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Drug Testing for Welfare Essay

As of today, over sixteen percent of Americans are receiving some form of welfare benefits. “Welfare is classified as a statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need”: Welfare is provided by the government, both state and federal. (http://dictionary.com/browse/welfare) The government receives the money from the taxpayers in order to support welfare recipients. Tax payers are the working class. Seventy-five percent of citizens that are among the social class, also known as the working class, are required to take pre-employment drug screening. When citizens receive welfare; however, they are not required to take drug screenings, even though they receive the funds from the government. Drug tests for welfare recipients will be one way to start saving money in this country.

Many people today are arguing whether this move towards making drug testing a requirement to receive welfare benefits is unjust or not. This argument is based on the fourth amendment which states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment)

Is it unjust to make the working class take pre-employment drug testing? No, so how is it unjust to require welfare recipients to take drug tests. The working class pays taxes. Those taxes go to the government. The government then budgets for the funds to go towards programs such as welfare. Many people would argue that not all people on welfare are “playing” the system, but in life, it’s not all people that are the ones to take advantage of things. The government currently uses the method of don’t ask about drug usage, welfare recipients don’t tell about drug usage. However, as many people have said over centuries of time, “one bad apple ruins the bunch.”

Statistics from 2010 state that over 533 billion dollars a year is spent on welfare recipients (Dustin 1). Welfare recipients receive services such as the food stamp program, medical assistance, and cell phone assistance. Currently, the United States of America is 15.8 trillion dollars in debt (debt clock). If the government started requiring drug testing for welfare recipients, analysts say that the savings in one year would be approximately be nine million dollars (Delaney 1).

Many people feel that by drug testing welfare recipients, this is stereotyping, saying that all poor people, or the needy, are on drugs, but by no means is that the case. If the working class has to take a drug tests to obtain employment and pay taxes, why does someone receiving government money, not have too? With those recipients who do pass the drug testing, there is no harm done. Those who fail the drug screening are only required to wait one month, thirty days, till they can reapply. People also feel that if a recipient fails the tests, then he or she should be responsible to pay for the cost. This would help with savings also. Why should the government give out to those people who are not willing to help themselves?

Some people say that this is a violation of their personal rights. Others say that the cost of testing recipients is just far too much. Some also argue that “people who are addicted to drugs need help. The moral ting to do is try and get them help in order to prevent them from doing further harm either to themselves or others” (Walters 1). However, testing would only cost approximately twenty-five to thirty-five dollars per recipient.

Even if recipients are not tested in the beginning before receiving the welfare benefits, the government should have the right to require then recipients to take randomized drug tests if drugs are suspected. On average, recipients of welfare benefits receive more funds in a year than a first year salaried teacher, which is approximately over 42,300 dollars. Also, why is it that the working class should be required to take pre-drug screenings, yet welfare recipients who are on drugs need help and the moral thing to do is to help them. No, I feel that the moral thing for them to do is to get off of the drugs.

Drug testing welfare recipients should be required in all fifty states in the United States of America, especially since the benefits recipients receive are from both federal and state government. Those recipients that pass the test there is no harm done, and those who fail will be required to wait one month until being able to reapply. Drug testing is required in the work force. There is no difference. This establishes a precedent that in order to receive money from an employer or from the government, that they have the right to test the potential employee and beneficent. Over the course of one year, this would save the United States of America nine million dollars.


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