it. Your rates might have gone up a few pennies because of my big loss but not like my taxes because of that irresponsible mother. I also had a child out of wedlock. I was totally on my own with no family help. $1.00 over the medicaid help. I managed.
    I don’t want to support the next generation exposed to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol before they are born. One little strand of hair tells it all.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ebdoug I agree with your position and Duckman as well. In the military we get tested about 2x year. I think everyone in Gov’t (local, state, fed) should get tested and particularly anyone who must use a firearm in the course of their duties. I think like you Ebdoug that required testing may provide an incentive to make better choices for those who require assistance.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink
  4. IL-08 wrote:

    And so if they test positive, what happens, they get dropped off assistance, and exactly how does that help the children?? This whole thing is Way too little and way too late and only kills more people and doesn’t save you once cent (the percentage you dump versus the cost of the testing for all).

    Sorry, I get a bit upset when the all poor are demonized. If you want to change it you need to break the cycle much further upstream through education and giving all people an even chance to improve their lives. This happens less and less nowadays and the reaction from the masses is to let them all die. I think we can do better than that.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink
  5. Duckman wrote:

    @IL-08: Obviously it is not a good situation for the kids, but I think the idea is you shouldnt be taking welfare and turning around and buying drugs. As someone who is very anti drug I’d say if they truly loved their kids they would spend that money on the kids, instead of their own selfish wants.

    On another note, no one is demonizing them, they are breaking the law.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  6. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Would you all be in favor of drug testing for anyone who wants to deduct mortgage interest from their taxes?

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  7. IL-08 wrote:

    Duckman, when you accuse a group of being on drugs, which is what you do when you force them to take a drug test, you are demonizing them. Its not just the drug users you are demonizing, it is all people on assistance.

    10-32’s point is well taken, what about if you had to take a drug test to get a drivers license? People driving on drugs cost us all money in cleaning up the messes and enforcement costs, so it is just as valid as welfare. But I don’t do drugs, I have nothing to hide, you might say. Just how many of your freedoms are you willing to relinquish? And how much cost are you willing to absorb to save a few dollars?

    I saw one survey a few months ago when this issue was getting some news that did some homework and found out that the cost of doing the drug tests was greater that the amount of welfare paid to people who would fail the tests. So this solution actually would cost you money.

    You say that it obviously is not a good situation for the kids, what about your solution would make it better? Would it make it worse? I think so.

    I would also like it better if people would spend all their money on their kids instead of their selfish needs. I would also like it better if I could ride a rainbow pony to work every day. Both have the same chance of coming true, although I really can’t blame anybody about the ponies.

    So the solution of cutting them off welfare actually costs you more money and kills children. Again, I think we can do better.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink
  8. IL-08 wrote:

    I was wrong, it did save Florida money when this program was instituted there last year. You can find the info here:

    Annual savings were less than $100k, or less that 1/2 of 1 cent for each resident of the state…..

    No mention was made to how many people it killed.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  9. Duckman wrote:

    Well I guess a the entire workforce is demonized, considering a good bit of them need to take drug tests when hired and/or submit to random drug testing

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  10. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IL-08 – The issue doesn’t have to be black and white, for or against. Why can’t we be smart and not political. If your getting money thats supposed to be for you and your children, then you get drug tested to hold you accountable. If you test positive then you can be given help with your inability to control your behavior, which will benefit not only you and your children, but all of us.
    Of course if you don’t want the government involved in your life then vote for Ron Paul.
    1032 – ridiculous as usual

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink
  11. Michael wrote:

    Mandatory testing of Welfare recipients serves one and only one purpose: satisfying taxpayers’ desire for self-righteous moralizing. While we can dress it up all we want with discussions about “breaking the cycle,” the end result of this type of regulation is simply to divide recipients into the groups that indicate whether or not those individuals are worthy of assistance. If an individual tests positive, then it allows us to feel justified in cutting their support because they are scum.

    Sure, we don’t use those terms. Instead, we hide behind claims that they are receiving taxpayers’ money and buying drugs. But that’s not necessarily true. The positive test doesn’t determine whether or not they bought drugs…just that they used them. There is a difference.

    Then, we make arguments that these programs provide incentives to stay clean. One problem with this approach is that arguments based on incentives assume rational actors with sufficient information to weigh risks and benefits. However, there’s plenty of evidence, even if drug use isn’t involved, that humans are not rational actors. So the notion of incentives is already on shaky ground.

    More problematic is the lack of evidence that these programs are truly incentives. That is, did the presence of the testing and punishment program really cause 96% of Welfare recipients to avoid drugs? Or did those 96% avoid drugs because they would have made that decision anyways?

    If we want to make the argument that random drug testing of Welfare recipients breaks the cycle by creating an incentive to avoid drugs, then we need empirical evidence. That means we need studies that show the rate of drug use among Welfare recipients actually changed as a result of these programs. If 2% of recipients test positive every year, then this program is not about invoking positive change by encouraging individuals to lead better lives. It is simply about punishing those we feel are unworthy of public assistance simply because they used drugs.

    Programs like this are naive and ham-fisted.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  12. Michael wrote:

    As an alternative, why not provide rewards for good actions? If a Welfare recipient is holding a steady job, provide public transportation waivers to help him/her get there. If his/her child’s teachers provide evidence of the parent’s involvement in school, promise a scholarship.

    Incentive programs that are only about punishing bad behavior are typically not effective. They just make us feel better because bad people get their comeuppance.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
  13. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Michael – I agree. We can’t make informed decisions because we don’t have data yet. I don’t think there is data before FL law went into effect so a before/after comparison is likely impossible.
    I don’t necessarily want a drug testing program simply to punish by withholding funds. I want a program thats going to provide a pathway to getting healthy. I want children of drug addicted parents to have a shot at something better. If drug testing helps us identify at risk children due to parent addiction or drug use and provides a treatment solution then how can it be bad? From my view its a win win.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  14. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I also agree on fixing the welfare system as a whole. Currently there is no incentive to do better. I’ve had tenents who tell me they can’t get even a part time job, because they then lose all assitance. Thats just stupid in my mind. It’s made the thought that we just want captive dependents as a voter pool cross my mind on a few occasions. I believe the assistance should be on a sliding scale gradually deminishing to zero as a person becomes more self sufficient. Further rewarding them with transpotation waivers or scholarships for continued progress could also further incentivize their rise out of dependence.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
  15. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I guess my point is ridiculous if you pretend that the only type of benefit people are provided by government is welfare…

    Michael, I agree totally.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  16. Jane wrote:

    None of you are addressing the factors of what causes people (on assistance or not)to abuse drugs and become addicted. Why don’t we as a society look to minimize drug abuse in the first place, across the board? (Like middle class and rich people don’t have drug problems and end up abusing their children.) Cigarettes are addictive too, will there be testing for these and benefits taken away for welfare recipients for smoking, it’s proven to be quite harmful to children through 2nd hand smoke. So much anger in our country, and so little compassion expressed. I came from a blessedly normal family and have had few serious problems in my life. So, do I have the right to trash everyone else who hasn’t had the same benefits of stability, education and love? Like people want to be addicted to drugs and abuse their kids? Bad choices, poor life decisions. There were times in my life that I was close to the edge of being sucked into mistakes and been caught up into a vortex of bad decision after bad decision and ending up in a really awful place. Have some compassion folks, not everyone is marvelous perfect you.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink
  17. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree Jane, but I also know that rewards without consequences do not work except in a rare few cases. I personally have gone from nothing to something, back to nothing again and have now enjoyed a lengthy period of comfort.
    If we simply say anything you do is OK, your’e still covered, its a fairy tale. It’s like asking your auto insurance company to forgive unlimited accidents with no consequence. Or not paying bills and don’t want it to effect your credit or borrowing capacity. It doesn’t work. Human nature will want to get over, in many cases.
    I do agree we need to help those trapped in the cycle, but they also need to help themselves with what they can. If part of that is knowing if they use, they lose; then its a positive deterrent to a potential negative consequence. As for the rest of society getting away with stuff because they don’t get government help, I think thats a much smaller percentage and they do face consequences. If you smoke your insurance costs go up, if you don’t work while your drinking/druging you lose your stuff.
    1032 – I guess you want drug testing for all, no problem. Because we all get government benefit. They allow us to live in our homes, try not paying your property tax and watch them take your stuff. We all drive on roads, made by the government. They allow us to use cars on their roads. I get what your saying, but what’s the point if it doesn’t offer a solution to the problem, it’s just ramblings.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  18. Great White North wrote:

    If everyone in the US was tested and punished for illegal drug use, the country would likely shut down. Any idea why the US is the biggest market in the world for illegal drugs? I can safely guess it’s not just ‘poor people’ with the financial means to purchase drugs.


    For Ethan Nadelmann ’84, head of the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York City-based policy and lobbying group dedicated to a less punitive approach to drug policy, the answer lies in the social and economic costs of a strategy that he believes has put too many in jail or prison and done little to reduce the availability of drugs. Of the approximately 2 million people behind bars in the U.S., he notes, about 500,000 are there for drug-law violations–more than the total number of people jailed for all criminal offenses in Western Europe, although the U.S. has 100 million fewer people.

    “If we’re lucky, our grandchildren will recall the global war on drugs of the late 20th and early 21st centuries as some bizarre mania,” says Nadelmann. “The true challenge is learning to live with drugs so that they cause the least harm. An effective strategy needs to establish realistic objectives and criteria for evaluating success or failure, and must focus on reducing the death, disease, crime and suffering associated with both drug use and drug policies.”

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  19. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Who wants to punish for testing positive? Use it as an investigative tool to identify people who need help.
    Read the words for crying out loud. Jeez.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink
  20. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    “I guess you want drug testing for all, no problem.”


    “I get what your saying, but what’s the point if it doesn’t offer a solution to the problem, it’s just ramblings.”

    Uhh, my point was that the “problem” is invented because on analysis it applies to YOU.

    The “problem” as stated is, “some amount of people are using a benefit from the government for illegal purposes, specifically drugs.” Ok, then then solution is drug testing for all, since all receive government benefit.

    But wait…I’m no druggy! I’m a hard working American with a job and a house and a car! So that can’t be the problem…the problem must be, “some amount of people are using a *specific* benefit from the government for illegal purposes, specifically drugs.”

    Whew, I feel better. No testing for me since I don’t partake in that particular benefit! Because, after all, we know that Americans with jobs and houses and cars don’t use drugs. Right?

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
  21. Iron Knee wrote:

    Every study I’ve seen says that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. Not that we don’t need a little of both, but I think we are focusing too much on negative reinforcement, and that alone doesn’t work, as we have seen with the “war on drugs”.

    I think we can all agree that we need to stop randomly throwing money at problems like this, and actually figure out what works. I’m enjoying this conversation in here, but it is short on facts and too heavy on gut feelings and emotions.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  22. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    and now starting in left field…..1032.

    Actually I understand your point. And to clarify, all welfare recipients do not use drugs. We do however, need to spend our money more wisely and throwing it, in however small a manner, to an undesireable end is not helping. We do need to help those trapped in a negative cycle to break out or climb out. So whats the solution as you see it instead of just sniping at other peoples solutions.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink
  23. Duckman wrote:

    Well I say this topic brought out the masses didnt it

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink
  24. Iron Knee wrote:

    And to think I almost didn’t post this one. You never know what will get people going.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
  25. ebdoug wrote:

    Testing: The last person I dated was in 1996 on. I had been in relationships. I went and got aides tested as I didn’t want to expose this new person to anything. I don’t see it as a punishment. Certainly I wouldn’t want a nurse taking care of me if that person was on drugs. I wouldn’t want a long distance hauler, hauling on drugs. The list goes on and on.
    Those are my tax dollars paying for children to be ruined by drugs,alcohol, tobacco before they were born. That is not how I chose to spend my money. I want a healthy nation.
    I also don’t want my money going to fake wars and all the repercussions from fake wars like the homeless killed by an Iraq vet (maybe) in LA. This numbers of this country who continue to be killed by the fake wars goes on and on and on. I could see this happening in March 2003. We had Vietnam to learn from and learned nothing.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  26. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I don’t know what problem you are referencing. If you are talking about the drug problem, I believe significant headway has been made by countries who legalized and invested in free treatment and rehabilitation for those who wanted it vs keeping everything illegal and relying on incarceration.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink