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Drug testing not the answer

Editorial

There is just something about a person kicked back on a couch, stoned out of his mind, giggling away at Seinfeld reruns while stuffing his face with taxpayer-funded Cheetos that makes your blood boil.

If you are living off the government, your full-time occupation should be getting off the public dime, not doing bong hits with the baby sleeping in the next room.

So, it’s pretty easy to get behind the Warren County supervisors’ efforts to require citizens relying on public assistance to submit to random drug testing.

It’s easy to agree with Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley’s point that workers in the public and private sectors already must submit to these tests to keep their jobs.

It’s easy to agree that people collecting taxpayer-subsidized benefits be required to do the same.

And, it’s easy to concur with Bentley that people on public assistance who are misusing public money to get high instead of put food on the table should lose the privilege.

All of that sounds completely reasonable and an effort worth getting behind.

The reason we cannot back this idea, however, is because we don’t believe Bentley or a majority of the Warren County Board of Supervisors is looking at the big picture.

Here’s the underlying question: Just who are the “freeloaders,” as Bentley put it, that the supervisors are targeting? Are they people who take advantage of the most popular benefit programs such as Medicaid, unemployment and food stamps?

That only scratches the surface of the benefits offered under the gargantuan umbrella labeled “public assistance.” At last count, there were more than 1,800 so called “entitlement” programs at the federal level.

And that’s just the federal level.

According to an analysis of 2010 Census data by George Mason University, more than one in three Americans lived in households last year that received Medicaid, food stamps or some other means-based government assistance.

Comments should be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com

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