Drug testing and state aid - The Explorer: Columns

Drug testing and state aid

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 4:00 am

Many states, including Arizona, have been trying to institute drug testing for individuals applying for welfare and/or unemployment benefits. Who could object to that?  Employers today commonly require drug testing for employees. Why shouldn’t the state? I personally have had to be drug tested for jobs in the past, as I am sure you have. Even though I am not now nor have I ever been a drug user, that did not matter. All employees and prospective employees had to experience the inconvenience of the drug test. This was the new normal.

Now concerning unemployment benefits, just a few short years ago, unemployment insurance was handled quite differently than it is today. They didn’t send you a check while you were sitting in your living room waiting for your tee time. It wasn’t that long ago when, in order to receive unemployment compensation, you had to go directly to their office to get the money. Not only did you have to go in, you had to prove that you had been actively looking for a job. They even had a form that had to be signed by three employers stating you had applied, but were rejected for whatever reason for every week you were to be paid. Also you had to be prepared to go to an employer at the time of your visit to apply for jobs that had become available. That, of course, meant you had to be dressed, coiffed, shaved and clean. If you had shown up drunk, stoned, dirty, or in any way unfit to go on a job interview, you were denied benefits. Was that so wrong? In fact it all seems completely reasonable to me.

When one considers welfare, why would anybody be upset about a requirement to be drug tested in order to receive benefits? Welfare was never intended to be a lifestyle choice. It was always intended to be a hand not a hand out. Persons receiving this aid should always be available for employment unless they are physically unable to work. I don’t believe anyone in this country objects to giving assistance to persons who are truly down on their luck whether that assistance is in the form of unemployment benefits or welfare or low cost public housing, and no doubt there are many folks who need help right now. Requiring those persons to be ready for work is not unreasonable. They should also be required to maintain that subsidized housing in good order.

Did you know that if you were a military dependent and living in military housing your home would be subject to inspection at any time? Is that unreasonable? What would happen if persons living in public housing faced such inspections? Is it fair for members of the military to face more stringent requirements than individuals receiving aid from the state?

And so the debate goes on. I have some news for you. Welfare and unemployment insurance benefits are not entitlements. They were both designed as temporary assistance to help people get back on their feet. They were never intended as a lifestyle. We know today there are generations of welfare recipients. Dependent recipient begets dependent recipient. That whole concept is ridiculous and it needs to come to an end.

Finally, the Federal Government needs to partner with the states to insure that only those who truly need and deserve welfare or unemployment benefits receive them, not haul them into court trying to subvert the right of the states to manage their own affairs. There’s an item I would recommend for the Federal Government to read. It’s a little thing called the Bill Of Rights with particular emphasis paid to the tenth amendment. They might be amazed by what it says.

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1 comment:

  • Jeff Lane posted at 1:29 pm on Fri, May 18, 2012.

    Jeff Lane Posts: 1

    Bravo Mr. Scarbro! It's always remained a mystery to me why the federal and state gov'ts insist that you must pass a drug test in order to EARN money while under their employ, but they turn a blind eye and seem to care less if those who are receiving FREE money (aka gov't handouts) are drug users!
    Imagine what a boost it would be to our economy to make the unemployed, as well as others looking for assistance (such as the disabled) take a drug test... It would be a boon for the medical industry and the companies that manufacture the items needed, plus many would likely fail the test, thus saving the taxpayers oodles and oodles of cash.
    And the cost of administering the program would be a minor… Make the unemployed pay for the test up front with a promise to reimburse them for the cost of the procedure in their first check, provided that they pass, of course. If they fail, OH WELL! They’re out $50 they would have likely spent on crack, meth or weed anyway!
    Please don’t misunderstand; I applaud those who use these benefits for the purpose in which they were intended, which is to help them bridge the gap between unemployment and finding steady work. But those who are simply milking the system and partying on our tax dollars need a wakeup call sooner rather than later!

     

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