Back in February, North Carolina began requiring drug tests for those who want to receive welfare.
It seems like a common sense policy, though admittedly there are decent arguments pro and con, both of which make sense from a fiscally conservative perspective. On one hand, nobody wants welfare dollars going towards drugs, nor do we want the State as an enabler. Getting them off the rolls would save the taxpayer money, and maybe even force them to get their own job.
On the other hand, drug tests cost money to administer. If only a small fraction of welfare recipients use drugs, then the cost of administering those tests could exceed the savings from kicking drug users off the rolls.
Liberals often make the argument that drug testing welfare recipients is a violation of privacy, but I don’t find this argument anywhere near as convincing. It’s our money we’re paying them – our rights matter too. I’d like to think there’s a right to not have my money taken from me by government and redistributed into drugs.
So what happens when States do drug test for welfare? When Florida adopted the practice, they found that there weren’t enough drug users among their welfare recipients to justify the cost of drug testing. But not all States are identical. States have welfare programs of differing generosity, different numbers of drug users, and drug users at different levels of the income ladder.
So what happened when North Carolina tried to practice? They had more success than they imagined. As the US Herald reported:
In North Carolina that progressive culture hasn’t yet reached lawmakers, where welfare applicants are required to take a drug screening test, in order to qualify for benefits.
And as suspected the results was eye-opening, in that approximately ¼ of all the applicants tested positive for drug use, or more precisely 21 out of 89 individuals tested positively for drugs and will no longer receive benefits.
Moreover those that test positive are required to pay back the state the $55 dollar testing fee, which actually acts a deterrent for those using drugs, in that over 70-applicants who were slated to take the drug test, never bothered to show up.
The drug testing is actually a part of a much wider program, designed to help low-income families into accessing paying jobs called “The Works First” program, however receiving government benefits should be predicated on one’s ability to work, and at the very minimum each state should require every childless and able-bodied individual to work for their benefits, at a state and or municipal job-site, at least a few hours a week.
Well, looks like its working for them!
Shouldn’t every State give this a try, and adopt such a policy if it works for their State? Let us know in the comments and share this post on Facebook and Twitter!