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Drug testing not the answer

Editorial

When Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits are factored in, nearly half of the nation lives in a household that receives some kind of public assistance.

That’s more than 155 million Americans.

Are we going to drug test half of all Americans? Figuring a conservative rate of $20 per test and randomly testing all 155 million people twice a year, the cost for testing alone would be over $3 billion.

Not to mention the cost of administering the program.

So it begs the question: Where do we draw the line on who to test?

If Uncle Sam is going to require testing of those on Medicaid, Medicare, Food Stamps, unemployment and Social Security, would you also require testing of people who use programs such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), housing assistance or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families?

That is 14 percent of the population in those three programs alone.

How about college students who receive Pell grants? How about those who get veteran’s or disability benefits? How about those who receive tax credits or farmers who receive agricultural assistance?

How about kids who receive free and reduced school lunches or seniors who receive heating assistance?

Where does it end?

I doubt even the supervisors themselves would be immune from testing if all those variables were factored in — certainly not if we were to include their extended families.

So, while the concept of testing welfare recipients to determine if taxpayer subsidies are being used as they were intended is a commendable one, the idea of drug and alcohol testing anyone who takes advantage of a public assistance program is not.

And, as we see it, you can’t segregate one group over another. The Constitution doesn’t allow it.

Perhaps a more laudable goal to get behind would be a nation of less entitlement. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol testing would have a negligible impact on that goal at best, while costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

Comments should be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com

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