Looks like Florida's program to drug test welfare recipients will save the state $40thousand to $98thousand a year, not including cost of administering the program, at a cost of only $178million. tbo.com
This has nothing to do with Florida governor Rick Scott's shadow-ownership of the major drug testing company in Florida.
Republicans are against government intrusion into people's private lives. This is not an intrusion into anyone's private life, either.
I think it's pretty blatantly classist to employ drug testing in such a selective manner. This type of law assumes that the only people that receive government money are the poor when, in fact, there is a large amount of money going out the door in oil subsidies, farm subsidies, business "incentives", tax breaks to the ultra wealthy to "create jobs", etc.
Let's not forget that there is also non-cash governmental funding in the form of free schooling for our children, free police protection, the court system (which the wealthy and corporations benefit more greatly from), fire protection, military protection, etc.
If we are going to really drug test people who receive "hand-outs" from the government, shouldn't we be testing pretty much every US citizen rather than just the poorest ones? The problem is that some people assume that poor = drugs. Coincidentally, I would think you'd find a fairly large number of drug abusers among the wealthy (i.e. musicians, actors, executives). We all pretty much know that Bill Maher smokes pot, but he recieves a substantial tax break because of how much money he makes. Documents coming out of Enron showed an environment of drug use among upper management as part of the "fast" lifestyle. I could go on...
In general, while I am willing to pay taxes to fund a welfare safety net, I am much less willing to pay for a welfare feather bed. The worry of large scale drugs testing is always Quis custodiet ipsos custodes : it adds another layer of bureaucracy.
Your first paragraph touches on an excellent point. As you pointed out, subsidies to various sectors are considered welfare. So yes, in turn, there should be a way to make this applicable to the corporations and sectors that receive government funding. However, a lot of those sectors are established, usually providing significant monetary returns. And I think that's the significant difference between private sectors and private, impoverished individuals.
Furthermore, you'd have to provide a significant amount of statistics to show drug use within sectors. On the contrary, drug use statistics are based on the class systems and illicit drug use is statistically higher in the poor, so it only makes sense to issue drug tests, especially if we all want to see returns and an elevation of the poor to a higher income bracket.
This is a really clever allegory - I like it!
Oh, so do you get drug tested? I would hope so since you get some sort of "handout" from the government, whether it be tax credits, subsidized student loan interest, etc. I'm sure we can find something that you receive from our tax dollars that you should be tested for.
I think you're missing the point. It's not correct to think that receiving free welfare is the same as receiving a loan. In fact, they're 2 totally different beasts. And I assume your definition of 'handout' is equivalent to free.
Welfare handouts are free to these individuals. They don't have to be paid back. Loans accumulate interest and it gets compounded. Sure, I get assistance, but it's assistance for an otherwise unaffordable endeavor for many. However, the government will not only get the money paid back + interest (including Sallie Mae before the government took over in July of 2010), but they'll also see a return investment when I get done with residency. So I will be putting back into the system at my OWN expense, all-the-while throughout school as well.
A tax credit isn't a handout. It's a deduction from your income based on criteria you've met, ie donation of clothes or books, money to charities, etc... Again, not a handout, but a deduction of your taxes.
Like I stated, welfare is implemented as assistance. With the assistance, you are expected to provide a return. It's similar to an investment and we Americans are investing in our poor so that there is an opportunity to make life easier for themselves.
And yes, I can get randomly drug tested at any time by the hospital and I've already had to do a criminal background check a while ago, along with a statement from my local police department.
A couple of things. First of all, Stafford (or government "subsidized" loans) are, in fact, a handout. Loans normally accumulate interest. Government-subsidized loans do not because the government pays the loan interest for free while you are in school. Therefore, it's a "handout".
A tax credit is not the same as a deduction. If you have $0 income taxes in a given year, a credit would give you money back. Therefore, tax credits (i.e. earned income credit, child tax credit, etc) are handounts.
When you really think about it, though, nothing is a government handout since we all pay in via taxes. We all pay school taxes (if we own property), sales taxes (which is a regressive tax), income taxes (although some get the whole of their income taxes back). Welfare is not all that different from other kinds of government programs from which we all benefit. We look down our noses at welfare recipients, though, because of an innate classism that exists in most of our minds, that somehow being poor is the fault of laziness or the like.