Miguided Welfare Recipient Drug Testing

Popular Facebook "Meme" Advocating for Welfare Recipient Drug Testing

Popular Facebook “Meme” Advocating for Welfare Recipient Drug Testing

How did you parse the title of this post? Did you apply the adjective “misguided” to “welfare recipient”? Or did you apply it to “welfare recipient drug testing”?

It’s funny how we always hear about government being too big, about how we need to get government out of our personal lives, and how the government wastes so much money on useless or inefficient programs. Except, apparently, when it comes to intensely private matters like love, marriage, birth control, and, if you’re poor (financially speaking), testing for illegal drug use.

The typical argument, in favor of testing welfare recipients, is that it’s all about saving money and/or helping these poor (i.e., misguided) poor (financially speaking) people get the counseling they need. But that logic simply does not hold up to facts.

First of all, actual experience suggests that this type of testing costs more than it saves.

Further, if welfare recipient drug testing is really motivated by concern for individuals, why not test anyone who gets a government grant for anything? I’ll bet we could flush out a few illegal drug users among the officers and board members of companies that have taken tax breaks, subsidies, or other government benefits. No doubt we could do the same with college students that have taken government backed loans or scholarships. Wouldn’t we be just as benevolent by helping these poor (i.e., misguided) not-so-poor (financially speaking) people?

The truth is, the adjective “misguided” applies to folks advocating for this type of testing.

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