9.26.2011

Florida - Drug Testing for Welfare

A law has been in effect in Florida since July 1 that requires welfare recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits. Applicants pay for the test themselves and are reimbursed if they test negative. Since the law took effect, approximately 2.5% of applicants have popped positive, with another 2% declining the test, therefore making themselves ineligible for benefits.

This past month, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Luis Lebron, who declined the test when attempting to apply for welfare benefits. The ACLU’s claim is that the drug test constitutes an unreasonable search and is therefore a violation of the 4th Amendment and unconstitutional.
Truly, the central question is whether it’s reasonable to expect tax dollars only be used to support unemployed people who are clean. Let’s ignore the fact that the ACLU hates America and that very few people understand the Constitution as it was written. You are not protected from searches and seizures – you are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. This is why they can x-ray scan you in the airport. There’s a reasonable expectation they’re trying to keep everybody safe, and you can take the train or bus if you’d rather.

So, is it reasonable to drug test welfare recipients? A few points to consider:
1)      I had to pass a drug test before I could be a HOSTESS at a Marriott – and then I had to WORK to get the money.

2)      Men and women in uniform are subjected to drug tests at random and risk their careers if they fail.

3)      If you work for the federal government, you may be subjected to drug testing.

I would argue yes, it is perfectly reasonable to drug test welfare recipients. People who work for a living and are paid with tax dollars are subjected to drug testing, so why shouldn’t those who collect tax dollars without working for it be subjected to drug testing, as well? If you want to do drugs, go get a job and don’t collect welfare. Or, if you want to collect welfare, stop smoking crack. Nobody is forcing anybody to do anything.
Furthermore, when you put the Constitutional question aside, there are a few other points in favor of the law in Florida.

1)      The program is pretty much paying for itself. Even the cost of reimbursing for drug tests has not turned out to be more than the money saved by the 4.5% of applicants who either fail or decline to test. Florida is saving a little money by not having to pay these people welfare. Maybe they will get out and find a job – they’re going to need a new source of income to fund their drug habit.

2)      I don’t care for the argument that this is a waste of money. I have a moral objection to paying for someone else’s drug habit. I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home, but don’t ask me to pay for it with my tax dollars that I have no control over. You want to talk about a waste of money? Go look into the amount that the federal government paid out to illegal aliens in child tax credits last year. How does $1.5 billion sound? Yep, that just happened.

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