Brian Boucher's"Welfare and Drugs" (Sun Advocate March 13) commentary is a classic example of a low information voter supporting the idea of using big government to combat federal programs which he hates, but someday may have to use. For some odd reason, social welfare draws the ire of his and Senator David Hinkins' ilk a lot more than the big government handouts that actually spend up the majority of what his tax dollars "finance."
First off, do some simple hypothetical math using the state of Florida (who has done the same) as an example. Pretend that the state of Utah drug tests 21,000 welfare recipients, and like Florida, 2 percent refuse, 2 percent fail, and 96 percent of them pass. The recipients have to pay for the cost of the test, and are reimbursed by the state should they fail. So 96 percent, or 20,160 people pass, and are reimbursed $32 each costing the state $645,120. The 420 failures, at a Florida average of $240 a month, end up saving the state a paltry $100,800. Now what would happen if they all bucked up like the rest of us working class, realize they must to pass a drug test, and the percentage dips below two percent? Or what if many appeal the test and tie up the courts with their cases? The fact is, the many states that have considered this program have quickly rejected it for practical and fiscal reasons. Some have gone as far as declaring the idea itself unconstitutional. With the ever looming problems we face, it just makes no sense to delve into this idiotic idea, especially from a moral standpoint. After all, you throw X amount of people through the holes of a safety net, they are going to become rather desperate and do whatever they have to do to fund their habit. This may include robbery, forgery, vagrancy, prostitution, homelessness, you name it. I'd much rather see the system be reformed by paying for one's living expenses instead of blanket cash withdrawals.
It makes one wonder that, if the "Big gubmn't Republicans" who are so quick to point the finger at the proletariots of society, are not able to do simple cost benefit analyzations, then why we are letting them, control our public policies and steer the dialogue of our debates? If someone "works and pays taxes" to finance a program they may someday have to use, why would their personal choices impede them from using that very benefit? By that theory, you would have to take a drug test to withdraw your SSI or 401 (k) come retirement age.
As for Brian's idea of adding nicotine testing for food stamp and WIC programs, I suggest the following options, the former the sensical and the latter the philosophical:.
First, get behind outlawing tobacco, nicotine, and alcohol, thereby saving the headache of testing downtrodden people for product(s) it is at present perfectly legal to use.
Or second instead of going after federal programs which are a minor percentage of what you pay into taxes, start looking at the root causes of our deficit: Unpaid for wars, a military industrial complex run amok, unending subsidized corporate welfare, and none other than our 43rd President.
Leave bizarro class welfare to the pundits on the Fox News channel, and let's everybody give David Hinkins a call and tell him what a dense idea this is.