Two Georgia lawmakers want to drug-test welfare recipients, a controversial policy that’s been struck down as unconstitutional in other states.
Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, said Thursday they plan to introduce legislation to require people to pass a drug test to qualify for cash welfare.
“Georgia taxpayers have a vested interest in making sure that their hard-earned tax dollars are not being used to subsidize drug addiction,” Spencer said in a news release. “In these tough economic times, it is easy to understand that many deserving families need some temporary help until they can bounce back financially — that’s why we have public assistance programs like TANF. This additional eligibility requirement will simply ensure that those funds are used for that intended purpose.”
TANF is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal program that pays cash to the poor for up to five years over their lifetimes. About 50,000 people receive it in Georgia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”
Personally, I think that’s a waste of taxpayer resources — drug-testing 50,000 people on a recurring basis is not going to be cheap. And as the story suggests, a program that forces citizens to submit to a search of their bodies as a condition of receiving a government benefit, with no probable cause to suspect wrongdoing, also raises significant constitutional issues.
But hey, if that’s the way they end up going, let’s at least make sure it’s done right and equitably.
Every CEO who seeks economic-development assistance from a state or local government also ought to be drug tested, because as Spencer puts it “Georgia taxpayers have a vested interest in making sure that their hard-earned tax dollars are not being used to subsidize drug addiction.”
I mean, why put tens of millions of dollars of tax dollars into the hands of a CEO who is high on cocaine, pot or some other intoxicant? (And please, don’t try to tell me it doesn’t happen, because this and this and this and this argue otherwise.)
In addition, every student who applies for a HOPE scholarship also ought to be drug-tested, again to protect the vested interests of Georgia taxpayers. Why waste precious state scholarship dollars on weed-besotted students, right? And of course, running backs at UGA apparently need those tests weekly, certainly before every SEC game. (I will presume that I do not need to provide links to document drug use among college-age students, correct?)
Again, as Spencer says, “This additional eligibility requirement will simply ensure that those (scholarship) funds are used for that intended purpose” and not to subsidize four years of partying.
If Spencer and Albers would not agree to these friendly amendments, I’d like to hear their rationale for it. I’d want to hear their reasoning for targeting only TANF recipients, but not recipients of other forms of state assistance in amounts that far exceed the average TANF check of $225 a month.
Because without that convincing rationale, this might be mistaken for a class-based effort to gain political popularity by bashing and stereotyping poor people. And Lord knows Georgia politicians would never indulge in something that crass, correct?
– Jay Bookman