Tuesday, April 07, 2009

States Seek New Ways To Reduce Poverty Claims/Benefits

As the financial mess continues to metastasize, and more and more people turn to state agencies for assistance, those agencies are having to find ways to either 1) increase the amount of resources available to the needy, 2) stretch existing, already strained resources, or 3) to reduce the number of eligible applicants for those benefits.

Since #1 would probably require raising taxes, which is ALWAYS difficult and daunting, and #2 is already the status quo, that leaves #3 as the "best" way to meet the new challenges posed by the catastrophic clusterphucks in local, state, national and global economies.

One way to reduce the number of eligible applicants being suggested is to subject all applicants for public assistance of ANY KIND to drug tests. No, really, that's one proposal being taken very seriously around the country.

Via Yahoo News, earlier today:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Want government assistance? Just say no to drugs.

Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing.

The effort comes as more Americans turn to these safety nets to ride out the recession. Poverty and civil liberties advocates fear the strategy could backfire, discouraging some people from seeking financial aid and making already desperate situations worse. (That assumes that the purpose of testing is NOT to reduce applications. W.)

Those in favor of the drug tests say they are motivated out of a concern for their constituents' health and ability to put themselves on more solid financial footing once the economy rebounds. But proponents concede they also want to send a message: you don't get something for nothing.

"Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs," said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature who has created a Web site — notwithmytaxdollars.com — that bears a bobble-headed likeness of himself advocating this position. "If so many jobs require random drug tests these days, why not these benefits?"

Blair is proposing the most comprehensive measure in the country, as it would apply to anyone applying for food stamps, unemployment compensation or the federal programs usually known as "welfare": Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Women, Infants and Children.
Is this a punitive, retributive, vindictive, fucked-up country or what? There is absolutely NO reason to drug test applicants for any job that doesn't require the operation of dangerous machinery, and most of such jobs can and have been held by stoners to no ill consequences. I spent more than 10 years in the construction trades, and I doubt that I've ever met more than a small handful of carpenters who weren't pot users, on and off the job. Alcoholics cause far more damage to people and material in the work place than stoners do. But C6H12O6 isn't on the screens they administer...

And if there is no real reason to test workers for 'illegal' drugs, there is even less of one to test people who, being unemployed, pose utterly NO danger to anyone by their own use.

Of course, this is all part and parcel with the rhetoric of prohibition, wherein there is no such thing as 'use'--but only 'abuse'--of the socially demonized substance.

There is only one, real, research-based danger from using marijuana...

And that is: Getting Busted By The Law

KLIK the cartoon to enlarge...

1 comment:

indifferent children said...

BTW, C6H12O6 is sugar (glucose?).