This was never about saving money:
Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently released state data.
“Many states are considering following Florida’s example, and the new data from the state shows they shouldn’t,” said Derek Newton, communications director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which sued the state last year to stop the testing and recently obtained the documents. “Not only is it unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy, but it doesn’t save money, as was proposed.”
This week, Georgia instituted a nearly identical law, with supporters saying it would foster greater personal responsibility and save money. As in Florida, the law is expected to draw a legal challenge. The Southern Center for Human Rights, based in Atlanta, said it expected to file a lawsuit once the law takes effect in the next several months. A number of other states are considering similar bills.
The Florida civil liberties group sued the state last year, arguing that the law constituted an “unreasonable search” by the government, a violation of the Fourth Amendment. In issuing a temporary injunction in October, Judge Mary S. Scriven of Federal District Court scolded lawmakers and said the law “appears likely to be deemed a constitutional infringement.”
From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.
Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.
Just to put this in perspective, only 2.6% of the applicants used drugs, while the DOJ estimates that from 8-10.2 percent of the workforce is on drugs. In other words, far from being lazy shiftless drug addicts, they are, as a whole, cleaner than the general workforce. Which may seem odd to you, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. DRUGS COST MONEY. PEOPLE ON GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE DON’T HAVE… MONEY. This is not rocket surgery.
But none of this really matters, because this wasn’t about saving money, it was about shaming people. It was about continuing to stigmatize those who are down on their luck. It was about perpetuating the belief that our safety net is nothing more than a source of drug money for poor people, so people are less inclined to support these programs. And it was about neanderthal politicians catering to the know-nothings who vote Republican. For the cadre of cranky old white people forwarding chain emails and thinking they are clever saying “YOU HAVE TO ADMIT, IT’S TRUE” or the douchebags you went to High School with 30 years ago who just friended you on Facebook and post nonsense like this:
And when you point out this is all nonsense to those people who push that garbage, they’ll get mad at you and call you shrill or deny the facts and point to some anecdote somewhere about someone on welfare who cheated the system- as if that story overcomes the undeniable data you’ve just presented them. Colbert nailed it- the modern right and their followers don’t care about facts, they care about truthiness. They know what they know, and it comes from the gut.
This was never about money. This was about shaming people, humiliating people, making being poor worse than it already was, and giving the soulless goons like the types I mentioned above an opportunity to feel smug and good about themselves at the expense of others.
So I fully expect that every southern state with a Republican legislature will pass a bill like this in the next year or so.
Who cares about the 3978 people who weren’t taking drugs? They caught 108 dirty druggies. And let’s not forget those 40 who refused to take the test. That’s almost 150 people put in their place. That is well worth the financial cost to the state or the emotional cost to the 3978 innocent people.
I posted the comments from the Athens paper yesterday, motherfuckers love it.
Well, no, you shouldn’t have to pass a urine test to get a job, either.
Why not shame people by saying how much they earn and what deductions they are claiming. Really, really.. Folks do not understand that the mortgage interest deduction is a form of welfare also. Really, really.. Look at the deductions we give corporations… really, really.
As soon as politicians start volunteering to be the first ones to be tested, we’ll know they are sincere.
In other news, hell freezes over and Romney was sincere.
You forgot that it also funnels money to Gov. Lex Luthor’s wife’s drug-testing business. What the hell were people in Florida thinking when they elected that guy?
They’ll pass laws like these in 30 states, and the Supreme Court will rule 5-4 that there is no right to privacy when you’re on the dole.
@Raven: Do you know if the state pays for the test if the results are negative?
Actually I don’t think it primarily about any of those things. It was about
Lex LuthorGov. Scott funneling a huge amount of state money to the drug testing company that Scott had a financial interest in. The shaming and the smugness were just bonuses.
ETA: and Geoduck beat me to it…
actually, it’s about scapegoating the poor for budget issues, when in reality shortfalls are due to ridiculous tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
And don’t forget that Republican legislator in Iowa who proposed that all mother’s receiving child support payments be subjected to similar drug tests because God only knows that all not-married mothers are nothing but witches and crack whores.
Shouldn’t we, by the same sort of “logic”, be drug-testing the CEO and other executives of any company that supports itself from government contracts? I mean, we don’t want to give taxpayer money to druggies, now do we?
Short Bus Bully
This should be stapled to the totebags that every totebagger carries around until they fully understand what we are trying to deal with here. This idea of “well, if I just explain things to them with LOGIC and RATIONALITY they can’t help but agree with me!” is outside the bounds of reality.
This hatred and dehumanizing of the poor, the brown, and the womenfolks is not rational and it’s not something that can or should be debated. It needs to be recognized for what it is and then stamped the fuck out.
“The new drug-testing law requires parents who apply for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to pay for and pass a drug test that would cost at least $17. TANF provides temporary financial help to low-income families with children. Passing the drug test once would be a condition of eligibility to receive benefits.”
I believe that the state is supposed to reimburse the cost of the test if it’s negative, but that it’s still effectively an application fee to apply for assistance programs. And given how badly off you have to be to qualify for that sort of thing now, that’s just a new level of cruelty.
@dmsilev: The tests should be random though because we wouldn’t want anyone gaming the systems.
@rea: For people who yammer on constantly about fascism and Big Brother they sure do love any and all invasions of privacy that are not firearms related.
Doesn’t Rick Scott own the company doing the drug testing which he has now put in his wifes name? That’s the real story here. Just follow the money.
They are evil.
It’s Florida, Jake.
It’s goddamned un-American, is what it is.
The next test for welfare recipients is to prove you don’t own a cadillac.
Pretty clearly this is mostly a money making scheme for the labs that do the testing—–and their owners. If they just wanted to pressure welfare recipients to clean up their acts, randomized tests would have been much cheaper.
It seems like it’s a good time to stop sending so much federal money to these backwards red states since they use their own tax dollars so poorly.
@beltane: Silly liberal. Poor people aren’t real people with the same rights as you and I.
What Geoduck and David Hunt said.
It was about money. About giving money to entitled drug testing CEOs rather than undeserving poor.
Although considering this only shifted $30,000/month from Florida tax payers to drug testing companies, I assume it really is a smoke screen and that there is real looting going on somewhere else. You wouldn’t expect a man who filched $600 million out of medicare to care about $30,000/month. It probably wouldn’t even be enough to cover his hookers and blow bill.
@kerFuFFler: I think these wingnuts would respect Democrats more if the Dems actually did penalize them for their behavior. Punishment is the only thing authoritarians understand.
It’s always about the money, Cole. It’s the skimming and redirecting of tax money into the coffers of Republican supporting business owners, who then return a part of it in donations to — guess who — Republicans. Every act of “privatization” is really an act of profitization for the Repubs using taxpayer money.
I wrote something relevant to this: http://redlemona.de/joshua-malbin/hybrid-consolidated-preapplication-for-public-assistance
Somebody meme this at once.
Alright,OT, but this is it for the night…back to my self-imposed internet exile. Don’t feel like waiting for an open thread…lol
Obama: ‘I Wasn’t Born With A Silver Spoon In My Mouth’
Hmm, this has the added benefit of being a dig and being absolutely true as well… I wonder who the dig could possibly be at???
This is very nearly redundant, John.
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia all have both chambers controlled by Republicans.
Kentucky is split; it has a Democratic-controlled House and a GOP-controlled Senate.
Only Arkansas and West Virginia, of the states that could remotely be identified as Southern, have both chambers controlled by Dems.
Also, of those 15 states, only Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and West Virginia have Dem governors.
Does this Judge live in a cave without papers and intertoobz and completely unaware that the USSC has currently 5 Republican wingers?
It’s only unconstitutional if THEY say it is. And they wont.
Any time a Facebook friend of mine likes testing welfare recipients for drugs, I immediately unfriend them. I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to assholes.
Drug tests aren’t 100% accurate either.
I think the saving-money concept likely works like this: those poor people are all doing drugs, they get caught through this mandatory drug test, they don’t get welfare dollars, ergo money saved! This is similar to the kind of idiotic illogic you get from folks who think homosexuality is a choice, I’d like to point out–proof that no amount of reasoning can save your ass when you start with a faulty premise.
BTW, not surprised that the poor are clean-living hard workers. Too bad it’s such a craptacular time to be poor.
The Other Chuck
Been memed for years and years. Hell, just google for the term.
But they are extremely effective at humiliating and inconveniencing welfare recipients and enriching Rick Scott, so who cares about accuracy?
Self righteousness is an addictive emotion. Especially for hateful losers whose only way of ever feeling good about themselves is to think about how everyone else is worse than them.
No government assistance if you are addicted to that fucking drug. This is one way we can get government out of Tea Baggers’ Medicare. By bouncing them off of Medicare and giving it to someone not on the self righteousness drug.
The Other Chuck
Mandatory drug testing for all of Congress and all elected state and municipal officials and judges.
While we’re at it, how about CCTV monitoring them 100% of the time to be sure they’re not up to any shenanigans themselves?
But not just any old shame and any old humiliation, and not keeping people poor just for the meanness of it.
Some twisted voters might go for that, but the politicians pass these laws, and they have to use their resources wisely in order to survive.
It’s about keeping the hate alive for brown and loose floozy welfare bums in the bad part of town who vote Democratic, and for whom Democratic communist poltical scum steal worthier peoples’ honestly earned government moneys.
Lots of earned media on the media and in the hearts and minds of the ‘keep the government out of my medicare crowd’, for the permanent GOP campaign.
Edit: and I forgot also the honest graft of the additional business for Scott and his medical test biz cronies.
@D0n Camillo: I have a former addict friend who is on public assistance who (now that she’s clean) thinks other people should have to be drug tested for assistance.
Everyone I know who has had public assistance has had this kind of f’ed up attitude. Of course, everyone I know who has been on public assistance is a white Republican.
A politician making factual verifiable claims? There goes the Republic.
I’m sorry Cole, but State Representative Jimmie T. Smith just flat out disagrees with you. They had to stop the flow of hard earned money to lazy drug users. Had to.
Goodness but could there be a better name for a wingnutty Republican Rep in FL than Honest to God Jimmie T. Smith?
The children!! Won’t someone please think of the children?!
I’m surprised no one quoted in the article could come up with a blurb about how this bill would fight terrorism.
This was what it was really about–the shaming and the attacks on poor people and all the other shit that had teabaggers stroking off was just an added bonus. And as far as “writing yourself a check from teh government coffers” schemes go, it was pretty solid.
Here in the beautiful Mississippi of the north, all of the young families are unmarried, all of them on public assistance (but in their minds THEY deserve it for being melanin-impaired) and they all vote Repug.
Forum Transmitted Disease
Something really evil is starting to crawl out of our society and it scares me. This is the second day in a row that I’ve watched someone (and called them out loudly and publicly for doing it) go out of their way to humiliate and berate an obviously poor person for being poor. I always hear people bitch about the poor, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone bully another adult in public over it.
If it happens tomorrow I may wind up kicking someone’s ass. I was poor once, as were most of us. There’s simply no call for that kind of bullshit.
My guess is, like the union busting in the upper mid west states, making welfare
northern yankee aggressor dollarsharder for poor to survive on, the wingers may well have kicked another hornets nest. They won’t let unions in to the south, very much, so what jobs they do create stay low paying and light on benefits. And now they are going to squeeze the peasant class some more. Even Billy Bubba may stop to think a minute, when the belly is empty and the mind gets a little more focused.
It is a general truth that the poor don’t vote that much, but in the south they are the biggest voting block, black or white poor. Petty prejudices have a breaking point when the hunger pains get past a certain point. And few states right now, depend on food stamps more than they do in the Sunshine State, having been slammed worse in the econ collapse.
@David Hunt: This.
The shit BP pumped into the Gulf may be bad for sea life. I like how the American media doesn’t cover any of this shit.
A claim which was flat out proven to be incorrect by the report. So why are we hearing that argument made? With no direct rebuttal?
People are sleepwalking. People are passively accepting all this crap that is thrown on them – because it’s always ‘the Other’.
It’s unbelievable to me, how the rightwingers both get away with telling lie after lie, and on top of that, get elected anyway.
Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, all these states, the Rethug politicians swept in on lies, immediately enacted things that they didn’t run on, made things worse for the states in question – and in many cases, will be re-elected. or another Rethug, similar to the last, will be elected.
Not to mention, the abuse of Senate rules, to get anything done, the holds, the filibusters. In the House, fake conflicts, clear voting to give more money to the already filthy rich…Jesus.
It’s just unbelievable the culture of lies and false equivalence that is accepted by the media.
It’s unbelievable, that in the middle of all this, Romney has firmed up, and is looking at a near tie with Obama.
Mike in NC
Wasn’t it just a few months back where some Heritage Foundation asshole (redundant, I realize) was writing about how great poor people in America had it since so many had access to TVs and stuff?
This was my own greatest fear for the soup of chems they pumped into the gulf, in the greatest amounts ever. Genetic damage and the specter of creating a better Godzilla(s). And fishes with attitude.
@Forum Transmitted Disease:
I volunteer to be your “lookout.”
That sort of hatred used be be kept behind closed doors with other like-minded cretins.
@David Hunt: That’s where I predict all the other state legislatures are going to “improve” on the Florida plan: They won’t reimburse you even if you pass.
Does anyone think for one second this won’t happen?
Steve in DC
VA here currently which is “the south” and party of the company I work for is NC, which is also “the south” and there are tons of highly paid professionals around here without unions! In fact, VA and NC have some extremely expensive and nice areas, which is where the majority of job growth is in them.
The problem is that those areas, which are also the “liberal” areas, hate the fucking poor something crazy. It’s all college educated limo liberals aka the “I got mine so fuck you, you were born white and had your chance, but gays marrying and abortions are oh so important” types. The typical “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” mess people turn into after they get out of school and land a good job.
Liberals love these rules as well. It’s about beating up on people you don’t like. You can’t find a single well off white liberal in NOVA that wants to give a cent to help poor white kids in SOVA get an education or anything, fuck em, they are white and had their chance. But you can find the same crowd crying bloody murder that poor black kids in DC can’t get an education.
Screwing the poor is a bipartisan pastime of educated and well of social classes in both parties, many of them the very paragon of socially liberal values.
That’s one of the reasons the Republicans in SOVA shouldn’t vote Democratic in our local elections at all. Because the Democrats in liberal Virginia just love fucking over their poorer relatives and trying to stiff them out of state funds. It’s a “socialism for me but not for thee” type of deal where we love federal money up here, but don’t you dare give a penny of mine to those dumb hicks sort of deal.
Honestly rich social liberals are just as into rat fucking the poor here as teh conservatives.
And now, months later, the dim wingnut bulbs in congress scratch their empty heads, as it dawns on them that Obama played them for fools and suckers with the debt ceiling deal, and they are scheming in the smoke filled rooms to undo what they agreed to, and actually first promoted from Mitch Mcconnell, to end the debt ceiling showdown. And of course, the solution is to slap the poor around some more, to prevent auto cuts to their beloved military industrial complex.
And of course to do the above, they are bailing on yet another past agreement with dems.
Our wingnuts are OUT OF CONTROL
@Steve in DC: NOVA is especially full of assholes, regardless of political stripe.
It’s also about further entrenching and enriching the prison-industrial and anti-liberty lobbies. And it’s about ensuring that the
anti-American liberty-haterspoliticians who promote these laws get campaign contributions, kickbacks, and lucrative post-public careers from the prison-industrial and anti-liberty lobbies.
We need to do something radical about the post-public careers issue, which is out of control.
I suspect that nothing short of enforceable vows of poverty may be required.
@Steve in DC:
Well, all liberals are not saints or even decent people, none of the republicans are, and all the progressive stuff we have, was not created by the wingnuts or the tooth fairy, for sure. So no, both sides are not equal in this, and I doubt they really are where you are talking about, when all the chips are laid on the table.
edit – though admittedly, I have no experience nor first hand knowledge of the region you are talking about
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
its like the people who made playboy magazine into a collosal waste of money and ran it into the ground, are now in charge of the gop.
Ding ding ding ding! It’s exactly crony capitalism. And it deprive the public of the honest services of our elected representatives. Isn’t that a federal felony?
@Mike in NC: It was tv’s and refrigerators. REFRIGERATORS!
Steve in DC
I never said both sides are equal. What I said is that rich social liberals are just as into fucking over the poor as rich conservatives are.
Republics = care only about the top 1% and willing to go along with social conservatives to get their economic goals. Democrats = only care about the top 5% but willing to vote for a party that at times cares about the top 10% to get their social values.
Republicans are obviously worse. But if you don’t think your typical college educated with a good job is just as onboard with “fuck the poor” type sentiments you’re dead fucking wrong.
@Steve in DC:
Except the ones who work in non-profit, in education, in helping professions (social work, therapy, outreach, and so on). That’s a lot of people.
If you mean the kinds of liberals who aren’t liberal, then you’re right.
@Steve in DC:
How can republicans be worse when then you use the term ‘typical’ to describe those of more liberal bent leaving college. I went to college, several of them, and the level of truth in what you are saying would begin and end with “some of them’ , liberal college grads are as ‘on board with fuck the poor’.
Yes, you said it better than I did.
slim's tuna provider
@Steve in DC: if we’re playing anecdotal evidence here, i think your statement was a lot more right in 2005 than it is now. to be blunt, us college educated libs might still have jobs (god help us)but some of us have been made aware one way or the next of how close to the brink we all are and are in the process of adjusting our attitides according-like.
Steve in DC
No I work in a non profit and they are just as bad. They are all far shredding the American safety net but want to funnel more money into infant and maternal mortality/HIV AIDS in Africa.
Realistically once you hit a certain level of education and income “liberal” really means socially liberal and ends there. They love screwing the poor as well.
Hence Goldman Sachs! One of the most socially progressive companies to work for, the face of the HRC’s corporate side… hates the working class and poor.
That about sums up people with liberal social values who land an education and a reasonably well paying job.
@Steve in DC:
Uh, yeah, here’s a NoVA well-off white liberal who donates to the UVA Wise scholarship fund for low-income students, so you can shove that right up your ass. Yes, you and your friends living in Arlington are a bunch of pricks, we knew that already.
At the risk of sounding like an uptight Baby Boomer square, I blame the Internet.
For the last decade at least, these people have been used to discussing politics not in public with real people who might not agree with them, but in the privacy of Internet chat rooms with no consequences and nothing but like-minded people. Ditto the news – we used to all at least watch the same one, but Fox, talk radio and the blogosphere have done a pretty good job of creating their own alternate universe of facts.
Anyway, the result of that – these guys have been unleashing their inner feelings with zero consequences for so long that they’re starting to feel they should be able to do the same thing all the time. That’s my theory for why the ugliness is spilling out.
@Steve in DC: Anecdotal evidence is unreliable. All I can conclude is that your friends and co-workers are dicks.
Maybe try to meet some new people. All my friends and colleagues are well-educated liberals who do care very much about the poor and disadvantaged. All of them.
That is a fucking fact.
That’s an excellent theory. I had noticed that the “fuck the poor” rhetoric had definitely become both crueler and more open than before. I had blamed 8 years of W followed by a black man in the White House, but it makes sense that people with these opinions have been getting away with spouting them for so long that they think they can do it anywhere without consequences. Unfortunately, so far they appear to be right.
I’m sure Rick Scott and FL legislature are providing support for welfare-receiving addicts who are fighting addictions, right? Right?
Gee, I wonder if what you’d find if you looked into campaign and SuperPAC contributions from drug testing companies?
@BGinCHI: He’s on his hobby horse.
@BGinCHI: If their white Christian victims could be trusted to understand who hurt them, I’d be willing to entertain the idea of letting the sociopaths get their way.
Of course I’d never want to do that as too many innocents would get hurt. And it’s moot anyhow because the white Christian victims *KNOW* it is blacks, Mexicans, gays, and sluts that ruin everything for the good people.
I have a sad.
@Tonal Crow: You just can’t get people to fully buy into a fascist state unless you can get them to agree the government should have unfettered access to your bodily fluids.
@Steve in DC: Um, major financial companies have socially liberal policies in hiring simply because they want an educated talented work force, and deliberately turning down candidates because you don’t like their skin tone or sex partners isn’t competitive. That doesn’t make GS a “liberal” company.
@JPL: Yes. The applicant has to pay for his/her own test ($$ to the governor’s company); if it comes back negative, the taxpayers reimburse the applicant’s fee.
Helluva dodge: Governor Scumbag makes his dough, the rest of us pay for his mistake.
I conclude Steve in DC and Yevgraf should probably form an affinity group.
I’m guessing that Jake thinks the cops in Georgia didn’t go nearly far enough since they only kept this kid in jail for a few hours. After all, adults and kids should be judged the same way, so she should be standing in front of a judge getting 6 months in jail just like a 36-year-old who did the same thing would be, amirite?
Sorry, posted to the wrong thread. Oh, and by the way, what’s the fucking point of offering an edit function and a deletion request function if neither one of them fucking work?
the white poor in the South vote however their pastor tells them to vote, this won’t matter a bit.
Are they white?
All my well-educated liberal white friends became lunatics after Obama was elected.
I think that part of the blame has to go to “Republican Jesus.”
Selfish Xian bastards feeling they’re in step with their selfish zombie overlord deity is clearly a prescription for disaster.
I don’t think this is entirely fair to our
viciously sociopathic shitstainesteemed Governor. After all, hurting dopers has been a wingnut priority for a long time, and there is actually a possibility that some dopers have been hurt by this measure, thereby proving its worth.
So what happens to them if they’re (caught) using? Do they just get a big “Denied” stamp and get sent home – or wherever – with their children, or do they get referred to treatment or counseling or something?
There’s no taking the Bg Brother out of the law, but there’s the possibility of putting some halfway decent outcomes into it. I mean, if you’re a Republican and you have to pass shit like this, consider the possibility of making your slimy law actually help somebody just the tiniest fucking bit.