Welfare Drug Testing
By Kendrick Greenwood
Should people receiving welfare be drug tested? There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this heated debate within the past few years, specifically in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker has been pushing towards “applicants for food stamps, unemployment benefits, or Medicaid would all be required to pass a drug test under Walker’s coming budget proposal” (rhrealitycheck.org, Wilson). Although this seems like a fair proposal to reduce the likelihood that the money taken away from taxpayers and received from the applicants are being put to good use and being used to help them get back on their feet, versus being used for habits that possibly got them in that position in the first place.
Despite the hard efforts of Scott Walker to push for a drug testing policy, there are others who believe that it is a waste of time to drug test all applicants. Some researchers believe that drug testing would be a waste of time because in Florida, only “2.6% of applicants tested positive”, which is indeed a small number (Time.com, Cunha). But looking at the big picture, “Florida has an illegal drug use rate of 8%,” mathematically speaking which means that that “small” 2.6%, is in actuality over a third of the total illegal drug users in the entire state. And it is guaranteed that there were some applicants who tested negative by either being lucky or cheated the system. There are others who also feel that it would be a waste of money to drug test all welfare applicants, but isn’t it a waste of money giving money to someone to purchase drugs? I’d much rather prefer my money goes to drug tests to prevent this kind of exploitation, instead of letting someone expect to do nothing with their lives and get free money from the government, in which they then use to get into habits they obviously can not afford.
In Economics, there is a term that is taught which describes that a person can make a choice, but in return they lose the opportunity of the alternative. This is commonly known as “Opportunity cost”. This strongly applies to welfare drug testing, due to if a person chooses to take the opportunity to receive financial aid, then they give up the luxury of being able to spend on things that they want than what they need. Perhaps the reason a person even needs to apply for welfare was due to drugs, so why would the government give an addict free money, that’s like giving a dog a bone and expecting him to not chew it, just illogical reasoning. To ensure that the individual plans to actually use the money to help them out the hole they dug themselves into, all they must do is simply pass drug tests. That’s it, not asking for something irrational. As a taxpayer: would you rather have welfare recipients spend all of “their” money freely or see that all welfare recipients passed their drug testing and are spending money for legitimate purposes?
Couwels, John. "Federal Judge Temporarily Bars Florida's Welfare Drug-test Law - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/25/us/florida-welfare-drug-tests/>.
Cunha, Darlena. "Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is a Waste of Taxpayer Money." Time. Time, 15 Aug. 2014. Web. 26 Jan. 2015. <http://time.com/3117361/welfare-recipients-drug-testing/>.
Rector, Robert, and Katherine Bradley. "Reforming the Food Stamp Program." The Heritage Foundation. 25 July 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. <http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/07/reforming-the-food-stamp-program>.
Wilson, Teddy. "Scott Walker: Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is a Jobs Measure." RH Reality Check. 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 26 Jan. 2015. <http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/01/23/scott-walker-drug-testing-welfare-recipients-jobs-measure/>.