This ridiculous notion keeps circulating in states by politicians looking for some easy votes from the ignorant, but now Hatch is trying for a national law.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has proposed an amendment to the jobs bill today that would require Americans seeking unemployment benefits and welfare to pass a drug test.
Hatch claims this “would help save taxpayer money and reduce the national deficit.”
First, we have the cost of all the drug testing and the processing of those tests. This would be huge, and the government would have to pay for it â€” what else are you going to do, charge the recipients? They’re broke. That’s the whole point.
What about false positives? Ready for the court cases?
What about one member of a family testing positive? Does the entire family lose benefits?
And what if someone tests positive? So you take away their benefits and then what? Adding more people on the street with no means of support helps society how? And if they’re actually addicted (and not the victim of the persistence of marijuana metabolites), unless there’s also treatment or other help (additional cost), what prevents them from falling into a life of crime to support their habit?
Saving taxpayer money? Not so much. A huge windfall for the drug testing industry? You bet.
Plus, it makes Hatch look good to his constituents for proposing it (remember he’s from Utah).
I have watched Orrin Hatch on the floor of Congress for many years and he is one of the slimiest politicians I have ever known. Unlike some of the others there, he’s not stupid â€” he’s actually quite smart. But he’ll stand up and utter what he knows to be complete lies with the most sincere voice and facial expressions you’ll ever see.
This proposal will meet with lots of popular sentiment. To those who are uneducated on the subject, it sounds good: Let’s not have taxpayer dollars meant to help people in rough economic times be wasted on drugs. Makes sense. (I see friends on Facebook “liking” this idea all the time.) Until you study the issue.
This proposal won’t save money, it will cause problems.
Oh, and just in case this still matters… it’s un-Constitutional.
That’s right, a drug test is a search (yes, analyzing your pee is about as intrusive a search as you can get). And suspicion-less searches by the government are still a violation of the 4th Amendment (unless you’re a high school student participating in chess club or some other dangerous after-school activity)… at least until the Supreme Court adds another drug war exception to the Bill of Rights.
Update: Something I meant to mention…
If you’re going to have taxpayer money paid to people, whether it’s for unemployment, welfare, or Congressional salaries, you really lose control of how it is spent at that point. Certainly you may wish that it’s spent on food and housing rather than drugs, but remember that nothing’s preventing it from being spent on porn, or really bad movies, or alcohol/cigarettes, or condoms, or video games, or lottery tickets, or any of a host of other items or services with which you may disagree.
If you really want to control what people get, then you have to go to distributing government cheese or something like that (which I think would be really good in lieu of cash pay for the recipients of taxpayer handouts in Congress).