A friend of mine recently raised, what I thought to be, a very good question. Why is it that so many honest, hard-working Americans are subjected to pre-employment and/or random drug-screenings by their employers and yet no such requirements exist for people to collect welfare benefits?
As of the date of the most comprehensive statistics I could find (without looking too hard,) Michigan is the only state in the U.S. that requires ‘suspiscionless’ drug-testing for all welfare recipients. The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 granted all states the right to choose drug-screening as a requirement for welfare applicants; Michigan is just the only state to act on that power.
Most arguments against drug-screening (of any kind) are based around the Fourth Amendment’s references to unreasonable search and seizure. I am not usually one to go against those standing behind our Bill of Rights but here I think the document is being used in the wrong context.
We want to prevent the government from imposing such ‘searches and seizures’ in any form, including drug-testing, when it is a violation of our rights as citizens of the United States. As far as I am concerned, welfare benefits are a privilege our humble tax dollars should afford to a select, deserving few.
I know that welfare regulation is not such a cut-and-dry matter but mandatory drug-testing, even on the tax-payer’s dime, for all welfare applicants seems like a logical starting point. Why should the very people supporting those on welfare be powerless to the fact that their money is perpetuating the cycle of drug-abuse that prevents the poor, huddled masses from getting a good job because the company performs pre-employment drug-screenings?
Obviously the private sector has found a far better way of regulating to whom they will be giving their money. Afterall, that is the crux of the issue; it is their money. The government blows through our tax dollars faster than, well… faster than a welfare supported drug-addict on the first of the month.
We, as voting citizens, need to make our voices heard and prevent abuse of our massively over-burdened welfare system with one very simple, logical step: stop our money from being wasted on drugs. It isn’t the ultimate solution but it is a solution nonetheless.