Fewer still are aware President Barack Obama just authorized the “next level” of such mandatory drug testing in order to get unemployment benefits although, more sensibly than suggestions arising in Georgia that this be done for everybody, limiting it only to those who lost their jobs due to a failed drug test or work in fields where drug testing is already mandatory (such as public safety).
The underlying notion, of course, is that taxpayer money should not be used to pay for an applicant’s habit. Who’s going to be against that? Of course, this begs the question: OK, if thus discovered what will be done to help such people given addiction is considered a medical condition?
Granny will also have to pay for it, as would mom/dad to begin with. The state will require the tests but not cover the costs ... another “unfunded mandate.” And, of course, the roughly 60 percent of adults that surveys show have never used drugs would also have to be tested along with the federally estimated 7.5 percent of Georgians who have used an illegal substance in the past month.
These tests are not cheap and, unlike so many seem to believe, those on welfare or jobless are not chronic cheats with a tin can full of greenbacks buried in the back yard.
There’s also the problem of “positive” results that are actually false due to ingesting some normal foods. Supporters of the Georgia measure like to point to Florida, which recently started using this approach. In the first three months, that state saw a 48 percent drop in new welfare recipients and “saved” $1.8 million. Is this because 48 percent of down-and-out Floridians are druggies or because 48 percent of them decided to use what little money they have to feed their kids instead of drug-test providers?
Come to think of it, given where some of the welfare money is sometimes known to go, perhaps alcohol/tobacco testing should be added to this bill. And, of course, in one of those ha-ha-not-funny stories all too common involving the General Assembly, shortly after this measure was introduced one of the co-sponsors was arrested for drunken driving.
This approach would require more, not less, state funding; more, not fewer, social workers; more, not less, drug treatment at taxpayer expense.
Just incidentally, this could be paid for by the legalization and taxation of marijuana that increasing piles of statistical evidence show is not as “dangerous” nor addictive as alcohol has already been proven to be. The perils of marijuana, like the benefits defended by its users, are largely all in our heads.
Actually appearing to believe that refusing assistance to those in difficulty will fix anything proves only that Georgia’s legislators live not in the actual world but in a state of denial.