Last year, the Georgia Department of Labor started encouraging employers to report job applicants that fail their drug test. Because the unemployed love to spend what little money they have on drugs. This scheme to get out of paying unemployment insurance has netted exactly one report. Just one job applicant who failed the burdensome pee-in-a-cup test and who is now no longer receiving unemployment.
Georgia is just one of the states to jump on the punish-the-poor bandwagon via drug testing, though the data does not indicate that the poor or unemployed are any more likely to take drugs than the affluent. But that doesn’t matter when ALEC mandates that its followers get these laws on the books. In February of last year, Congress told states to go ahead and pass these bills, despite criticism. But I guess a little criticism is easy to take when one is being adequately compensated by the richest citizens in the country. I don’t know about you but I am tired of ALEC passing laws through their sock puppets.
Even though these programs are not turning up the vast numbers of drug-addled slackers that those who proposed them were hoping, other states are pushing them. Texas governor Rick Perry has asked his legislature to pass a law that not only drug tests the unemployed but also those who apply for food stamps. Nevermind that the only other state that tried that came up empty-handed. Florida’s drug testing program of welfare beneficiaries came up a big goose egg while wasting state money. A GOP state senator in Arkansas filed a bill last month that would test the unemployed and Wyoming is considering one.
All of this made-up consternation over imagined lazy, druggie slackers taking government benefits isn’t just a coincidence. As I mentioned before, there is a method to this madness and it is the American Legislative Exchange Council. Their policy writers have been busy writing and providing these bills for their GOP minions for a couple of years now. Despite that pesky Fourth Amendment, they continue to push this agenda. Critics have pointed out the obvious bias in testing only the poorest and most desperate who rely on government programs as opposed to other recipients (subsidies, anyone?).
As for Georgia and its witch hunt, as one worker advocate called it, it is a failure. Every unemployment office in every state has a tip line. If a potential employer feels strongly about an applicant for any reason, they can contact them that way. It’s already in place, doesn’t cost any extra and is anonymous. There is no need to spend extra money on such a program while simultaneously stigmatizing those who are already victims of our economy. Unless, of course, officials are bowing down to a master other than the Constitution in the form of a cabal of very rich men who seek to enslave the government to their agenda. They’re actually doing a pretty good job of it so far, sadly.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…