Monday, October 12, 2015

Maybe we should drug test Gambit

A few weeks ago, Gambit endorsed Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne in the gubernatorial election.  Here's what their editorial says.
We cannot afford another culture-warrior governor who’d rather grandstand on social issues than solve the structural problems that hold our state back. We can do better. We must do better.
Here is how Jay Dardenne proposes to do better
Dardenne, a Baton Rouge Republican, had run a clean, upbeat campaign in his bid for governor, rolling out folksy and decidedly positive TV ads that had a “Morning in America” feel to them. But his latest ad promising to drug test beneficiaries of welfare and unemployment insurance is the political equivalent of tossing raw meat to the most ravenous, base voters.

Drug testing welfare recipients has become an increasingly popular political gimmick in red-state America, but the results of drug testing recipients of food stamps shows that drug use among that population is much, much lower than the general populace based on how few welfare recipients actually test positive for drugs
It's also incredibly wasteful.  That column goes on to cite some figures from Think Progress  collected from seven different states.
Missouri spent more than $336,000 to drug test nearly 39,000 welfare applicants, of whom 48 tested positive for drugs. That comes to $7,000 per positive result. Utah spent $65,000 to test 9,500 applicants and busted 29, or $2,200 per positive result. And on and on. The evidence shows that welfare recipients, overwhelmingly single mothers and their dependent children, are not druggies
There's also this to consider. Drug testing is big business and, in Florida, it's already proven to be a big hellmouth of corruption
Conveniently, Rick Scott pushed mandatory drug testing—provided, in part, by his wife’s company, Solantic. Scott transferred his $62 million stake in the company to his wife only a few months before mandating drug testing for state employees and welfare recipients. Many companies provide drug testing, including Quest, LabCorps, Roche, and Mobile Diagnostic Testing. There are programs by DATIA and others on how to start your own testing business or become a contractor
On the other hand, Gambit assures us that Dardenne is "a man guided by his inner moral compass" so that's probably not something we have to worry about, right?

No comments: