Jonathon Walters author of “Should Welfare Recipients be Drug Tested?” published an article on March 13, 2012 for Governing: The State and Localities that provided readers with several points of interest when discussing drug testing welfare recipients. Walters states in his article “According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost two dozen states are considering bills that require drug testing those either applying for or receiving public benefits, a policy that has been cut down in the courts before because the Fourth Amendment grants that every individual “be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” (Should Welfare Recipients be Drug Tested? para 1.) This paragraph explains that states are having difficulty passing this bill because the government feels that it violates American’s 4th amendment.
Walters brings up arguments from both a favoring side and an opposing side. Favoring sides would not want to give someone government benefits if they are using the benefits to support a drug habit and could save the government money by denying applicants. The opposing side feels that drug testing would come to a great expense to the government and rather than drug testing an individual who needs help because of their drug addiction other programs such as rehab would save money to local, state and federal governments. The author feels that both are good arguments.
To further continue on the opposing side of drug testing welfare recipients; Walters explains that “Drug testing is expensive. Tests cost anywhere from $35 to $75 to administer, according to the liberal-leaning Center for Law and Public Policy. By their math, it would cost anywhere from $20,000 to $77,000 to catch one drug abuser.” (Should Welfare Recipients be Drug Tested? para. 4). On the favoring side legislators have a different calculation and use evidence that biometric screenings such as finger printing lower numbers of participation among welfare recipients. States that do not participate in finger printing have more people applying for welfare. Walters feels that this would be a “cynical” way of lowering costs. Opposing sides also feel by isolating those who are at risk, for example ex-felons may lead them down a wrong path again because applying for welfare is much harder, therefore, costing the government more money by putting them back in jail and providing them with treatment.
Walters asks how will the government determine who receives welfare and how do we make sure that the wrong person doesn’t receive it? Technology will help determine that mistakes won’t be made. “The public, in general, supports providing help to those who really need it. In that regard, states and localities are developing much more precise tools — mostly thanks to improved information technology — to ensure that only those who qualify for benefits receive them (and, not incidentally, to ensure that those providing services aren’t gaming the system).” (Should Welfare Recipients be Drug Tested? para. 8).
Overall, Jonathon Walters remains neutral throughout the article and provides detailed rebuttals for both opposing and favoring sides. He agreed that both sides had good arguments and in the end it would be up to America in the long run to decide what is best for its people.
Walterss, J. (2012, March 13) Should Welfare Recipients Be Drug Tested? Governing: The States and Localities. Retrieved from: http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/testing-welfare-recipients-drugs.html
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