Texas Becomes New Flashpoint for Having to Pass a Drug Test

Having to pass a drug test for welfare is not new—it’s in action across a handful of states, namely Florida, as many others work diligently to pass statewide bills that would force welfare recipients to have to pass a drug test to receive benefits.


WEBWIRE – Wednesday, December 19, 2012

While the fight rages on between liberals and conservatives on the issue of drug testing for welfare, the main point—that is, whether or not it makes sense fiscally for the states that pass such bills—is getting lost in the brambles.
 
But all those state-by-state cash flow issues aside, there’s a new stereotype about stereotypes arising in Texas that’s raising the hairs on the backs of some people’s necks.
 
In an article written on November 25th, 2012 in the Austin-American-Statesman by Arlene Wohlgemuth, the author suggests that drug tests for welfare recipients are common sense, and that being able to pass a drug test only means a person is then eligible for work. But she doesn’t take into account those who use marijuana medicinally to treat cancer or other illness, and suggests that the stereotypes about welfare recipients are coming from liberals who object to the drug tests, and not from those who are proponents.

Wohlgemuth then goes on to add, "The whole point of welfare assistance and unemployment benefits is to enable people to live with some dignity while they search for a job and get back on their feet.” What does that mean? That people who use ANY drug that would keep them from being able to pass a drug test aren’t living with dignity? Or that they would therefore, in the most absolute terms, be incapable of having a job? It’s certainly an interesting assertion that one would hope is not the general consensus among those who support such a bill for Texas.
 
Wohlgemuth closes her Austin-American-Statesman article by stating, “Requiring people who receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits to be drug-free and ready to take these kinds of jobs is a small thing to ask, and state lawmakers are right to ask it.” But this brings us back to the fiscal issue, begging us to leave our emotions and partisanship off the table. Simply put, does it make sense financially for the state to use taxpayer money to fund drug tests as it does when the predominance of those people pass a drug test with flying colors? If conservatives refuse to raise taxes on any grounds whatsoever, why are they so ready to fund drug tests—which cost about $30 each or more? Food for thought as we come ever closer to the fiscal cliff.



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