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XWHISKEYX

Old Head
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April 1 2009 1:19 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
(CNN) -- If Craig Blair gets his way, anyone filing for unemployment or food stamps must show that they are drug-free. He's a state lawmaker in West Virginia who has introduced a bill to require random drug testing for benefits and lays out his case on a Web site called notwithmytaxdollars.com.

Blair and his supporters say drug use is rampant and taxpayers are growing alarmed with how the government is spending their money.

"The message that we're trying to send is, first of all, we need to respect taxpayers and how their monies are spent," the Republican said. "And drug addiction is in epidemic proportions, and not only in West Virginia but throughout the United States."

His bill would require random drug testing for any government assistance: welfare, jobless benefits or food stamps.

Someone who failed the drug test would get the benefits and 60 days to clean up. If he failed the next test, he would lose benefits for two years.

"It seems ironic that welfare and unemployment are both designed to get you back to work and everything, but how is that possible if you're on drugs?" Blair asked.

Lawmakers in 10 states are considering some type of legislation to tie the expansion of safety-net spending to random drug testing. Similar measures in Michigan and Arizona have failed, either struck down by the courts or found to be too expensive.

amFIX: Should people be drug tested before getting benefits?

Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project, calls it "typical political theater."

He says the measures will be challenged in court and struck down. Random drug testing is costly, and he called such measures "cruel" during a recession.

"If anything, [you'd think] people would be more compassionate now that people have lost jobs," Boyd said.

But as the recession tightens its grip, momentum is growing in a handful of states to put strings on the vast expansion of safety-net spending.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states (Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, California, Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, Virginia and New York) are considering some form of legislation requiring random drug testing for food stamps, jobless checks and other state entitlements.

It could affect millions of Americans who are turning to expanded benefits signed into law as part of the economic stimulus package.

According to the Labor Department, a record 5.6 million people from all walks of life collect jobless checks, and the government says that almost 32 million now use food stamps.

Ron Haskins of the centrist Brookings Institution takes issue with lumping jobless benefits with other state benefits.

"Unemployment insurance really is not a welfare program. It's an insurance program, which means that they've paid into the program each month they've had earnings," Haskins said. "Unless we want to cancel insurance policies because someone doesn't pass a drug test, I think that's really quite a mistake."
Watch lawmakers who want government assistance recipients to take random drug tests ยป

Critics also say that these measures don't address drug treatment, the costs of administering the tests or privacy concerns, and that they could prevent drug users from seeking benefits.

But lawmaker Blair said he has been inundated with support for his bill and says epidemic drug use and a worsening economy means it's time for some "tough love."

It's the intersection of several issues -- drug abuse, the recession and bailout overload -- and has generated passionate debate among CNN viewers.

Angie: "If we're going to drug test American citizens who receive taxpayer-funded services, then I'm assuming these drug tests will be administered to the CEOs of AIG, Citi, Wells Fargo and Bank of America as well. Shouldn't the CEO, who receives trillions of taxpayer dollars, be held
pahulkster
what cha gonna do
12,744 Posts
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April 1 2009 1:21 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Disagree about unemployment, but it would be good for some welfare cases. It wouldn't really work to pick and choose though.
GoodTimesGone
cubic time cube
51,395 Posts
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April 1 2009 1:23 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
I'm just going to say that this is a GOD AWFUL idea and not open up this thread ever again.
aboutleaving
stainin
20,639 Posts
31/M/NA


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April 1 2009 1:24 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
will this extend to people who drink and smoke tobacco or are they allowed to be drug addicts providing the government endorses whatever specific addiction they may have?

[i'd read the whole article but have a feeling it will just make me angry and waste my time typing the obvious reasons why i think it's wrong]
Davey.
Baby Cole
43,573 Posts
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April 1 2009 1:24 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Originally posted by: GoodTimesGone

I'm just going to say that this is a GOD AWFUL idea and not open up this thread ever again.


you'll open it again.
yantastic
drink fight win
15,048 Posts
42/M/NJ


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April 1 2009 1:29 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
wonder how soon before Liam posts that this is cruel and assistance shouldn't be tied into this
yantastic
drink fight win
15,048 Posts
42/M/NJ


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April 1 2009 1:31 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Originally posted by:GoodTimesGone

I'm just going to say that this is a GOD AWFUL idea and not open up this thread ever again.



thanks for the input. well worth the read.
GoodTimesGone
cubic time cube
51,395 Posts
44/F/ND


offline   (57)
April 1 2009 1:31 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Originally posted by:Davey.

Originally posted by: GoodTimesGone

I'm just going to say that this is a GOD AWFUL idea and not open up this thread ever again.


you'll open it again.



sidney
MMM..Johnny Cakes
31,775 Posts
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April 1 2009 1:32 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
i like this idea
WREN
Pulp Free
52,194 Posts
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April 1 2009 1:33 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
i like the idea.
pahulkster
what cha gonna do
12,744 Posts
36/M/PA


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April 1 2009 1:35 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Unemployment drug testing is bullshit. Welfare testing would just end up hurting kids with shitty parents. If you are an adult with no dependents then there should be some type of testing, but even that would probably not make too much of a positive impact.
Matti Frost
The Winter's Wrath
7,923 Posts
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April 1 2009 1:38 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
I think it's rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

We shouldn't be giving money to people who don't work, period. Drug testing them is just adding one more layer of expense and bureaucracy. Just end the welfare state as we know it.
James T. Grey IV
Stronger than all!
4,477 Posts
37/M/PA


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April 1 2009 1:38 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
XXX and unemployed! FTW!!!! hahahahahaha
sidney
MMM..Johnny Cakes
31,775 Posts
42/M/PA


offline   (1)
April 1 2009 1:39 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Originally posted by:pahulkster

Unemployment drug testing is bullshit. Welfare testing would just end up hurting kids with shitty parents. If you are an adult with no dependents then there should be some type of testing, but even that would probably not make too much of a positive impact.



actually never thought of this....good point.
James T. Grey IV
Stronger than all!
4,477 Posts
37/M/PA


offline   (5)
April 1 2009 1:40 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
I'm in full support of this idea and this thread.
WREN
Pulp Free
52,194 Posts
36/M/PA


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April 1 2009 1:41 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
I think proving that you aren't spending the little money you are getting through welfare/unemployment on something beyond unnecessary like drugs is a good thing.

there are pros and cons to the testing but i definitely like the idea.
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