Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Should we drug test food stamp recipients? 
According to an oh-so-unscientific Facebook poll, 93% of respondents say YES!!!

I say, BE CAREFUL!!!!!

This is an issue where conservatives should tread carefully. It's very easy to paint yourself into a corner here. For example, are we prepared to let children of casual pot-smokers starve because mom lit up a joint a week ago?


Are we then willing to throw these kids into the foster system the moment mom shows up hot on a piss test to collect her food stamps benefits? Maybe for crack or cocaine, sure. But marijuana? Is breaking up the family ALWAYS going to be the best thing for the children?


Then any conservative - or anyone else for that matter, who votes YES on this poll ought to be ready to give an answer: What are we going to do with food-stamp dependent children of casual pot users?

For drug users with no children? Hell with 'em. But for the ones with? Beware the law of unintended consequences.

Yes, I realize you need to pass a drug test to get a lot of jobs. But if I tested hot on a drug test, my prospective private-sector employer is just gong to deny me the job. Not break up my family.

Go VERY slowly here... and don't let politicians or anyone else demagogue this issue.

Splash, out


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I thnik the point to make is that if they have the money to buy illegal drugs then they have the money to by food and the taxpayers should not be subsidising their drug habit.
I don't know, half of me wants to say that food shouldn't be a tool for nanny-state control of hungry individuals, no matter how big of a failure they are at life. The other half says that life-failure ought to have consequences, and relying on government handouts ought by rights to come with a certain submission to paternalistic supervision.

If you submit to being a ward of the state, you can't complain about being treated like a child - in a certain real way, you have agreed to do so.
Sure, life failure should have consequences. But for whom?

I would posit that the children of these casual drug users may have enough problems of their own. Any tying of WIC or food stamp benefits to drug test results would fall heavily on them.

If we're willing to throw them into foster care over the issue, fine. But I think kids who have functional pot-smoking parents are better off at home than they would be in the foster system. Particularly girls.

My point is that it's not the knee-jerk issue too many conservatives think it ought to be.
You're absolutely correct Jason. This is not the simple issue that anyone would consider.

I would posit that Summit and Portage counties in Ohio have come up with something that could possibly be a somewhat solution. (I can't speak to the rest of Ohio, and I only have experience with those counties. These programs were run at the county level, so I'm not sure if this was a state stipulation or a county one.) For a short time I was forced to go to WIC until DD1 was born. Their solution was to have food items delivered directly to the recipient. Every other week, I had a box of food delivered to my front door. Each delivery would have different food items, all meeting the minimum requirements for pregnant women as set by the FDA.

I think this is a fairly decent solution to a very difficult issue. The food is there for the children. No more seeing individuals in stores buying malt liquor from rolls of money, while using food stamps (debit cards, coupons, whatever) to buy junk foods that have no nutritional value to a child. It takes the money issue out of the equation. Because, we have to face the fact that these type of individuals will not put buying food before getting their next fix.
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