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PUBLIC OPINION > Welfare Recipients Should Take Drug Tests

News 2012/04/23 23:00:00
Georgia recently became the third state to require drug testing for welfare recipients. Michigan passed a similar law, but it was ruled unconstitutional in 2003. Florida also passed a law, but federal lawsuits are holding it up in court. Opponent organizations like the ACLU are already threatening to take action against Georgia's law, set to go into effect on July 1, but we wanted to know how the public feels about it.



Despite legal complications in the past, the vast majority of voters are fine with the drug tests. In fact, they think it's a good idea. It's easy to read the law as an attack on benefits in general, but most people agree it's a fair measure that private employers use all the time. The Top Opinion wrote, "I have to take random tests to receive my paycheck. Why can't welfare recipients do the same to get their paycheck?"

Leniency From the Left

Progressives and liberals were two of the only demographics to side against the measure. It might seem odd that government intervention would be embraced by the right and rejected by the left, but welfare is already a relatively liberal concept, and some see the test as a way of scaling back government aid. Plus, liberal note that welfare can be issued in the form of food stamps. However, moderates mostly sided with conservatives on this one.

No Complaints From the Unemployed

Surprisingly enough, unemployed voters agreed with the majority -- 77% of them think welfare applicants should be tested for drug use. Granted, it would only affect unemployed people who also do drugs, but it was an interesting statistic nonetheless. Part-time workers seemed a lot more concerned about it. Maybe because they aren't job hunting...

Smokers Sign Off

Obviously, we can't ask users if they do drugs. The closest thing we can come to is inquiring about legal substance use -- smokers and drinkers, in particular. Maybe they're a little more likely to empathize with addiction. But here, too, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of Georgia's laws. It's not looking good for drug addicts on welfare.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about drug testing and welfare. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • lonewolf 2012/04/23 23:48:27
    lonewolf
    +14
    yes they should. people have to be drug tested to get a job and some have random drug test to keep a job. i know some people need welfare and i have no problem with that. but you have those that are just to damn lazy to work and that's the problem.

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  • Grammar... Michaelene 2012/05/01 23:36:53
    Grammar Freak
    Look, I have three points to make.
    1) Though it is not right for anyone to take money from us to use for what we feel are inappropriate things, those few people on welfare who do that are not worth our time financially. This is not a huge problem in comparison to the amounts taken from us fraudulently by the wealthy. We should be prioritizing going after the big money crooks first, from a prudent standpoint. This way does not in any way help anyone & it is costing us more for the program than we're saving, therefore in the end it will likely increase your taxes. Those drug users forced off the programs instantly become desperate, causing crime to increase which therefore causes taxes to increase due to need for more police. So there's the financial side.

    2) When a genuinely poor person steals from me, it really pisses me off. However, when a rich person steals from me, it's more than that. It's a feeling of powerlessness, of helplessness, of loss of my liberty. They don't need my money. They don't use it for anything they couldn't otherwise buy on their own. They can afford to live just fine on their own, but they choose not to. They can take my money to use for ANOTHER house, ANOTHER car, ANOTHER holiday, ANOTHER bottle of champagne, etc. The poor person can get him...&&&&&&

    &&
    &
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    &
    Look, I have three points to make.
    1) Though it is not right for anyone to take money from us to use for what we feel are inappropriate things, those few people on welfare who do that are not worth our time financially. This is not a huge problem in comparison to the amounts taken from us fraudulently by the wealthy. We should be prioritizing going after the big money crooks first, from a prudent standpoint. This way does not in any way help anyone & it is costing us more for the program than we're saving, therefore in the end it will likely increase your taxes. Those drug users forced off the programs instantly become desperate, causing crime to increase which therefore causes taxes to increase due to need for more police. So there's the financial side.

    2) When a genuinely poor person steals from me, it really pisses me off. However, when a rich person steals from me, it's more than that. It's a feeling of powerlessness, of helplessness, of loss of my liberty. They don't need my money. They don't use it for anything they couldn't otherwise buy on their own. They can afford to live just fine on their own, but they choose not to. They can take my money to use for ANOTHER house, ANOTHER car, ANOTHER holiday, ANOTHER bottle of champagne, etc. The poor person can get himself & his family food, shelter, clothing, utilities & yeah, alcohol, tobacco & maybe even drugs. The poor person didn't strip me of my power. The wealthy person did because he paid for the legislation that allowed him to take a certain percentage of my money every month/year in order to give him a second portion of everything. It is the way the taxpayer can pay for investments instead of the owner. He gets to keep his money & spend it on what he chooses, while the taxpayer buys his business seed, new drills, buildings, chemicals or expansion in whatever direction instead of him buying it & only doing what he can afford like everyone else. That is fleecing of the nation. It's a bigger fish & it needs to be focused on... not some struggling families who don't have a pot to piss in without government help. I don't want those who don't need my money to take it so that they can have seconds. It is morally more reprehensible to me. At least the poor person is genuinely poor. I can at least say what he takes is somehow less disgusting. So, there's the moral/emotional aspect.

    3) This is the most important of the three. If we do not like the welfare laws, we can change them. We have the power if we are willing to use it. That means being involved in the political goings on on the state & local level. It means hiring the people who have the same ideas as you for state & local positions.
    If you do not agree with the federal policies regarding welfare, you have to hire state Congressmen/women who agree with you & write to them to tell them so.
    However, when government spends taxpayer money to search a person's body & seize his/her bodily fluids/substances, we are allowing/encouraging the government to usurp our 4th Constitutional Amendment right to protection from those actions. The government does not suspect the recipient of anything, therefore has no right to search him/her or to seize his/her bodily fluids/substances. There is no warrant. This is government we're talking about here. This program instantly searches a portion of the general population without a warrant or probable cause (suspicion of having committed a crime). So by encouraging this program, we are voting in yet another usurp of the Constitution. Where will it end? When will we stop voting to take our protections away? Two wrongs do not make a right. This is just wrong. Why would anyone do that? We cannot blame government for usurping our protections when we encourage them to do so. When we lose a right or protection of it, it is next to impossible to get back.
    Do you realize what sort of message we send to government when we encourage them to usurp the Constitution... & we'll even pay for the program that does it? Do you understand what we're telling them??
    (more)
  • Michaelene Grammar... 2012/05/02 13:19:50
    Michaelene
    I think this program will help prevent the drugs user from wanting to jump in line for more freebies. Where I live there is a huge amount of welfare fraud and many of those are not poor, they just need to show a legal income.
    With the average recipient receiving 27k in benefits, it is not a tiny amount of money considering the 46 million on assistance.

    It's become so outrageous that my boys have been mocked by others for working minimum wage jobs when they'd get so much more if on the dole.
    I ask them how much their self respect is worth?
  • Grammar... Michaelene 2012/05/02 17:43:25
    Grammar Freak
    Don't you get it?
    Any little bit of good that it might possibly do is not worth the destruction that it will do!!
    The program usurps our constitutional protections. The program will also cost the taxpayer more than it will save (as exampled in FL) because the number of drug using welfare recipients is lower than the average general population.
    So who cares if someone learns some sort of lesson or not? It isn't our job to pay to teach everyone lessons in life! We already provide them a living. I don't want to pay to teach them as well.

    What is it with you?
    You like the government's hands in your wallet?

    You sound like a German to me. They love all the governmental interference in their lives & they love to pay taxes.
  • Michaelene Grammar... 2012/05/10 15:46:51
    Michaelene
    Wow! I have never heard that before. What does a German sound like?

    I see this as a way to reduce the applicants for welfare just to "get theirs"
  • Grammar... Michaelene 2012/05/10 19:38:32
    Grammar Freak
    I believe I explained what a German sounds like in my last post.

    But usurping The Constitution is NEVER good... under ANY circumstances.

    You STILL don't get it?
    The Constitution is there to protect our liberties, our rights. You want to usurp it because you think that the procedure might save a few ducats. Well, Florida has proven that it costs more than it saves.
    Don't you understand basic math?
    If you save $2 but you had to spend $6, you didn't save anything!
    ...plus, you want to encourage the government to usurp The Constitution. You are willing to give up YOUR right to protection against illegal search & seizure by the government when you allow the government to illegally search & seize someone else.

    Logic, Sister, logic.
    Unless you are willing to go to the FEMA camps, you can't be willing to send any of the rest of your fellow countrymen/women there either.

    The government won't stop at just this group or that group, or for this process or that process. If you encourage & allow the government to usurp The Constitution for one, then you'd better be willing to allow it to usurp it for you, too... in EVERY case & EVERY instance.

    Once a right is gone, it's nearly impossible to get it back again.
  • Michaelene Grammar... 2012/05/11 22:32:20
    Michaelene
    I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Unfortunately there are MANY who are abusing our system and it's not just the applicants.

    With the national average of $27,000 in benefits, any reduction in the number of applicants may just pay off in time. It is too quick to judge the merits of this program and I am sure if it is not worth it, it will end.
  • Grammar... Michaelene 2012/05/12 18:44:37
    Grammar Freak
    If it usurps The Constitution, it has zero merits.
  • Michaelene Grammar... 2012/05/12 20:54:48
    Michaelene
    The majority of American workers are subjected to random drug tests for safety in employment purposes why should those who are unemployed not subject to the same requirements?
    How are they supposed to obtain a job?
    Those who don't want to work due to choosing drug use, won't apply.
  • Michaelene Grammar... 2012/05/14 21:44:53
    Michaelene
    How will they get a job if they don't talk a drug test like the majority of Americans?
  • Grammar... Michaelene 2012/05/15 20:37:13
    Grammar Freak
    So what?
    The majority of welfare recipients who took the test passed it. The number of welfare recipients who failed was miniscule. The taxpayers paid for the tests. The amount of money saved was less than the cost of the tests.
    What is it you aren't connecting here? Drug testing welfare recipients costs more than just letting the few who use drugs receive the benefits.

    They took the test. They passed. The taxpayers paid... again.
    More of your money given to & spent by the government.

    That's what you want?
    You want the government to take more of your money so that it can remove benefits from a relative handful of people?
    You're out of your mind.


    Can we end this conversation yet?
  • Michaelene Grammar... 2012/05/16 16:35:13
    Michaelene
    Since you know so much about this topic I should ask you if applications have declined.
  • Grammar... Michaelene 2012/05/16 17:55:48
    Grammar Freak
    What a ridiculous thing to say.

    Go read a book. Learn how to think.
  • Michaelene Grammar... 2012/05/16 18:06:01
    Michaelene
    Forget it, you just don't get it. People are out to "get theirs".
    fraud is rampant and systemic.
    The money is not there, on that we agree.
  • Bella 2012/04/25 09:18:26
    Bella
    +4
    I think it's going to cost more than its going to save in cutting some people's aid. What I don't understand is that there are a lot of posts by people on here that think an individual can "live on welfare." People here that think that people can stay on welfare indefinitely and that people can afford to buy fancy electronics, neither is true.
  • VERYwis... Bella 2012/04/25 20:25:14
    VERYwiseguy
    +4
    It's usually only 2 yrs. and you must get training ,school etc...5yrs. is the max.since the 1996 welfare reform.
  • stl.sha... VERYwis... 2012/04/26 14:09:01
    stl.shamrock
    +3
    It depends on the type of assistance a person is receiving. I know, in Iowa, a first time, low-income mother can get FIP for 5 years. It's not a lot, but it helps. During that time, in order to keep receiving it, they have to either be working, actively looking for work, or be in college full time in a approved degree program. I think that's more than fair.

    However, there are a few people I've known who have cheated the system to get a "crazy check" (their words, not mine). They are on Disability / SSI and getting about $700 a month. They get free medication, which can be sold for more money. I'm not saying everyone cheats to get on this program, but it seems there's enough to warrant an attempt at curbing the issue.

    Personally, instead of money (which can be misused) why not setup more daycare, housing, training centers, food banks, etc. for low income people / families? Help those actively wanting to work or better themselves instead of just giveing someone a handout. You know the old saying about "Teach a man to fish..." It works in real life too.
  • VERYwis... stl.sha... 2012/04/26 17:50:51
    VERYwiseguy
    +1
    Sounds fine by me.A person I knew worked the housing for section 8 and did inspections she commented on how some,but not many would have very low rent after being on a waiting list for years and get evicted for failure to pay.I guess it comes with the territory of types of people you would be more likely to deal with in those situations.
  • stl.sha... VERYwis... 2012/04/26 21:42:33
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    A friend of mine, and her 2 kids, were in Section 8 housing while taking classes for a better career. She did well for 3 months or so, then blew off paying her percentage of the rent. I warned her, "Pay it or they will kick you out." She blew me off too and said, "I've got kids... They won't kick us out."

    Guess what? The end of that month she still hadn't paid and was served eviction papers. I almost laughed because she deserved it.

    I can only hope the next people that got a shot at that housing paid up every month. Assistance is out there for those that want / need it.
  • VERYwis... stl.sha... 2012/04/27 06:54:01
    VERYwiseguy
    +1
    No they don't play anymore the Welfare Queen imo is a thing of the past generations of families would collect before reform.But like anything some are bad apples spoiling it for those that really need help. And today it's quite easy for anyone to get in a situation they never thought could happen to them.
  • stl.sha... VERYwis... 2012/04/27 12:32:14
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    I agree completely. I'm like many others; one check away from "poverty". If I lost my job, right now, I'd have some quick decisions to make. My son could stay with his grandparents for awhile. I'd probably sleep in a shelter or with friends until things got better. I won't ask for "government" assistance. I got food stamps for a couple of months, about 5 years ago. Not doing it again.

    I've gotten used to the feeling I get from giving to charity. Taking from one would be a nasty shot to my pride.
  • Michaelene stl.sha... 2012/05/01 22:28:28
    Michaelene
    After reading your post i started to count the number of people that I personally know who are set up collecting "crazy checks" and so are their children when they come of age. I just got disgusted and gave up.
    The wait list in Philly for Section 8 housing is not very long and the majority of tenants who apply for my rental properties are section 8 recipients.
  • stl.sha... Michaelene 2012/05/02 02:20:40
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    I used to be a property manager for an apartment complex in Missouri. We would not allow Section 8 (by order of the property owner). There was a credit check and if your credit wasn't good enough, you needed a co-signer on the lease.
  • Michaelene stl.sha... 2012/05/02 13:28:06
    Michaelene
    +1
    There's been a huge building boom in Philly for HUD homes and public housing. These new homes with lawns, garages, central air, hardwood floors and private community centers are gorgeous. A middle class family would have to pay 300k+ to buy one while the majority live there for free. These developments are made possible due to the enormous amount of money given to them from the stimulus package. Not too many people know that the bailouts including bailing out the HUD programs in dozens of states and not one has repaid the money.
  • stl.sha... Michaelene 2012/05/02 15:58:28
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    Well, then... Here I am working 50+ hours a week and doing what I can to pay bills and save a little to buy a better house. Maybe I should move to Philly. Nah. I like the feeling I get after the bills are paid and I take my son out for pizza, knowing I worked hard for his happiness.
  • Michaelene stl.sha... 2012/05/10 16:05:51
    Michaelene
    +1
    Amen! There is no price that can be placed upon "reaping what you sow".
    Having just visited a historic Shaker settlement I was inspired by two quotes used often on their craftwork.
    "Do your work as though you had a thousand years to live and as if you were to die tomorrow."
    "Put your hands to work, and your heart to God."
  • stl.sha... Michaelene 2012/05/02 16:00:21
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    By the way, a buddy of mine recently moved back home to PA, somewhere close to Philly. He keeps telling me I need to take a road trip out there. Only problem I have is: I work too much and don't have enough vacation saved up for a decent trip.
  • Michaelene stl.sha... 2012/05/10 16:07:59
    Michaelene
    +1
    Yes, that is a dilemma. I hope you can one day visit the area. There are so many wonderful and historic places to see. to help plan your trip go to www.visitpa.com
  • stl.sha... Michaelene 2012/05/11 11:30:12
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    My buddy was born and raised in PA so he's been feeding me places I "have to hit" while there. (Gino's is his top tourist spot... He knows me and my love of food. haha!)
  • Michaelene stl.sha... 2012/05/11 22:33:48
    Michaelene
    In Philly, cheesesteaks rule lol
  • SoCal71 2012/04/25 05:09:00 (edited)
    SoCal71
    +4
    Liberals will do anything to get over on the American public. I can hear their excuse, "Tyrone needs cocaine, it' keeps him motivated and concentrated on finding work... and the heroin is to help slow down his concentration and put him to sleep at night and the weed is for his cataracts so he can see the application for employment.

    Under Obama more people are on some type of government assistance than every before.
  • Grammar... SoCal71 2012/04/29 20:08:56
    Grammar Freak
    Sure. Of course they are.
    Because Bush drove nails into our nation's coffin durring his 8 years.

    Come on.
    Obama's policies have failed, but they were basically just exactly what Bush laid out. The only reason Republicans don't like Obama is that he's got a D in front of his name instead of an R... because that really is the only difference I see between him & Shrubby. Neither has any respect for our nation's constitution. Neither has any idea what the hell to do as President of our nation. Neither has ever had any SUCCESSFUL leadership experience... Bush drove every company he ever ran directly into the groun (& did so with the USA as well) while Obama just simply had no experience leading a damned thing (& it shows).

    Yes, the nation's in a great big mess... brought on, in large part, because of Bush's policies & his ever-so-cooperative Congress. Our situation hasn't really improved a great deal because of Obama's failings... & his ever-so-uncooperative Congress.

    Ron Paul 2012... because we need someone in the White House who understands the job & is qualified to do it.
  • sarah 2012/04/25 03:37:44
    sarah
    +2
    Yes I think they should be drug tested but I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to the children who's parents can't receive welfare because they can't pass a drug test, not that they should be living with parents on drugs but what will happen to them?
  • D D sarah 2012/04/25 08:50:02
    D D
    +3
    What happens to them is they don't get the benefits anyway because it is being spent on drugs or tattoos. Not actually caring for the children.
  • jackie D D 2012/04/25 13:40:08
  • sarah D D 2012/04/25 20:32:33
    sarah
    +1
    What happens if the parents don't pass the drug test I know they are denied benefits but would the children be put in to foster care or something because the parents tested positive or would they just go on living with their drug using parents and continue to be neglected?
  • D D sarah 2012/04/25 21:35:37
    D D
    +1
    Good question. I think they would go inspect the home, kids and see. make a decision. I have no love for CPS or social workers,
  • Kdog McPot 2012/04/25 03:37:11
    Kdog McPot
    +6
    Here's the problem with America. Nobody knows how to mind their own fugging business. If it doesn't hurt you or somebody you love .......Mind your own business and worry about yourself.
  • D D Kdog McPot 2012/04/25 08:56:50
    D D
    +4
    I do agree with that people are into each others business. I feel these people have brought us into their lives because it is my money they are spending.
  • Grammar... D D 2012/04/29 20:12:52
    Grammar Freak
    So, let me get this straight:
    You think that expanding government's reach into individuals' private lives, spending millions more than they save & causing even more problems for children who already have enough problems, is somehow an improvement or is somehow a good thing.

    Ummmm....
    All I can say is that I vehemently disagree.
  • D D Grammar... 2012/04/29 20:37:44
    D D
    btyu

    We are paying for their career. The least we could hope for is we aren't paying for drugs too.

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