rides the wave
of Republican-controlled states trying to make people seeking unemployment or welfare benefits take drug tests—a few of which will be holding their presidential primaries soon:
Jeff Hullinger: [Lawmakers] have bantered about the proposition that welfare recipients should be drug tested. How do you feel about that?
Mitt Romney: Well my own view is, it’s a great idea. People who are receiving welfare benefits, government benefits, we should make sure they’re not using those benefits to pay for drugs. I think it’s an excellent idea.
The funny thing is, there's a chance this is something Romney actually believes in—ThinkProgress reports that it's a position he held in his 1994 Senate race
against Ted Kennedy. No word on how many times he changed his position in the intervening years, though.
Regardless of how many times Mitt Romney has changed his position, what hasn't changed is that this is a terrible, terrible idea. For one thing, the courts blocked such a law in Florida as violating the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. For another, the Florida law showed that only a minuscule percentage of welfare applicants will fail drug tests, ultimately costing the state money as it had to reimburse them for the costs of the test. That up-front cost to unemployment and welfare applicants is, in fact, the major way states might save money through such laws, as needy people are unable to apply for the benefits they qualify for because they can't afford to pay for drug testing.
Romney's enthusiasm for such measures might not be diminished by a counter-requirement that elected officials have to undergo the same drug testing they're forcing on their struggling constituents, but it would sure be fun to see Aasif Mandvi present him with a pee cup.