Orrin Hatch with another bad idea

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 — 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 — 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).

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26 Responses to Orrin Hatch with another bad idea

  1. Chris says:

    do so few people understand that drug testing costs money? We’re saving money by not doing them. But they believe that they will save money by not paying out to the people who do drugs. most of the people I know who would support this hardly care about politics enough to understand the idea. But when I say it costs money to do anything and ask them how many people they think they will catch they often go quiet on the issue. Mostly because a lot of the people i know don’t do drugs and have been on some form of welfare. If they had to pay for drug test for five of them and none of them test positive then were is the savings? Probably in how much you get every two weeks, which is usually just barely enough to survive on.

    This money is taxed. In my stay on unemployment I had the choice to have them take it out of my payment or pay my taxes at the end of the year. If they don’t pay it out, it is not taxed. If it is not taxed then that money sits there going unused. And with budget constraints and an angry public they are not going to reduce the budget for unemployment any time soon. They will probably extend it again in the face of another national “crisis.” So with that money going nowhere, not being taxed, and no shrinking to the size of the budget in site where are the savings? Will they borrow the money from the unemployment fund to clean up the gulf? Or how about better infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.)

    I require a drug test of all politicians once a week (and I will pay for it without complaint), and random. Also done by an organization that takes delight in testing politicians so to be a little more sure they won’t tip them off. Then if that solves the problems in Washington (like they always claim testing does) then maybe I’ll allow them to piss test people who just lost the job they had to be tested to get in the first place.

  2. flipnik says:

    The equipment to drug test hair costs over a million dollars. But its ok the taxpayers have deep pockets.

  3. denmark says:

    This blew my mind when I heard it on the local news last night. Hatch is not all that approachable either, he has blown me off more than once in a rather rude fashion.
    What a loser he is. What a loser all the Senator’s are who support Prohibition.

    Only 10 days left in this disgusting state.

  4. kant says:

    They probably will argue that the people on social security don’t HAVE to do it. It’s a choice. It’s the same argument for drug tests with extra curricular activities (like chess club).

  5. JRH says:

    Recently in my home state of South Carolina Governor Mark[ high morals] Sanford sign into Law A bill that will denigh unemployment benifts to individuals fire for drugs. As most here know most people are fired based on the big random Ptest not for actual drug use. I forsee the unintended consequenses that will come, like will emloyers actually having to prove drug use on the job rather than the results of some random drug test in court and A rising crime rate as desperate people turn to crime to support themselves and their familys. LOL Looks like Pandora’s box got opened again.

  6. darkcycle says:

    About two hundred dollars a pop. If the black market drug trade is profitable, realize that so is testing, big time. I know a little about chemistry, and once the reagents are identified, and the lab set up to manufacture them, the cost is pennies a gallon. The lab techs doing the testing likely make minimum wage or close to it. The markup is incredible. If we wind up with a national work ID law, an idea pushed by some DEMOCRATS, look for some opportunistic louse to try to make drug testing a requirement for that too. This needs to stop, there is an entire industry that exists soley because we no longer have fourth ammendment rights.

  7. Chris says:

    Been expecting this post for a while. I’ve seen the facebook group and discussed it on forums I go to. My argument was not that drug tests are bad, just that if you don’t test for everything, you’re discriminating against users of certain drugs.

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  9. Tootsie says:

    THE FACT THAT IT CAME OUT OF HIS MOUTH – Get this guy outta there already – The BIGGEST buffoon in Washington. The most slimy fanacticalcreepy politician combining religion and politics – the man is known in Washington, believe me -and its not all good – THIS is WHY people from Utah look like freaks to the rest of the world – People really want to know if we are for real over here – whats really going on over here, they ask….no wonder because the politicians are WACKO – The LDS high priests have a meeting and Orrin (the do gooder) brings it to the table in Washington – totally disgusting folks1!

  10. Cannabis says:

    It’s not about saving money, it’s about punishing those who don’t share your sado-moralistic view of the world. Unfortunately this is a very popular idea with voters. 1,369,893 people like the Facebook page MAKING DRUG TEST MANDATORY FOR WELFARE. Plus it would make the drug testing industry a lot of money. So, it would be a win/win for everyone!

  11. claygooding says:

    Another scheme to spend more tax dollars and with an industry already getting rich because of prohibition.

  12. crisscross says:

    This is no ordinary politician…this is a ddouble standard hypocrite – Do you know how many illegial aliens are hired by “the State of Utah” these border jumpers are bringing over the drugs which people are hooked on -we just recv’d a speach on this from the President of Mexico – Orrin, you big goof ball you! Utah’s unemployment Insurance hotlines are basically calls taken by green card workers – they are inept, totally screwing our systems over and at the same time – THESE PEOPLE ARE COLLECTING FOOD STAMPS AND UI. Now isnt that a total failure!! – We keep the illegials here so the police have jobs – is that fair to THEM – they probably dont even realize it – These are NOT NATIONALIZED American mexicans – These people are sneakers, border jumpers, drug dealers – OH! and they are taking all the jobs….for low pay – WHAT DOES THAT MAKE THE COMPANIES AND PEOPLE WHO HARBOR THEM???? The LDS religion, LDS Bishops in every neighborhood harbor them and give them food from their food banks and credits from the Deseret Industries – They illegial aliens are also collecting Social Security just by having a work card or green card-THATS MY GD SOCIAL SECURITY!!!! Take care of your PRIORITIES MR. Hatch. Oh! and isnt it kinda wonderful President Obama is legalizing Marijuana left and right even Sarah Palin has inhaled for Gods sake – If ANYONE has a drug problem and needs help – they should be able to get medical care for that * where Alcholism is a DISEASE* people should also be covered thru medical to rec’v help – This is exactly what Obama has proposed in the new bill for Healthcare – IS ANYONE LISTENING? Because Utah is Opposing the Healthcare bill – DOUBLE STANDARD UTAH SLIMEBUCKETS

  13. permanentilt says:

    I got into a long discussion when a friend posted that Facebook group with some fanatical message. My friend didn’t respond but her sister was the one I actually argued with. I gave many arguments.

    -encourages people into harder drugs that deplete the system quicker
    -can’t test for alcohol, which is directly related to more child endangerment and spousal abuse cases than drugs
    -wouldn’t save money because it’s expensive
    -studies show that (and I gave govt. source) only about 17% of welfare recipients have used drugs in the past year, 10% past month

    See, they seem to think that welfare recipients are ALL junkies abusing the system, most are actually mentally handicapped or physically disabled. Very few actually even use drugs.

    She kept attempting to rebut me, but of course not one sound argument. The argument I gave that eventually shut her up was.

    -Oh, you WILL end up paying them, but instead of your taxes, it will be at gunpoint!

    Not a word after that.

  14. hate to say i told you so, but the first page of the ndcs spells it out quite clearly — they plan to drug test everybody all the time.

    and, no it actually won’t cost that much — they’ll be doing it with saliva tests.

  15. Servetus says:

    Senator Orrin Hatch should stop shrouding his sadomoralism with incoherent and transparent excuses about saving taxpayer money and reducing the deficit, especially when he intends to use prohibition for a purpose for which it was never intended.

    Instead, Stormin’ Orrin needs to be more direct. He needs to pick out some small, sickly, homeless guy on the street, and then just beat the crap out of him. This would satisfy Hatch’s lust for power and sadism, while more fully revealing the Senator’s true attitude concerning the poor and less fortunate.

  16. Tootsie says:

    43 million Americans – out of work and on food stamps – Just like the great depression and will take at least 10 years to recover – from JOBS, WALLSTREET, FORECLOSURES, CREDIT ISSUES, CROOKED EMPLOYERS – These are not 43 million mentally and phsyically retarded individuals you idiot! Get your facts straight ! Maybe these illegial mexicans will help to overturn our government and our already corrupt systems, politicians, etc. its all ready corrupt so what the hell – People are going to need to start their own businesses like back in the day of great grandfathers ~

  17. Martin Johnson says:

    Yes, Hatch is a politician worried about his chances in 2012 because he voted for Tarp. Yes, I would say that this idea is being floated to shore up his image with voters, but I doubt it will help. My best guess is that one way or another our debts will answer almost all political issues very soon, because we are beyond broke. The national debt just went above 13 trillion. I sure wouldn’t lend to someone who was hopelessly in debt, never paid anything but the interest, and was having a hard time doing even that.

  18. undrgrndgirl says:

    add to your list of “wrongs”:

    it costs approximately $50,000 in tax payer money to incarcerate one low level criminal…assuming that some number of the folks who would be cut off from their benefits would end up in jail also negates hatch’s claim that “it would save tax payer money”

    furthermore, the unemployed are former taxpayers anyway and have paid into the system, and aren’t part of unemployment benefits paid by the former employer anyway?

  19. undrgrndgirl says:

    @ brian bennett and they’ll be doing it to make sure we’ve taken our government issued medication (ala thx1138)

  20. undrgrndgirl says:

    hatch is paid with tax payer money too…he needs to be drug tested (along with all of congress, state governments and the white house)…they should also be subject to alzheimers and other psychological screenings before taking the oath of office…

  21. Maria says:

    Your comment about Government Cheese is spot on. I can’t help but think that is where we are headed, and quite soon. Not just federal and state social programs or food banks, not food stamps, but actual federal government sponsored food distribution points and ration cards. It’s the only way to make sure people spend their social allotment on food.

    And even then, a black-market will spring up and people will be trading or selling their food to get their vice of choice.

    This is human nature.

    This country has the potential to fall down quite far. Politicians like Hatch, they can see the bottom, especially politicians like Hatch. They -want- the bottom to rise up and embrace them. That is their kind of world.

    Till then, it will be their brand of politics as usual. Worming around until they feel they are no longer bound by the rules of our imperfect democratic republic and can take take care of business, on their own terms.

    Or maybe I’m just suffering from some hyperbole hysteria due to withdrawal from being a junkie?

  22. joe says:

    Too bad…we’re all going to have to get jobs now…can’t see myself giving up the herb…

  23. @ undrgrndgirl — sad but true! Americans have already been drugged without their consent by the Army and CIA. who knows what else has been done without “the just consent of the governed.”

  24. some lady says:

    Hatch is insane, period. He needs to be tested. Get your government hands off of my body.

  25. Crisscross says:

    Assuming the unemployed and homeless are drug users? WOW! The king of Pharma is the culprit whom pushes the DRUGS on the poor women of Utah – These gals with 5 kids and 2 divorces can’t cope – The men who can’t find work in the small towns cant cope – but if your depressed then you can get a perscription for ani-depressants. Where in recent years the FBI has been on lock down in UT busting people and Dr.’s who have been abusing the scripts – National stats say UT has the largest abusers of perscripts and women on Welfare. Huh! Sounds really crooked. They dole it out, bust em, people pay fines and thus the perpetual cycle continues. UT is the most “well managed” State?? By the double standard quasi LDS religion. Coo coo!@#!@*

  26. Bryan says:

    The jackass simply doesn’t care,

    That the money “saved” by removing people from assistance programs who fail the testing… will (in theory) “pay for” the testing.
    I also doubt they’ll ‘catch’ & ‘kickoff’ enough people from these programs to pay for the testing of ALL of the people being tested.

    So, assuming they catch anyone – outside of some unemployed stoners –
    (Who may very well be out of work due to state of the economy, rather than the fictitious “amotivational syndrome” B.S. of the past,Or possibly due to the 1 to 6 ratio of job openings to potential applicants), What would this accomplish in relation to any sort of fiscal conservatism?

    It seems to me like it might be a wash, at best… OR it could be one more source of endless spending on another unsuccessful/ineffective/liberty-stomping attempt at legislating morality by social conservatives.

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