There is something inherently wrong with Florida governor Rick Scott. Everything he touches seems to turn to doo-doo. (I’m trying to be polite here)
The “mine, mine, mine, me, me, me” foolks* are all praise be and glory hallelujahs over Rick Scott’s signing a bill to require mandatory drug testing for applicants for public assistance in Florida.
That’s right if you are down on your luck in Florida and lost your job, or your spouse being the dead beat that he (or she) is and left you with the kids to feed and without an option other than to apply for public assistance, you must first provide the state with a sample for drug testing. Yep, hair, urine or blood is what the state of Florida will now require as part of the application process for public assistance.
The far right or as I like to call them “those selfish people” are tickled pink that “welfare people” (we know what they really mean) will now have to submit to drug testing before they can collect public assistance benefits. Now don’t get me wrong, I like many other people, don’t think that taxpayer dollars should go to drug sales. (barring the pharmaceutical companies of course with the huge benefit they reaped from the Medicare drug plan. nudge, nudge wink,wink)
Because “we don’t need no welfare people buying their drugs with our tax money”. The comment boards on all the news sites all lit up with that repeated refrain. (There apparently is a lot of left-brain thinking going on in the far right world. Especially among those who were typing out their messages while furiously clutching their cans of Bud.)
Here are some of the specifics.
An applicant will have to submit to drug testing when they apply to DCF (Dept of Children and Families) for assistance.
The state is required to tell them that they won’t have to submit for the test if they just cancel their application and walk away. (ain’t that just swell of them?)
If they fail the test the first time they are banned from receiving assistance for six months.
If they fail a second time they are banned from benefits for three years.
If they pass the test the taxpayers will pay for it. (Test costs range from $10-$25 (as reported by the Miami Herald).
If they fail the test the applicant has to pay for the test. No mention is made about retesting if the applicant is insistent that the test is a false positive. (more expense)
Now does anyone else see what is wrong with this picture?
Never mind that the ACLU is all over this like a Miami cop on a pastelito. There are privacy issues involved here after all. And of course the far right will be all over the ACLU about it. (They never seem to recognize the ACLU has defended the right-wing too.)
Here is what is going to happen. The Tax Payers (you and I) are going to pay for this coming and going and who really benefits?
Follow the money trail.
Solantic, the urgent care chain co-founded by Rick Scott offers, you guessed it, drug testing as one of their services. Yeah we know Rick divested himself of his shares. (and put them in his wife’s name) I’m telling you this guy doesn’t only look like a weasel…
You see the right-wing crowd chanting Go Rick Scott! fail to realize that Rick Scott continues to cost them more money with policies that are designed to play up to the Tea Party.
I already mentioned the ACLU. The state is going to have to defend lawsuits about this bill. (So there’s some extra money the state doesn’t have. Ask all the Broward County teachers that received their walking papers recently.)
Again let’s continue down the money trail.
So someone who can’t afford to eat or pay their rent (or for child care so that they can work), applies for public assistance and fails a drug test. (let’s ignore for the moment how prevalent false positives are with drug tests) The question is: How do they think they are going to collect the fee on a failed drug test? They have no money to begin with. Are they going to require them to pay for the test up front? So where will they get the money to do that? (Sounds like a Catch-22 to me Captain Yossarian) If they pass the test the taxpayers will pay for the test. So for the taxpayers this is a lose/lose situation. Either way we are going to foot the bill.
Why are the Tea Partiers so happy again?
So who wins? Follow the yellow brick road. The drug testing labs will see about 4,000 drug tests a month that they otherwise wouldn’t have seen prior to the bill.
Is this part of Rick Scott’s job creation policy that he ran on last year? Or just a great way to push some more taxpayer money off to his and his buddies’ investments.
Now I am not going to just sit here and type out a little Rick bashing. (Though I do enjoy being right about this weasel. I told people not to vote for him and weekly he sure does a fine job of proving me correct. Yes, I do enjoy gloating.)
Bear with me I will offer an alternative.
Look, people skate on the old piss tests all the time. There are many ways to defeat drug testing. There are whole industries built around it. Cocaine, methamphetamine and most other drugs leave the body system in a very short period of time so with a modicum of planning a drug user can get around the drug test. (Pot smokers however will have a 30 day drying out period.) So really the only ones they are going to catch are the most habitual of users. A very small percentage of the applicants I’ll bet.
So, you want to keep cash from DCF out of the hands of drug dealers? Then stop giving welfare recipients checks to be cashed.
Give them a DCF debit card instead. If you have used a FSA (Flexible Spending Account) pre-tax medical deduction for out-of-pocket health care expenses you know that the debit card that your insurance provider gives you can only be used for specific types of purchases. If it isn’t on the list of pre-approved items the card rejects the purchase. The same could be done with DCF cards. Purchases could be tracked. Non-eligible purchases could be prevented. The cardholder could be required to provide ID at the point of purchase and prevents someone from giving their card to their drug dealer. It’s actually pretty simple and it would put a halt to the very thing that Rick Scott claims this bill was about and at a fraction of the cost to the taxpayers.
But we all know that isn’t what this is really all about now is it?
Follow the money trail.
*foolks: hybridization of fools and folks.
- ACLU Sues Rick Scott Over Mandatory Drug Testing For Florida State Workers (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rick Scott Can’t Explain Why He Took Obama Stimulus Money After Denouncing It (politicore.wordpress.com)
- Fla. to require drug tests of welfare applicants (cbsnews.com)