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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.

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 Policyto 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.

Originally posted to The Non Blogosphere on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:34 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Drug Testing = Not Cost Effective (15+ / 0-)

    Test all recipients of state money?  Legislators included?

    I guess he just wants to lose his next election.

    Please donate to Okiciyap food pantry. . If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

    by weck on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:03:28 PM PST

  •  How sad... (16+ / 0-)

    That we used to have a war against poverty and now it has turned into a war against the poor.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:06:17 PM PST

  •  Where does it end (10+ / 0-)

    Sidewalks, like public assistance and unemployment insurance, are government programs.  Should we be drug testing those moochers using the concrete?

    If Murphy's Law can fail, it will. - Scruggler's Law of Optimism

    by Scruggler on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:14:23 PM PST

  •  I'm gonna applaud every one of these I see (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you for taking the time and effort.

    I know poor people.

  •  I remember... (18+ / 0-)

    when Wall Street mavens were the biggest cokeheads in the city.

    And Rush (whataname, amiright?) got caught with all those Oxycontin scrips he was not supposed to have.

    So cry me a fucking river, GOP: you only accuse others of everything you do, while hiding behind a thin scrim of Saran Wrap, pretending to be oh so moral and ethical.

    Sorry, you're revealing all: that you're a bunch of hypocritical, and pathological, liars.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 12:00:26 AM PST

    •  GOP: you only accuse others of everything you do, (7+ / 0-)

      but this is how I saw it too:

      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.
      Yes, in fact I don't think he was 'drunk' or stoned on pot- it looked to me like schedules got off, and he took his 'medication' for recent back surgery at an appointed time, but it all kicked it at once. The kind of happiness he evoked speaks of opiates, along with the particular problem of forgetting the one thing on the tip of your tongue...Now I have NO probable cause to say that...but I do believe in evidence seen leading to questions, Rick...?
  •  What poor person has the MONEY to buy drugs? (12+ / 0-)

    What are these people thinking? You have to have extra money not needed for food, shelter, transportation, and all the other necessities of life.

    In fact, I'm sure that people with lots of money are the biggest drug users. The more money, the easier it is to pay for them.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 02:56:24 AM PST

  •  Political office holders (6+ / 0-)

    should be drug tested. I'm guessing we would be astonished to find many GOP members aren't even human.

  •  Drug testing (15+ / 0-)

    is only one manifestation of the war on the poor.

    The right feels that people who don't have money to buy enough food deserve to starve.

    They think people who can't afford apartments should be out on the street.

    They think people who can't afford medical care shouldn't get any.

    They think women who are not rich, whether single or married, should not have sex and thus don't deserve medical treatment during pregnancy.

    As we know these are all punitive policies, intended to punish the poor for being poor.

    All these policies will result in an increased death rate in the US overall, and in the poor especially. But they don't think that will be the case. They think that it will give an incentive to people who don't have money for food, shelter, and medical care to suddenly create good jobs for themselves if they get kicked enough when they are down.

    They think that telling women they "should have kept their legs shut" is somehow an effective solution to unplanned pregnancy.

    They look at these policies as doing poor people a favor in a "tough love" sense.

    I am a believer in what I call "The Law of Intended Effect". Pushing policies that cause people to die means they want people to die, whether or not they claim that in the magical alternate reality that would exist if Romney won, something different would result.

    They are not thinking that some, ie everyone in the civilized world, would see the deliberate attempt to kill poor people in this way to be barbaric.

  •  Rick Perry himself should be subjct to drug (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    .....testing. Especially after his peformances during the primaries, I think it is fair to question his competency.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:28:56 AM PST

  •  Been fighting this one on FB (13+ / 0-)

    First of all, I agree with the diarist 100%.

    I have been fighting this particular one on Facebook and the pushback I'm getting is 3-fold.  

    1)  I have to submit to drug-testing for my job (or to get a job).  Why should it be considered a burden for "those people" but not for me.

    My current response is:  a private employer can put conditions on employment.  The government is bound by the laws regarding "probable cause."  There is no "probable cause" to test 100% of the drug recipients when you have a 98% negative return.

    2)  Every person in favor of drug testing seems to have seen somebody using an EBT card (the modern equiv. of food stamps) in the grocery store, flashing $100 bills to get smokes and liquor, then driving away in their BMWs, or some combination of this fairy tale.  

    My current response is 2 fold: a) I went from making over $50K a year to $0.00 income.  I'm on EBT.  My clothes and my car haven't changed, but my income sure has.  I shouldn't have to sell myself down to rags and a 20-year old junker before you think I'm worthy of using that card.

    And b)  if you've seen this, why didn't you report it?

    3)  It's not that expensive to test.  What is everybody whining about?

    My current response is:  each individual test cost isn't the point.  The point is that states that are crying about how cash-strapped they are still spending (or plan to spend) tens of thousands of dollars -- funneled into some private drug-testing company's pockets -- for a program with a success rate of about 2%.  How is this worth anybody's money to implement?  Aren't there better uses for a state's limited resources than lining some private company's pockets?

    Most of the response to this is along the lines of "Yeah, but..." and "I don't want MY money going to drug addicts..." and so on.  I'm hoping that in all of that, someone is reading what I'm writing and it's making an impression.

    Any suggestions on how to do it better?  I've brought in small government, fiscal conservativism, rights of individuals and even "you've been there -- I know you have.  You really want to have to pee in a cup just to get the benefits you know you have a right to?"

    "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

    by stormicats on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:34:03 AM PST

    •  Thanks! (4+ / 0-)

      I feel like I've been fighting this one out on Facebook as well.  I think what people don't understand is the underlying message.  What they're (people that want  poor and unemployed people tested) saying is people are more likely to be abusers of drugs.  Or even more accurately, that the reason that they are poor or unemployed is because of drugs.

      The whole poor people are shiftless and lazy meme drive me nuts.  And its not like they make public office holders or people with government contracts get tested.

    •  My usual response (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      aside from the ones you've just mentioned:

      Gee, I hope you're not one of those people who think poor people are the worst people in the world.  Because I know people like that and they're all bigots.
      ...and depending on who I'm talking to here in Alabama I might throw in "...and that's just not very Christian/Biblical."

      “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

      by dwayne on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:36:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Problem is, there are people I regard as friends (0+ / 0-)

        Folks that I have stood by in horrendous circumstances, people who have stood up for me when everyone else was looking the other way.  I don't want to stomp on their toes -- I just want to help them see things from a broader perspective and see themselves in what they are saying.

        And I am doing my best to keep religion out of it, regardless of where they (or I) might live.  One of my personal hot buttons is the insinuation that our public policy must be informed by a person's religious character.  Not their ethical character, but specifically their religious character.  I know that's not what you meant here, but we on the left really should stand firm on the separation of church and state, not only in what we do, but in the very way we phrase things.

        "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

        by stormicats on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:49:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've been fighting this with my ex (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fairlithe, socindemsclothing

      I don't know where I went wrong raising him, but I'm just glad we aren't married anymore - he's the worst of the Teabagger mentality - all gummint employees are overpaid grifters, all people on welfare and food stamps are drug addicts and need to be drug tested before getting any help, waitresses don't deserve tips no matter how well they've served him, all women do is get knocked up so they can steal a man's kids and money, and on and on. Even when truth is pointed out to him (he and his entire family from his grandparents to his kids are government employees, some of his kids were on food stamps while working full time jobs, some of his kids were waitstaff working for the tips he refused to leave, and none of his wives received alimony or child support nor did they deny him access to is children), he still repeats these Hannity and Limbaugh lies.

      Even his children are correcting him, and he still clings to the lies he heard on the radio over the truths of his own life. I don't see how he can believe the lies when they are so palpably not true in his own life.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:06:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are all exceptions don'cha know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They are all the good waitstaff, the needed government workers, the deserving people on foodstamps. Of course his wives would never deny him access to his children or do anything as gauche as try to gouge him for alimony or child support.

        But those other people, oh, those other people.  He knows exactly what they are -- and he knows that his life would be immeasurably improved if only those people weren't trying to take things they didn't deserve.

        He doesn't see that out of the dozen cookies, the 1% have taken 11 and are trying to make those people -- of which he is one -- fight for the 12th.  Because from where they stand, there's not a bit of difference between him and those people.  

        "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

        by stormicats on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:12:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Big ol' eyeroll (0+ / 0-)

          at him.  He doesn't know a single person that fits the Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh lies in real life. It's all hearsay, and he believes that hearsay over the evidence of his own experiences.

          That kind of willful blinkering just can't be easily or gently removed, it has to be blasted out with some sort of serious life-changing disaster, and I just am not the blasting type of person.

          All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

          by Noddy on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:14:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  a costly solution to a non-problem (6+ / 0-)

    Drug hysteria has fueled many a costly government program- think the failed Drug War policies which lock up people for relatively minor drug offenses. The prison industry makes out, while communities (mostly of poor people and minorities) are destroyed. Has drug trafficking or drug abuse been eliminated by these policies? Of course not.
    How would this drug testing work exactly, then? Would there be a government contract given to a drug testing lab? Would the people who are applying for benefits be required to go to another facility for the test, at another time, when they will again need to travel and wait, possibly miss work, need to find care for their kids? Or will they set up a testing facility inside the food stamp office? Who will make sure no one cheats? Will the results be shared with police, or with child services? If parents test positive, will their children be denied food aid? If their children are hungry will they starve or will they be put into foster care? What programs will administer that? Or will we just allow (more) children to be hungry? In other words, if you hate government programs and government spending, news flash! this would add costly new layers to the system you already hate.
    The problem with the economy is not that we are spending too much money feeding poor people. Nor will anything be fixed by spending less on feeding poor people.
    The only reason this idea of drug testing persists is because scapegoating poor people deflects attention from who the real "takers" actually are.
    Its sick, and its sad, and what's truly sad is how many working people fall for it.

  •  A Ploy to Line The Pockets of His Corp Cronies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am sure this is a looney scheme they cooked up to loot the poor and unemployed and benefit one of his low life corporate buddies - they tried this a few years ago when they privatized teh prison food service and were serving uneatable garbage to the inmates while making a fortune -shame on them.

  •  It's about Money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJ in Camden, Ticorules

    First off JP Morgan makes a crap load of money off the plan so there is no danger for food stamp recipients yet!.
    Those who didn't know that need to dig just a bit deeper.

    Second: What conservatives won't talk about is the cost of administering the drug panels. See with our Crony Capitalism system, this isn't a program to deny benefits as much as it is to do exactly what the hypocritical conservatives do better than anyone. Spend unneeded money , expanding the government deficit in the name of privatization which is another way of saying we are gonna get screwed again. It's a perfect profit making opportunity for the diagnostics companies who may have seen business level off after people stopped seeing the Doctors because the cost of insurance got too high and companies laid off so many of their workers they don't need to spend as much to humiliate their work forces.

    Some conservative may have mentioned it out of racial bias but I'll bet anything that someone else heard it and said "hey" $$$$. So , you want to fight this BS? Ask them how much the drug panels will cost for 50 million people . How often will they be administered and what will be the total program costs each year. Ask them who would do it and how much profit is in it?.  

    I can assure you the cost of drug testing the food stamp population will double the cost of the entire program while disqualifying such a small percentage, someone will inevitably ask, "why are we doing this?" "Shhhh" all the congress people will say.

    Here is the perfect precursor to compare it with: Bankruptcy reform. We did that in 2005 to protect against the abuse of the bankruptcy system by those "damn Hippies". Before the "reform " passed, the FBI estimated fraud was .02% of the total bankruptcies filed.

    Now it costs 5x more to file, it's much harder for consumers AND even worse, they have place PE capital and Derivative holders as the most secured creditors in business bankruptcies. Yes, that's Wall Street slipping right ahead of wage earners in the pecking order of who gets paid when a firm liquidates. A recent study found that a far higher percentage of Chapter 11 filings  fail since 2005, because  the deadlines to reorganize are much tighter and creditors are much more apt to push for liquidation especially if they have bets on that the business will fail.

     If they start talking about ideological issues, ignore them and follow the money. That applies to anything that happens in Congress, by both sides. Who are the monetary winners and losers? The losers will always be those who can least afford to fight and to lose.

    This battle over drug testing welfare recipients is just another in a long line of cold calculated greed driven plans that , as a side benefit, dehumanize  the people in the most need. That's how they get the support to pass them. If it weren't for the little Nazis among us, half this shit wouldn't pass the smell test.

  •  Here is the cost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJ in Camden, Ticorules

    Straight from an Advocate of drug testing the working population:

    There are several types of drug testing procedures available, including blood, urine and hair specimen. Blood tests are generally only used in extreme cases. Hair specimen testing costs about $115-$150 per test nationally and can indicate drug use as far back as ninety days. Most drugs are detectable in urine between one to four days and the costs are much less, approximately $44 per test. There are in the region of fifty five million tests carried out in the United States per annum, ninety percent of which are urine.
    The key here is how often. Because if they want it once a month they just doubled the cost of the food stamp program.
  •  Billionaire Stephen Schwartzman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ..thinks you have it bass-ackward.

    Trying to raise his taxes one thin dime is akin to a war on Rich people. It's like Hitler invading Poland.

    Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 12:52:06 AM PST

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