Rick Perry: Drug Test All Welfare Recipients

Rick Perry wants anyone who receives government assistance to be forced to undergo drug testing:

MT. PLEASANT, Iowa – Texas Gov. Rick Perry said on Wednesday he wouldn’t be opposed to welfare recipients also being drug-tested, joining fellow candidate Newt Gingrich in suggesting that federal aid should be tied to substance use.

“I don’t have a problem with–before you get any dollars from the federal government–that you’re drug-tested,” Perry said in response to a man who suggested the idea at a meet-and-greet in Mt. Pleasant that drew more than 80 people.

Perry pointed out that as a pilot in the Air Force, he himself had been tested. “I don’t have a problem in the world with that,” he said.

Gingrich made waves on the same subject when he told Yahoo News in late November that one of the ways to curb drug use is to make it more expensive. “It could be through testing before you get any kind of federal aid–unemployment compensation, food stamps, you name it,” he said.

A similar plan was put into place earlier this year in Florida. As I noted at the time, the Florida is likely unconstitutional and, indeed, a Federal Judge recently issued an injunction preventing the law from being enforced until a final hearing is held. Of course, Perry and Gingrich care nothing about the Constitution and individual rights in matters like this, this is pure political pandering and demonization of the poor, most of whom just happen to be members of minority groups. But, hey, if it gets you votes, right?

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Could this be coupled with an IQ test for all political candidates?

    In addition to the constitutional and racial issues, it has to be said that welfare recipients have a low rate of drug use. If a state has the resources to drug test people, the wise investment is to focus in all on people on probation and parole
    http://www.samefacts.com/2011/10/drug-policy/the-opportunity-cost-of-drug-testing-welfare-recipients/

  2. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Hell, the fact there are not even more strings attached to welfare payments nearly is as much of a travesty as the welfare program itself.

    Sorry, Huggy Bear, but if you’re directly taking money out of Johnny Punch Clock’s wallet and then handing it over to Slacker McCrackpipe, to make yourself feel better talking about race and class at cocktail parties, that’s not all the way kosher. Ask Johnny.

    Besides there’s a mountain of precedents, both in the public and private sectors, for conditioning certain benefits on not being a scumbag.

    You can’t get hired into a job in law enforcement if you have a criminal record. Duh.

    Similarly you can’t get hired in a daycare center if you’ve been shooting dope or if you like young folks a little too much. Companies for decades have been conditioning all forms of employment on clean drug tests and on clean credit histories. If a job directly affects public safety not only can you pre-screen those folks you can randomly drug test them after they’ve been hired. Even liberals can figure out why. It’s not a good idea to have meth addicts driving big rigs on the highways or building apartment buildings, don’t you think?

    The same principles apply to welfare cases. Or at least they should so apply. If you’re going to be on the public dole the public should have the ability to manage its investment by not having you snort its money into every orifice in the form of hallucinogenics. Even crackwhores would be able to grasp that rationale. There are no free lunches.

  3. Because we prefer our drug addicts to be muggers …

    Actually Perry is playing to the Social Darwinism (re)emergent on the far right. Sadly, the unstated message is that addicts should just f’ off and die.

  4. (BTW, isn’t it REALLY funny that pot smoking is no longer an impediment to high office, but that it should be to survival?)

  5. Fiona says:

    I think there should be a law requiring that Republican candidates be drug-tested before each debate. I’m pretty sure Perry was on speed during the last one, and most of the rest of them appear to be smoking crack given the nonsense that spews from their mouths.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    OK, Perry–but when you say “anyone who receives gov’t assistance” that means EVERYBODY. Including all your friends in the banks that got all those bailouts, hmmm?

  7. Console says:

    We have to rationalize why people are poor and we aren’t so we keep trying to make economics into a morality play. Fact is, most poor people can’t have drug habits because they are poor and drugs cost money…. IMAGINE THAT. And drug dealers typically don’t take things like EBT cards.

    In Florida’s case, they didn’t even save any money from the program because something like less than 2 percent of their welfare recipients actually tested positive.

  8. Herb says:

    Freedom is mandating the chemical analysis of other people’s body fluids….

  9. David says:

    @Console: What? Let facts intrude? The program costs more than it saves, has constitutional issues, but it makes things rougher on the poor, and your problem is?

  10. Ernieyeball says:

    Ricky Dink sez: “I don’t have a problem with–before you get any dollars fron the federal government–that you’re drug-tested,”…

    Presidential Election Campaign Fund
    Each major political party is entitled to public funds (approximately $15 million in 2008) for its national Presidential nominating convention.

    This would mean all voters registered Red or Blue.
    Pee in a cup.
    So why don’t YOU…RICKY!

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Hell, the fact there are not even more strings attached to welfare payments nearly is as much of a travesty as the welfare program itself.

    The same principles apply to welfare cases. Or at least they should so apply.

    Funny how some people want these kind of standards to apply to people on welfare but not to everyone else who gets a piece of the action from Uncle Sugar…

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    Fact is, most poor people can’t have drug habits because they are poor and drugs cost money…. IMAGINE THAT. And drug dealers typically don’t take things like EBT cards.

    lol, wrong and durg dealers love EBT cards….

  13. matt says:

    @G.A.Phillips: Some drug dealers are probably willing to use an EBT card but most don’t want the attention…

  14. Console says:

    @G.A.Phillips:

    And let me guess, they love WIC checks too. All the juicy juice and cheese you desire.

  15. anjin-san says:

    I’m confused. I thought conservatives wanted to curb the power of government.