Government assistance, or welfare, is a very broad term. There are many different welfare programs available in the United States e. g. , food stamps, cash assistance, and government housing. Currently there is mass debate, in courtrooms across the U. S. , regarding the legality and morality of pre-assistance drug testing. This report is intended to familiarize the reader with the history of welfare reform; the histories of drug testing in regards to assistance eligibility; and persuade the audience to vote yes for mandatory pre-assistance drug testing. b) Body b. i) History of Welfare (b. i.
1) The first welfare programs originated with the Social Security Act of 1935. (b. i. 2) The Social Security Act was replaced by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. (b. i. 3) Previous attempts at drug testing recipients of government assistance failed. b. ii) Viewpoints claiming drug testing is unethical (b. ii. 1) Drug testing is wasteful. (b. ii. 2) Drug testing stereotypes the poor as drug abusers. (b. ii. 3) Drug testing assistance recipients is racist. (b. ii. 4) All claims of unethicality can be refuted with strong evidence. b. iii) Viewpoints claiming drug testing is illegal
(b. iii. 1) Drug testing is unconstitutional due to unreasonable search and seizure. (b. iii. 2) Applying for benefits is voluntary, therefore testing isn’t unreasonable. b. iv) Viewpoints supporting mandatory drug testing (b. iv. 1) Applicants are no different than employees subject to testing. (b. iv. 2) People who abuse drugs shouldn’t get paid to break the law. (b. iv. 3) Reducing payments to drug users will help relieve growing government debt. c) Conclusion c. i) In closing, it’s important that we look past the false statements and weak arguments of the opposition to mandate drug testing for applicants.
Long-term drug testing of government assistance applicants will save millions of dollars per year if properly enacted, and the money can go to where we truly need it – keeping good teachers in schools. “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. ” – Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese Philosopher Government assistance, or welfare, is a very broad term. There are many different welfare programs available in the United States e. g. , food stamps, cash assistance, and government housing. Currently there is mass debate, in courtrooms across the U.
S. , regarding the legality and morality of pre-assistance drug testing. This report is intended to familiarize the reader with the history of welfare reform; the histories of drug testing in regards to assistance eligibility; and persuade the audience to vote yes for mandatory pre-assistance drug testing. Welfare, as we know it, was created in 1935 by then President, Franklin Roosevelt. It was created in response to multiple failed attempts to rejuvenate the failing economy and lower unemployment through excessive spending, also known as “Herbert Hoover’s presidency.
” President Roosevelt succeeded President Hoover after winning the election in 1932. During the early years of Roosevelt’s presidency, billions of dollars were spent trying to rebuild the economy via a series of programs called “New Deal”. One of the programs in Roosevelt’s New Deal was the Social Security Act (SSA) of 1935. The SSA provided unemployment insurance, retirement pensions, and welfare benefits, and is considered to be the cornerstone on which current government assistance policies are built.
The SSA withstood the test of time, but by 1996 when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) passed, a major facelift was needed. Since 1994, when Mayor Giuliani initiated the first drug testing for New York City assistance recipients, drug testing has been a tumultuous issue. Section 902 in the PRWORA authorizes, but does not require, states to administer drug screenings for eligibility of welfare benefits (Section 902, PRWORA). Numerous attempts were previously made to administer drug tests to
welfare applicants, and nearly all of them have been shot down. Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Oregon are among the short list of states that enacted or attempted to enact laws only to be sued by the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU. Fast forward ten years and news of drug testing has again become prominent, especially among Facebook users, due to the ability to share stories amongst various social media outlets. Let’s take a look at some of reasons why people don’t support drug testing.
According to a February 3, 2011 TANF Policy Brief by Matt Lewis and Elizabeth Kenefick of the Center for Law and Social Policy, “Random Drug Testing of TANF Recipients is Costly, Ineffective, and Hurts Families. ” Lewis and Kenefick cite a 1996 report from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stating that the number of welfare recipients using illicit drugs is on par with the general population’s use. Immediately following that citation is a statement that is purposely misleading: “In Michigan…only ten percent of recipients tested positive for hard drugs such as cocaine.
These rates are consistent with its general population. ” While this statement may be true on the surface, an investigation into their sources reveals that these “consistent rates” are pulled from a weighted survey conducted via questionnaire and may not accurately reflect the general population depending on the survey sample size. CLASP acknowledges their bending of the truth by stating that TANF recipients are somewhat more likely to have tried illicit drugs or have a substance abuse problem. Ms.
Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior policy analyst for CLASP, estimates that the government cost of catching a drug abuser may run between $20,000 and $77,000 per individual, and cites the ACLU’s use of a 1992 Cornell University report on private employer drug testing as an example. Using Ms. Lower-Basch’s estimation of the cost of an individual drug test, administered by a third party however, the immediate cost is negligible in comparison. Ms. Lower-Basch states one drug test costs between $20 and $80.
As an example, if Indiana were to test 1,000 TANF recipients, and all of them passed, the maximum immediate cost would be $80,000. Based on Michigan’s statistical rate of 10 percent drug use, we could expect 100 failed screens, which eliminate those individuals from receiving benefits for six months. The average TANF recipient receives $269 per month, for a total of $1614 per person saved during the disqualification period. If you multiply $1614 by 100 recipients, the government would be saving a net amount of $89,400 over six months even after paying out the $72,000 to the individuals that passed their screens.
A second opposing viewpoint is that drug testing is racist and stereotypes recipients as drug abusers . While some may view drug screening of government assistance applicants as stereotyping, it is important to realize that the individuals proposing drug screening are not forcing anyone to undergo screening. Applying for government assistance is a voluntary process accompanied by rules and regulations, similar to applying for government jobs. You must undergo a prescreen process before you can be accepted.
The proposal for drug screening will simply be part of the prescreening process. With regards to racism playing a part in drug screening, if mandatory drug screening were implemented there would be no possibility for racism to occur. If random screening, or “reasonable doubt” screening were implemented, there would be a possibility for racism to become a factor. Eliminate the risk now and make pre-assistance drug screens mandatory. A third opposing viewpoint regarding drug testing is that it is illegal and unconstitutional.
The ACLU maintains that random and mandatory drug testing violates an applicant’s right to privacy, as well as their right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Despite a drug testing clause being specifically written into the PRWORA law, local courts have deemed previous attempts at drug screening to be unconstitutional. If the government were to write into the contract for drug screening that all applicants would receive a pre-benefit health screening to detect for illegal substance abuse, and voluntary application for benefits would be acceptance of the terms, there could be no claims of constitutionality.
It would not be unreasonable search In June 1999, Fox News sponsored a telephone survey conducted by Opinion Dynamics. 924 registered voters responded to the survey. At that time, approximately 68% of the sample group supported mandatory drug testing, with 27% opposing it, and 5% being undecided. A similar survey, conducted in July 2011 by Rasmussen Reports, revealed similar results. Of 1,000 voters polled, 53% believe all applicants should be tested, 13% believe tests should be random, and 29% if there is reasonable suspicion. A third survey, conducted in April 2012 by Mrs.
Springs again showed similar results with approximately 66% of voters supporting mandatory drug testing and 89% of voters supporting drug test under certain circumstances. So why do people feel so strongly about these drug tests? One reason for support of mandatory drug testing is the idea of government assistance funds being spent on drugs. Many supporters feel assistance shouldn’t be given to people who don’t need it or are going to waste it, with the argument that if they can afford to buy drugs then they don’t need the government’s help.
According to Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, a 2007 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation states that approximately 20% of TANF receiving families admitted to having used drugs within the previous year, with 5% of those families admitting to an addiction. Another reason for mandatory drug testing is that some professions, such as the military, require drug testing as a prerequisite to continued employment, so government assistance should as well .
Supporters of this theory believe that since they are being subjected to drug tests just so they can work, people accepting free government handouts should be subject to the same scrutiny. A third reason for mandatory drug testing is the previously mentioned financial gain aspect. According to Georgia House Representative Jason Spencer, a mandatory drug testing law in Florida reduced welfare applications by 48%, saving the state two million dollars in just five months
In closing, it’s important that we look past the false statements and weak arguments of the opposition to mandate drug testing for applicants. Long-term drug testing of government assistance applicants will save millions of dollars per year if properly enacted, and the money can go to where we truly need it – keeping good teachers in schools. This speech is the property of Jonathan Hoffman and may not be reproduced or directly sampled without written consent.