Drug Testing

Not content to fade into obscurity after his failed presidential run, or being a general in the Conservative war against health care, Rick Perry is now advocating drug testing recipients of public assistance and unemployment insurance.

We should not be drug testing recipients of unemployment insurance or the poor.  First of all, it’s a clear violation of the 4th amendment.  Federal courts have already struck down laws in Florida and Michigan saying as much.  Rick Perry, Rick Scott, et. al. should read the Constitution that they talk about so much sometime.  It’s pretty good.  There’s a whole passage about unreasonable search and seizures between the 3rd and 5th amendments.  To put it simply, the assumption shouldn’t be that you (poor or unemployed person) are probably a drug user and therefore you should be subject to testing.  Being poor or unemployed does not constitute reasonable suspicion.

Do we as a country have so little regard for the poor and those who’ve lost their jobs that we just assume they’re all slackabout drug users?  Well, we shouldn’t.  The fact is there is very little to suggest that those groups consume drugs at a higher rate than the normal populace.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Numerous studies produced by the Center for Law and Policy to the The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse have shown that drug use in line with the average use among normal folk.  And Florida’s Department of Children and Families found the rate of drug use among those receiving public assistance to be far lower than the national average.  For the sake of context, the national rate of illegal drug use is about 9%.  The rate in the Florida study was 2.5%

I’m going to say that one more time.  People receiving public assistance aren’t more likely to be drug users.  The study from Florida actually found them to be more than three times LESS likely to do so.  But hey, if it’s bad policy based on faulty logic and negative stereotypes, then Rick Perry must be at the forefront.   Did you know that the Houston Press has random generator of dumb Rick Perry quotes? Rick Perry, the gift that keeps on giving.  Let’s take a look at some other Perry-isms:

No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money. I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solyndra.

No Rick.  Solyndra is not a country. We can argue about whether or not the proper role of government includes investing in energy innovation (aside: investment = risk, and these are the same people who have been howling at the moon about energy independence for decades), but either way that still does not make a failed investment an antagonistic nation-state.

Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote. Those of you who won’t be, just work hard, because you are going to inherit this and you’re counting on us to get this right.

Last I checked, the voting age has been 18.  And it has been for quite some time.

I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see… The third agency of government I would — I would do away with, Education, the…,” Perry continued to try and find his answer. “Commerce,” an unknown voice volunteered, according to the debate transcript. “Commerce and, let’s see,” Perry answered. “I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

Let’s see — can’t remember simple facts, seems confused and disoriented, and then there’s this video Bill Maher put together containing excerpts of a Perry speech, at the end of which he seems utterly amazed at a bottle of syrup.  As far as I’m concerned, the only person that needs to be drug tested is Rick Perry himself.

Can we dispense with all of this nonsense where wealthy Republicans take factually unjustified and morally repugnant potshots at the poor to win cheap political points?  Everything from Paul Ryan saying poor people need character and discipline to Newt Gingrich encouraging poor kids to become janitors because they don’t have any good examples for developing work ethic to Mitt Romney’s 47% of people won’t take responsibility for their lives?  It’s offensive and it needs to stop.  We’re supposed to be having a war on poverty, not a war on poor people, but that’s a distinction that the privileged scions of the conservative movement seem unable or unwilling to make.

Categories: Politics Fix

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