Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dispatches from a Refugee in the Land of Privilege, Episode 2: Drugs, Welfare, and Other Unrelated Issues

An acquaintance posted this article on facebook with the comment "NICE!" I was immediately enraged, as I still am. This was, of course, backed by the GOP, and opponents cited a similar case in Michigan in which this sort of bill was struck down. I can only pray that the same happens here.

Let's take this apart piece by piece: the welfare applicant would be forced not only to take the drug test but to PAY FOR IT themselves! They claim that the people would be reimbursed, but can we discuss how ridiculous the entire thing is? If you are applying for welfare, disposable income is not really a known universe to you. Therefore, you would not be able to take the test and, as a consequence, to receive assistance. So what we have here is a situation in which the poorest are being doubly punished for being that poor. Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is NOT what the welfare program is meant to do.

While I don't think my family was ever on welfare, we did receive food stamps on a number of occasions. If this regulation had been in place them, I know that if my mother had applied, we likely would not have had the cash for her to take the test. She wasn't on drugs, but without the test, no welfare. So she and her family (including 2 kids) would have suffered.

The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.
-Avram Noam Chomsky

What this is is yet another example of the over-privileged dictating what happens to the least privileged of all. How is this okay? On what level is this supposed to be right? And there are a lot of people in this misbegotten state who likely support this travesty in the name of "protecting the interests of the taxpayers." What this translates to in normal language is: "further lining the pockets of the already rich by preventing the poor from having anything." WAKE UP! Defending this bill with the "there are drug users abusing the welfare system"card is the exact same as "I won't help the homeless because there are those who want to be where they are" (for my rant on that topic, see this blog post). You are not protecting anything except those who do not need protecting.

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