Welfare supporters are up in arms about the recent trend in several states, where public assistance recipients are required to pass a drug test to stay aboard the benefits bus, and now they’re tossing around a bunch of grossly inaccurate statistics, which they say prove the policy has been an epic failure. Their fabricated facts are also used to bolster their argument that drug testing stigmatized poor people and that tests are more of a financial drain for states than just shelling out the cash.
According to the progressive liberal news source Think Progress, less than one half of one percent of Tennesseans who applied for public assistance flunked a drug test in the first six months of the state’s experiment with drug screenings for welfare recipients, which allegedly pales in comparison to Tennessee’s 8 percent of residents that admit to some form of drug use in the state. Keep in mind that these are people that admitted to use, not tested positive for it. Only a foolish person would think that all these admitted users would test positive if they were aware of an upcoming drug test. Using these comparative rates, the article makes the bold claim that states that implement drug tests for low-income families have found that “economically vulnerable” people are less likely than the general population to use drugs.
The glaring flaw in their supposed findings is that not all welfare recipients were tested, in fact only a small fraction of benefactors were, and they were only chosen to pee in a cup based on their answers to a written questionnaire about drug use. From small testing numbers come small results, which is how they concluded that just 0.2 percent of applicants tested positive. That’s all applicants, not all persons tested. 13 percent of the 279 actually tested were positive for drug use, which is much higher than the state average of 8 percent.
It also shouldn’t be assumed that those who are asked about their illicit drug use are truthful either. Drug users rarely come clean about being “dirty.” Welfare users and abusers, picked from failing some vague questionnaire, have a second opportunity to hide their use when it comes time to taking the urinalysis. Users are pretty wise when it comes to preparing to pass a drug test, especially if it means they get to keep the free money rolling in. What good is “reported use” in claiming something as a fact when the information comes from dishonest drug users?
The article also cites a statistic out of Utah, which notes that the state spent $30,000 on tests that caught just 12 drug users to make the point that the tests cost more than the benefits. However, the average rate in total benefits families receive in several states ranges from $20,000 per year up to $49,000 per year. If states were to kick just one welfare glutton off the program for abusing drugs on the taxpayer’s dime, that would pay for all the test in a single year.
Leave it to the left to wrap up the whining with the ultimate issue of all — that testing humiliates poor people, who are forced to pee in a cup just because they can’t pay for food. They also claim that it’s unfair to assume that if you’re poor you’re using drugs or more susceptible to drug use. If you’re not using drugs, then you have nothing to worry about, so what if someone has to show up at a facility once every few months to test, when they get $800 or more a month in food stamps alone. Nothing is free, even if it requires ten minutes of time, that’s a small price to pay for a much larger return on the time investment. After all, taxpayers who foot the bill and pee in a cup for their employment don’t get anything in return for paying others’ way, other than a lighter wallet.
—Courtesy of Mad World News