Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Splash Yer Boots

Georgia Governor OKs Welfare Drug Tests:

Governor backs Georgia's proposal to drug-test parents who seek welfare, pushing the state towards a legal confrontation with opponents over the new law's fairness.

The new drug-testing law requires parents who apply for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to pay for and pass a drug test that would cost at least $17. TANF provides temporary financial help to low-income families with children. Passing the drug test once would be a condition of eligibility to receive benefits.

The governor said in a release that Florida's [similar] law saved that state $1.8 million by reducing the number of applicants.
Not quite:

Since [Florida] began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.

Ninety-six percent proved to be drug free -- leaving the state on the hook to reimburse the cost of their tests.

Georgia's law reimburses the applicant for the cost of the test, which means, given an expected 96% drug-free welfare recipient population, the state of Georgia has just added millions of new dollars to the cost of welfare. Bravo, fiscal conservatives.

As I opined back in October, these bills aren't about saving money, they're about political capital. Nothing brings the "cup runneth over" crowd out of their seats quite like "drug testing them welfare queens" and other kinds of populist (some would say racist) rhetoric. These bills not only spend more money humiliating a population already down on its luck and struggling in a relentlessly bad economy, it also provides a perverse form of welfare for the very profitable urine collection industry.

Some have argued we should start drug testing public officials as a corrective response, but I have my doubts. There's no urine test for stupid.

Meanwhile, as I said back in October, get ready to whizzle, for shizzle.

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