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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