http://www2.tbo.com/news/politics/2011/aug/24/welfare-drug-testing-yields-2-percent-positive-res-ar-252458/

And the tests prove it.

Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.

That's compared to 8+% of the general population who take illegal drugs.

Newton said that's proof the drug-testing program is based on a stereotype, not hard facts.

"This is just punishing people for being poor, which is one of our main points," he said. "We're not testing the population at-large that receives government money; we're not testing people on scholarships, or state contractors. So why these people? It's obvious-- because they're poor."


I've always said that poor people aren't drug addicts - they can't afford to be. Illegal drugs are expensive. So's food. Given a choice, most people will choose food.

People are poor not because they are doing drugs, but because they are being vastly underpaid for the work they do. Most of the poor people I know have 2 and 3 jobs. Why? Because the first one doesn't pay enough for minimal, basic cost of living expenses. They get welfare because it pays better than working 80 hours a week.

It's not the welfare system that's broken, people. It's that "minimum wage" attitude that says: The law says I have to pay you at least this amount, so that's all you're worth and not one penny more. It doesn't matter that the company has had record breaking profits and business is up because of your hard work - I deserve this money just because I am in charge and can take it and you - you're fired because it's cheaper for me to hire another desperate person than it is to give you - one of my best, hardest working employees - a pay raise.".

When welfare pays more - even if it's just nominally more - than a full time job - or when people working 40 hour a week jobs still qualify for welfare assistance, it's not welfare that's the problem. It's the employers. No one who works a full time job should earn so little that they have to supplement their income with welfare. And then to accuse those people who work hard of being drug addicts and humiliate them further by demanding drug tests for the pittance they receive in assistance.

I don't know who started the memes about "welfare queens" and "all welfare recipients are druggies" but they are bald-faced lies. I've never met a welfare queen - and I've met a lot of people on welfare, even lived on it briefly myself before realizing it wasn't a hand up, it was the hand that forced me down further. I've never met a drug addict on welfare - most of the drug addicts I know are wealthy, from wealthy families, or desperate people who'd never waste all those hours sitting in depressing welfare waiting rooms with fussy babies and sick children when they could be out conning someone or stealing or scoring. Drug addicts don't waste their time getting welfare.

The people who get welfare are people who grew up on welfare and don't know any other way of life, people who have reached the end of their resources and have to get it because the kids are hungry or the landlord has raised the rent so high they're now facing eviction, people who've lost their jobs and can't find work and have used up all the good will of family and friends who aren't in much better shape.

It's a myth and a lie that people on welfare are drug addicts. It's a myth and a lie that welfare recipients are living the high life. It's a myth and a lie that people on welfare are not worthy beings. It's a myth and a lie that people on welfare deserve to be poor.

No one deserves poverty. And everyone is worthy of help.
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