So. Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Wants To Drug Test Everyone Who Gets Unemployment Insurance
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley wants to follow in the footsteps of Florida by requiring all recipients of unemployment insurance to pass a drug test:
Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday she wants to institute drug testing for people who apply for state unemployment benefits.
“I so want drug testing,” Haley told a receptive, hometown gathering of Rotarians at a breakfast reception held at the Country Club of Lexington. “It’s something I’ve been wanting since the first day I walked into office.”
However, Haley stopped short of proposing any such testing for those who receive welfare benefits, including those on food stamps.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently signed into law a measure that requires welfare recipients to pass annual drug screens. However, early indications are that the measure is unlikely to save that cash-strapped state any money, and is highly vulnerable to costly lawsuits on constitutional grounds, analyses show.
Haley’s call for drug-testing is not entirely new. She made national headlines last year when she called for mandatory testing while running for governor.
But now her office is actively investigating the idea and will push to implement it if it’s possible, she said.
“We have to pull the numbers,” she told reporters after her speech. “We have to make sure this works. We have to see what the return is on it. And, we have to see federally and legally if we can do it.”
While they’re at it, I would suggest that Haley’s staff also review the just filed law suit against the State of Florida, the Supreme Court’s decision in Chandler v. Miller, and the Michigan U.S. District Court opinion in Marchwinski v. Howard. Because the plan she proposes strikes me as being blatantly unconstitutional.
Again repeating what I said in the Florida piece, I certainly won’t argue with a lawyer as to whether or not it will pass judicial review. If you say it won’t, then I’ll take you at your word on that.
However, why is this such a bad idea? If the people are giving someone money to live, then don’t the people have a right to insure that the money is being spent on living expenses?
My answer would be that the 4th Amendment says its a bad idea, and that government cannot do things like this without (1) probable cause or (2) the type of particularized need to ensure public safety that allows for drug testing of airline pilots and railroad conductors
It seems to me that no-refuse DWI checkpoints are dangerously close to running afoul the 4th Amendment (and fifth come to think of it) as well.
I guess what it comes down to is this: Do the people have any rights at all to determine if their (public) money is being spent for it’s intended purpose once it reaches it’s destination?
If not, then perhaps the govt should get out of the business of handing out money?
People aren’t drug tested when they/companies pay into the system. Why should they be to receive the benefits?
The courts who have examined the issue have said no
Ahhh… the continuing criminalization of poverty. Y’know, if the economy were growing at 5%+ annually, and unemployment was somewhere in the 3-4% range, you _might_ be able to make some generalizations about the sort of person who stayed unemployed for significant lengths of time. But in this day and age? When over 8,000,000 jobs basically vanished in 2008-09 and haven’t been replaced yet? To presume someone on unemployment has some sort of moral failing – even during good times – is beyond appalling – it is monstrous.
Yes, let’s see if we can’t make life for the unemployed just a little more miserable. Maybe we can find others ways to humiliate them, to make them feel less-than-equal, to shove their own desperation in their faces.
Jesus Republicans are as-holes.
As for the DWI checkpoints, I can only assume that the justification is that you don’t _have_ to be driving around, and that if you do so, a no-refuse checkpoint becomes ‘reasonable’ in the realm of search & seizure… not sure I agree with it, but I expect that’s the reasoning.
Applying that to social benefits that (as Polaris points out) one cannot really opt out of paying into seems a much larger leap. Not to mention the fact that there’s no safety concern like there would be for pilots, etc. This is purely a moral judgement, and it’s one I don’t think its supporters have really thought through…
Even if you put aside the constitutional and moral arguments objections, it still is likely to cost more than it saves. In Florida, 98% of recipients are passing such a test. So 98% of the money spent administering the tests is being wasted.
I would submit that when you accept some else’s money, you have to give up something in return. The classic case is of course, working. I don’t see what’s so humilating about conditions being put on money you get unless of course employment is also a humiliating condition?
I accept as a fact that this particular method won’t pass judicial muster, but we the people should have rights not only individually but collectively as well. And one of those should be a right to know that our (public) money is being spent on what we’ve agreed to spend it on via our elected representatives.
@michael reynolds: Well, once you’ve been on the dole long enough, companies won’t even consider your applications anymore, so you’ll basically _never_ recover any sort of career beyond minimum-wage servitude, so why not just declare them to be “non-persons” and get it all over with. Heck, Matt Vadum just proposed that the other day…
@Polaris: Huh? How exactly is getting unemployment like “taking someone else’s money”? The entire point of the system is that it’s _not_ someone else’s, it part of a fund that workers pay tax $$ into, and get back if necessary.
Also, my apologies to bluepenguin – I thought this very point had been made by Polaris earlier, but mis-read the attribution…
Then why stop an unemployment? It’s drug test people when their houses burn down before we let them collect on their insurance. Let’s also drug test sick people before their medical benefits will pay for their life-saving surgery. And hey, if your bank suddenly runs out of cash and you can’t get your money out, don’t expect the FDIC to help until you pee in a cup to prove your worth.
Michael has a point. The programs do not really save money. There is no rush to do this is in states with actual conservatives in charge because there’s no evidence it would be cost-effective.
The only folks who make out are the ones in the drug test business.
Here in Florida, Scott’s incentive is well known. I just didn’t know Gov Haley had connections to the drug test industry.
Plus, there’s that pesky Constitutional stuff Doug mentioned.
No, taking unemployment is taking someone else’s money. It’s not a trust fund any more than SS is a trust fund. As for why stop it? The collective people decide that after a while, a chronically unemployed person is a poor bet to return to the workforce and become a contributing citizen. Sadly, that’s probably accurate.
We got rid of the old style Dole system in this country for a reason (largely because of the corrosive entitlement culture it breeds). Just ask a few Londoners of late how well that turned out….
“If the people are giving someone money to live, then don’t the people have a right to insure that the money is being spent on living expenses?”
First, we do have programs that direct payment, such as food stamps and public housing; the purpose of unemployment is to replace general income. They can use unemployment money for whatever they feel they need, conditioned on the expectation that its temporary. Second, just because someone tests for drugs does not mean they used government money, nor any of their own money. Third, drug addiction is a disease; the approach to it needs to be more humane.
So, you’re basically saying that when someone loses their job, which is already difficult enough and often through no fault of one’s own, they must then be forced to have the state humiliate them by forcing them to pee in a cup before they can apply for unemployment benefits? And you don’t think that’s draconian, let alone a violation of the 4th Amendment?
Wow. That’s pretty mind-boggling. I also don’t see anything particularly conservative about such a policy, which seems to represent a massive government intrusion into privacy, and a relatively expensive one at that. Although I guess it would be a boon to the drug-testing industry.
Finally, in this economy, assuming that someone who has been out of work for months or even a year or two is likely to become a productive employee at any time in the future is a fallacy.
I am saying no such thing. Just because you lose your job does not mean you have to collect unemployment. However if you do (accept public money), then it seems reasonable to me that you allow the people giving you that money (the collective public) to impose some conditions on that money.
Getting a government handout is not a right!
As for it being a violation of the 4th amendment, I’ve already stipulated to greater legal authority at least here, that it probably is. I was talking about the ethics not the legality.
Not only peeing in a cup, but peeing in a cup while someone else is watching.
This is just disgraceful.
In addition to probably being unconstitutional, as we are seeing here in Florida, it is a waste of money. So far, the state has saved approx. $300 on restricted benefits and spent over $1,000 on testing. (And that is before you consider any legal time/costs associated with the inevitable Court action.)
On the other hand, the drug testing business here in Florida is booming. Maybe it is really just a jobs programs.
A couple of observations:
1) From a how-the-courts-rule standpoint, I don’t doubt that Doug is correct. From the standpoint of how I think the courts should rule, it’s an iffy question on food stamps and welfare, but…
2) It’s not an iffy question on unemployment insurance. By working and putting money into the system, you’re earning the right to take it out of the system (absent some sort of fraud, assuming eligibility) when you’re unemployed. Whether it counts as a “trust fund” or not, it is a reward for having worked.
3) The only reservation I have on #2 is when we’re talking beyond the initial 26 weeks. At that point, it’s less insurance and more public assistance.
4) Constitutionality aside, I don’t think it’s particularly good policy. I don’t like the idea of tying government benefits to unrelated behavior because it opens the door for… well… anything. This is one of the reasons I get *really* annoyed when people use the “government assistance” angle to justify things like helmet laws or anti-smoking laws (ie we have the right to regulate this food because the government may have to pick up the health tab). This gives the government the moral authority to dictate any and all behavior because of the vested interest they have in our health and well-being.
I think Gov. Haley should have to pee in a cup before she should be allowed to receive any public money.
Maybe she also should get DNA proof that her husband is the father of her kids too? Since I’m not sure that the collective public would be willing to give public money to an adulterer. (There were all these rumors about her, and it’s rather clear that some politicians are adulterers.)
So what you’re saying is that if someone has been paying into the unemployment insurance program for 20 years, they have no right to get unemployment benefits without peeing in a cup? That after 20 years of contributing to a risk pool, they have no right to claim against it when they need to?
If it were your money, I’d agree with you. Unfortuately it’s not. Just because you pay into it doesn’t make it your money. It just makes it a tax.
I’m not saying that this partifcular program is a good idea. Don’t get me wrong. It would seem that it probably is wasteful in terms of cost efficiency and likely won’t pass judicial review (both of which should have been considered ahead of time).
1. If you accept someone else’s money, you given them a right to have some say.
2. If you don’t think that’s right (and I don’t for the record), then don’t take the money (and the government should get out of the business of giving money away).
@Michael: The money in Florida isn’t being wasted. It’s going right into the governor’s pocket, since he transferred ownership in his drug-testing centers to his wife.
At least I understand why Rick Scott forced this through — he’s a slimy crook and he was looking for a way to steal from the state while pandering to the Tea Partiers who get high sniffing their own moral superiority. But what does Nikki Haley have to gain? Is she just a creep?
@legion: @Trumwill: “The entire point of the system is that it’s _not_ someone else’s, it part of a fund that workers pay tax $$ into, and get back if necessary. ”
I think the problem with that theory is that if a worker is fired for a drug-related problem, then it’s probably “for cause,” and will be a forfeiture of right to unemployment benefits. So there is at least some concept of a morals clause in the system — the employee has to be reasonably responsible as a worker and the unemployed worker is expected to make reasonable efforts to find employment.
I could not possibly disagree more. Just because it’s not in a separate bucket doesn’t mean it wasn’t collected for a specific purpose. You say people “don’t have” to take unemployment, but they _do_ have to pay in – your argument holds no water, either legally or morally. Furthermore, you keep referring to it as “public” money, yet you also consider unemployment benefits “taking someone else’s money”… how are the unemployed no longer part of the public?
Explain to me how it’s different, technically, morally, or financially, from paying my car insurance premium.
If you are fired for cause, you don’t get unemployment. As PD Shaw above suggests, that means there is already an implicit moral clause built into your employment (since getting fired for failing a drug test IS cause).
Again, it’s the same thing. If you take someone else’s money, you play by their rules. That’s explicit in many professions (like teaching).
@PD Shaw: Close, but not quite. There is (in your example) a morals clause between _that_ employee and _that_ employer, but no such clause exists in unemployment benefits. Furthermore (to stave off the predictable next comment from the right) you can’t simply add such a clause now, because you’re basically making one-sided modifications to a contract, where the other party (the potentially-unemployed worker who’s been contributing throughout their career) has no way to respond or opt out.
Easy. No one is compelling you to pay your car insurance premium or if so to any particular company (of course in most states you can’t drive legally but that is your option).
You don’t get to choose whether or not you pay taxes (unless you like to view the prison system from the inside).
Everyone who works pays a premium for unemployment insurance. It comes out of your paycheck. In that respect, it is very much like a trust fund, and it’s not all “other people’s money,” especially if you worked for decades without losing a job. This argument is just another way to demean people who aren’t working. What are these people supposed to do, just roll over and die if they can’t find a job?
Darn – Polaris was quicker on the draw! But my response still stands – that morals clause is _not_ withing the unemployment system, it is within the specific employer-employee contract.
Yes there is. It’s implicit but it’s there. The law states that you don’t get UE if you are fired for cause. That makes the preexisting morals clause part of your UE contract as well.
See above. It was always there (hidden in the ‘for clause’ language of UE benefits). As for adding it later, I’ve got news for you. It happens all the time with contracts (adding stuff later). How enforceable that is, is a legal matter and thus beyond the scope of this particular sub-thead (since we all agree that it likely won’t pass judicial muster).
In the state of Florida, they do for any titled vehicle.
That doesn’t fall under one of the categories. I agree that there is a government controlled monopoly on this, but would you still demand drug screening if it were a privately held monopoly?
All the more reason to object to restricting the benefits for unnecessary reasons. Nobody demands drug screening before you’re protected by the police or military.
Unemployment is putatively insurance for which you are required to pay premiums. Why should you have to submit to intrusive government investigation to claim something you’ve already paid for?
So what you’re saying is if someone works hard for 20 years, paying their taxes all along the way, and then gets laid off, and they ever smoke a joint they should get no unemployment benefits, which they have paid into through their taxes for 20 years? Oh, and also, they’re worthless moochers who just want a government handout?
By that logic your Federal Income and Social Security taxes are really part of a personal trust fund too. Don’t expect the IRS to see it that way…just saying. The fact is, it’s a tax and that makes it other people’s money.
You should save so you have at least two (four is better) months to live on. This is basic common sense.
There is an alernative. You may have heard of it. It’s called a piggy bank. Otherwise, get a minimum wage job to tide you over and promise yourself not to be short sighted in the future.
Of course dying on the street is an option too. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I am not responsible for YOUR bad choices.
@Polaris: I still disagree with your calling it implicit in UE benefits, but I concur that it’s going to have to be fought out on a larger stage than here 🙂 Hopefully, Gov Haley will hold off on any implementation until the Florida lawsuits provide some guidance.
Pretty much. They had an alternative. They could have saved. They chose not to. Life’s not fair and it’s not my responsibility to make it so.
@Stormy Dragon: Is it a tax or not? If it is not a tax, then I will concede the point. If it is (and I believe it is), then it is other people’s money and is no more insureance than SS is.
Just out of legal curiosity, what if marijuana were decriminalized and the test was for marijuana usage? Would this skirt 4th amendment issues?
The problem some of us have with this is that it appears to be somewhat one-sided. I mean, is the guv suggesting that, say, executives of banks and insurance companies that administer state pension funds pee in the cup as a condition of getting the contract? Nooooo. She’s targeting working class folks, for the most part. Yet the aforementioned execs are getting public money, so why shouldn’t the public have to right know in these cases, too? I mean the ability of Banker Gotrox to fvck up the state economy is orders of magnitude greater than that of the out-of-work Joe Shit, the ragman. Wouldn’t it be prudent to drug test those guys?
Well, Jesus, to even ask the question is to perceive the answer immediately. Everybody knows that bank presidents and insurance executives are not the kind of people that use drugs. Those kinds of people are never, ever to be found in the executive suites. So no peeing in the cup for those guys, no matter how much state money they get.
On the other hand — Joe, stand a little closer to the cup, willya?
Pretty much. They had an alternative. They could have saved. They chose not to. Life’s not fair and it’s not my responsibility to make it so.
They paid their taxes, including unemployment insurance.
The fact is, it’s a tax and that makes it other people’s money.
Scumbag Polaris thinks every dollar you pay in taxes belongs to him, but not you.
@Anon: I believe Doug will say the legal problem is the intrusive nature of the search, not necessarily what is being searched for. It may pose an additional problem (5th Amend. right against self-incrimination), but I’m not sure about that.
But it does raise the issue that any problem of drug use is little different from alcohol use for the unemployed.
I do not know about other states but in Illinois the money that supports Unemployment Insurance Benefits is paid for by the EMPLOYER not the employee. Unless things have changed since I was an employer. When I was an employer there was NO DEDUCTION from an employees paycheck to fund UI.
The insurance premium charged to employers covers the cost of Unemployment Benefits for a normal 6 month claim which is all the recipient can draw in a benefit year. Unemployment Insurance extensions in times of high unemployment are funded by the Federal Government and I am guessing come out of the General Fund.
Unemployment Benefits are based on what an employee has earned in a year long base period not contributions by anyone working x number of years.
The Weekly Benefit Amount paid out has nothing to do with how much money a recipient has in the bank or under their mattress.
So whose money is it? To the employer paying into the system it is a cost of doing business passed on to customers. When someone starts drawing on UI extensions they are getting money back that they have paid as Federal Income Tax.
Maybe we should make everyone take a drug test who pays Federal Income Tax…that should cover it.
Paying your taxes is not a great civic virtue. I’d say it’s a minimum civic requirement. They could have saved and didn’t.
Btw, I thought there was a policy here against calling other people names, but perhaps I misremembered….
@mantis: Minus the name-calling, yes. I think that every dollar you spend in taxes belongs to the people of which I am one (as are you).
@PD Shaw: That’s between you and your employer. You may not have taken drugs until the day you were laid off. If you weren’t caught by your employer while you were employed, it doesn’t affect the main deal. If an employer suspects you of taking drugs and wants to fire you and deny you unemployment on that basis, they should test you. That’s where drugs and employment are relevant.
Paying your taxes is not a great civic virtue. I’d say it’s a minimum civic requirement. They could have saved and didn’t.
Listen, scumbag. You pay your unemployment taxes so there is unemployment benefits if you lose your job. That is their purpose. What part of that don’t you understand?
As for your “they could have saved” crap, a lot of people can’t really save and depend on their jobs. Good for you if you don’t. Others are not as lucky.
Other people’s tax dollars, especially those that go towards unemployment, don’t belong to you, Polaris, as much as you’d like to think they do.
In short a lot of you are up in arms because it doesn’t seem “fair”. Guess what. Life’s not fair either, and the fact that upper income people get treated better than lower income people (employed or not) is hardly a man bites dog story.
You first, Nikki. Let’s see it on live tv, too.
I think that every dollar you spend in taxes belongs to the people of which I am one (as are you).
No, you’ve made it quite clear that even if people pay their taxes, they don’t deserve unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs, because you personally don’t want them to get them. Otherwise, they should get them, because they are part of the people and they paid into the system. GFY, scumbag.
On a sidenote, it strikes me as odd that of all of the people we should go after for unfairly collecting government benefits, that we should target those that are among those that we know worked and contributed to the tax pot (or had money contributed on their behalf by their employer). These are the people that held down a job and were, until they lost their job, working to try to pay their own way. This isn’t to say that I have no problems with the UEI system, but it really strikes me as a rather mean-spirited at people who were contributing to the system.
You’re name calling again and I am going to ask you again, politely and nicely, to stop doing that. Yes, I agree that UE money is public money for a specific purpose: To help those that lose their jobs. The key part is that it’s PUBLIC money. If you don’t want public money (and any possible strings attached) then you should have planned so you didn’t need to take any. That’s not an earthshattering revelation I hope.
That’s bolluxs. You can always choose to save. If you don’t then you are taking a chance.
Of it does when viewed as part of the collective whole. That’s what PUBLIC mean means. It belongs to all of us.
This isn’t to say that I have no problems with the UEI system, but it really strikes me as a rather mean-spirited at people who were contributing to the system.
Indeed it is, but that’s a feature, not a bug. The Republican Party has declared all out war on anyone who works for a living.
@Polaris: Don’t think it’s fair that your hard-earned money goes towards paying for benefits for drug-addled grifters. Hey, man, life’s not fair.
@mantis: No mantis, you are deliberately misreading what I am posting. As an ethical proposition, I feel that if you take public money, then you subject yourself to public demands. If you don’t want to meet those demands, then don’t take the money. That’s a personal opinon.
As for the tax money itself, it does belong to me and everyone else. That’s what public money means after all.
@Trumwill: You’re right. It’s not fair. In this country I get to say so, too.
No mantis, you are deliberately misreading what I am posting.
No, I’m not. You’re quite clearly saying that you have a claim to the taxes others pay, but they themselves do not.
As an ethical proposition, I feel that if you take public money, then you subject yourself to public demands.
And I argue that these particular demands are immoral, unjustified, unfair, and unconstitutional. And they won’t last, even if enacted, as a result. And yes, anyone who thinks they are a good idea is a scumbag.
As for the tax money itself, it does belong to me and everyone else.
But not the person to whom you wish to deny unemployment benefits. They have no claim whatsoever. GFY.
@Polaris: Hey, if you don’t want to drive a fuel-efficient car, you shouldn’t use public roads. Those were paid for with tax dollars. Hell, if you want to use public roads, we reserve the right to attach whatever strings we darn well please. Those kids whose lemonade stands we shut down… I’ll bet their parents use public roads, too. So I say, we let them have their lemonade stands as long as their parents refrain from using public roads. Welfare queens.
@Trumwill: Yes the government can and does attach all sorts of strings attached to things paid with public money.
Edit PS: Yes this bothers me too which is why (as a libertarian) I feel the government should get out of the business of handing out money pretty much period.
No, but it’s a story that needs repeating all the time. Why do folks on your side of the aisle hate poor and working class folks as much as you do? This suggested move by Gov Haley makes no sense unless you predicate it on the the theory that poor and working class people are not to be trusted — that they will steal from you unless you watch them very, very closely. That, in the end, poor and working class people are basically immoral. Why else would they be poor and working class?
For the record I am not a republican and never have been. I can’t stomache the anti-science aspect of that party. I am a conservative though.
As for the unfairness, I don’t think the govt should be giving money out to pretty much anyone, so I don’t see you think I hate the worker in particular.
@Polaris: Does that make all strings in all cases morally justified? That, because everybody uses public roads, they should be able to justify any and every intrusion into our life? If they wanted to make you pee into a cup, and if you failed the test, you would be under effective house arrest (since you can’t get on any roads)?
Isn’t that pretty much the way it works now? If you drive on a public road, you have to have insurance, you have to piss in a cup on demand, and if you don’t do this, you will be placed under arrest now.
Hence the problem with handing out public money. Too many strings attached.
@Polaris: Yes, but this particular string has never existed until this very moment when a right-wing Republican governor decided it should. There’s no public benefit to the string, and it’s hardly been overwhelmingly approved by the citizenry. So are you saying that any sitting politician should be able to attach any conditions to the paying of public money, and the recipient must accept that condition? If a male governor decided that any woman accepting UEI would have to have sex with him, would you be okay with that, too?
@Polaris: Maybe they should get out of the business of attaching stupid strings, instead.
The government will never get out of the business of attaching strings to money for the same reason none of us will (be they private citizens or corporations). The ability to lend (or outright give) money is power and no one gives that away for free. No one. That’s why the founding fathers were so careful to insure the most dysfunctional branch of our govt (the US House) was the one with the purse strings….the idea that there would be so many competing interests that the fewest amount of strings would survive.
As for the idea that a male governor should demand sex for a UEI, that’s not so far fetched. Of course doing this explicitly is illegal in most places, but sex for monetary favors (including govt grants) is quite common and almost business as usual around the world. Just as the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee.
The bottom line in all this, is yes, the rest of you are probably right to distrust the governor’s motives. That doesn’t mean in principle that public money doesn’t come with strings. It does almost always, and this particular string doesn’t seem so unreasonable. [Passing legal muster is another matter and I’ve long ceded that issue.]
So what if people on unemployment can’t pass a drug test? I fail to see how it’s remotely relevant to whether they can collect unemployment while they are out of work. Even if you don’t approve of drug use, is this likely to have any impact beyond humiliating some people who already were unlucky to be laid off?
1. It means that (presumably) money entrusted to you by the public was not used to keep you financially afloat between jobs (the intended use) but was instead used for illegal activities.
2. It means you are engaging in activity likely to make you a bad risk to be hired at all (since many/most companies these days require drug tests to be hired). If you are a bad risk to be rehired, then why should the public invest their money in you?
3. You can already be denied UE if you are fired for cause which already puts an implied moral contract in UE (since failing a drug test is cause). This simply confirms it.
Any of these points can be argued, and it probably won’t pass legal muster (I trust the legal eagles on this), but it’s not a priori unreasonable.
Indeed. We should also drug test the recipients of: Social Security, Medicare, student loans, SBA loans, government-backed mortgages, and stipends for foster children.
We should also drug test anyone who wants to drive on an interstate highway or bridge, be defended by the US military, or be treated in a public hospital.
Every dime the government spends is almost entirely other people’s money.
This would be morally reasonable I think. I also think that the govt should get out of or severely curtail such spending of course.
We do. It’s called “No refuse searches.” In addition, when a doctor at a public hospital does bloodwork on you to treat you, that blood and other fluids can be seized by the police and can be used against you. In short what you describe is essentially power the state already has.
Which is why government needs to be as small and spend as little as possible to meet the minimum demands of government. (To provide for the common defense and welfare of the nation) The more government spends, the more strings get attached and the more potential tyranny there is.
Yes, the biggest mistake poor people make is not being rich. If they would just choose to have high-paying jobs and good health they wouldn’t need anybody’s help.
This is where adherence to Libertarian philosophy falls apart. Any society that allows it’s members to die in the streets because of money isn’t civilized.
You seem to be under the impression that welfare is about being fair. It isn’t. It’s about being civilized.
1. Unless you have receipts it does no such thing. It shows you used drugs, nothing more. Even if it were proven, there are plenty of expenditures that others might think aren’t a good idea while you don’t have a job.
2. People can do plenty of things that make them more or less likely to be hired. How is that relevant, or a good idea, as this could include any behavior an employer might not approve of.
3. Definitely not, as you aren’t privy to everyone’s workplace contract. A contract that has ended by the way, so using drugs is hardly a violation of it.
I can’t think of a better description for this than deliberate cruelty for no reason.
I know you are trying to be sardonic, but you actually touch on an important point. Poverty is not some miasma or disease you can’t do anything about. Most poor people in this country are poor because they choose to be poor. If you are willing to work hard enough, there is no reason for most people to be poor. Are there exceptions? Perhaps, but don’t think poverty is some outside thing beyond a poor person’s control It almost never is.
In addition, even if you are poor, you can still save. It’s harder, that’s true, but not impossible especially since your cost of living is lower.
Oh please. People have died on the streets througout the entire history of civilization. Still do too even in the heart of some of the most “progressive” democracies in the west. In fact dying on the street almost defines civilization in some ways.
Since when? Usually welfare is about power and controlling the mob (see Bread and Circuses).
Small government means drug testing any citizen at any time? Government spending now equals tyranny? How is anyone supposed to take that seriously?
Second point first: True, and there is no reason why the people handing out public money shouldn’t deny unemployment for those reasons too.
To the first point, illegal drugs are usually expensive and usually addictive. Heroine, of course, is notorious. It seems likely to the point of near certainty that (for example) a heroine addict will feed his monkey with any money (including public money) before anything else.
I’ll tell you how it’s relevent. If the public is giving you money, then you reflect an investment by the public in your future. If you show that you are a poor risk, then the people should be able to not invest in you further.
Doesn’t matter if the employment contract has ended. The fact that you are denied UE if you are fired for cause (and drug use is cause) makes the government an invisible third party.
@David M: What I am saying is the same logic used to promote UE also promotes govt tyranny if taken far enough since all money that isn’t yours comes with strings attached.
If you don’t like the strings, don’t take the money. If you don’t think the govt should be using such strings, then don’t hand out the money (i.e. make govt smaller).
No. There are lots of ’cause’ factors that are not moral in nature, and every employer-employee is built on a different subset of those factors. Just because _some_ employees can be fired for drug use does not mean a) all employees can be fired for drug use, or b) that the cause carries over into UE benefits. Whether someone is released “for cause” or not is purely between the employer & the employee; UE benefits are quite separate… the specific reason for release is immaterial (beyond for-cause’ determination).
Basically, your entire argument throughout this thread boils down to a belief that unemployed people are, by definition, morally inferior, and that needing/using UE benefits is somehow proof of that. You say that people who didn’t save are just SOL, but you’re completely out of touch with reality… having 4 months of income saved doesn’t mean squat when the _average_ time between losing a job & finding a new one is now well over 30 weeks. The vast majority of jobless these days aren’t unemployed because they’re bums – they’re unemployed because there simply aren’t any friggin’ jobs. For someone who claims to be a conservative, wanting to spend millions of gov’t $$ to humiliate these people further with needless & pointless testing just doesn’t add up.
I never said that unemployed people are morally inferior. However, I will point out that there were people during the Great Depression that did think this and would rather eat “roof rabbit” (cat) then take a single dime of government money.
Honestly I think a little “shame” of that sort would be good for this country. There is far, far too much entitlement spending. You are not entitled to a lifestyle courtesy of the govt.
@legion: Polaris seems completely lacking in empathy, unable to see that everyone isn’t in his exact position. He’s actually a perfect Republican for today’s environment. He doesn’t like unemployment insurance and thinks it shouldn’t exist, so has no problems with government intrusions into the lives of anyone unlucky enough to be laid off. He only supports small government if it’s his small government, government is free to harass the crap out of everyone else.
I think too many people in this country (for various reasons…some laudable and some less so) have too damn much empathy. I view public assistance in the same way that Pink Floyd once showed in one of his famous videos (The Wall), of a mother reaching out to hug her children and thereby crushing their ability to grow and suceed with a moat like stonewall embrace.
We have to learn before it ruins ALL of us financially that, “No Virginia, the government does not owe you a living.”
And there you have it. You despise poor people for their, in your eyes, moral failure. That’s what I meant when I spoke of folks on your side of the aisle. Allegiance to a party has nothing really to do with this attitude. This is class hatred, as much as you’d like to think you are above such things.
And because you believe it’s a moral failure on the part of the poor, no attempt to ameliorate their condition on the part of government can ever be justified because there is no justification for (what would be in your eyes) rewarding immorality.
The necessary corollary to your view is that the rich are moral and the very rich supremely moral. Their wealth is proof of that, just as the poverty of the poor is proof of their lack of morality.
That’s a profoundly stupid point of view. And, yes, I do charge you with being profoundly stupid.
We don’t give to the poor because we like the poor, we give to the poor because we are not monsters.
Well, most of us aren’t.
I seem to recall a thread here at OTB some time ago, discussing whether or not a Libertarian should support laws prohibiting animal cruelty. I see this discussion with Polaris taking very much the same path. Only in this case the animals are poor people. But otherwise the argument Polaris is making is the same.
Am I wrong? From what I can tell, there are enough oppportunities (less now in this cruddy economy granted but still enough) that most poor people (not ALL) choose to be poor. EIther they choose not to get the needed education or training, or figure they will slide by in life.
That’s not to say that people that aren’t poor are paragons of virtue because many are not. Many non-poor are merely luckier than their poor bretheran, but luck is something you take advantage of.
The depression expression for the newly jobless or new ‘poor’ was “down on their luck’ and that’s who UE is supposed to help. Those people who through no fault of their own find themselves temporarily out of work. It’s not supposed to be a guarantee of a lifestyle and it certainly shouldn’t be assumed to come without strings attached.
Before you call me a “moral monster”, can you really be sure that I’m wrong. I don’t think I am and perhaps it’s going to take a few more “moral monsters” for this country to get it’s head back on straight. If so, then I accept the title with pride.
@samwide: I’m not even sure it’s a stupid point of view, somehow that doesn’t seem to describe quite how offensive it is. I’m not sure where people get the idea that rich=good and poor=bad, but somehow it’s never people that are struggling that come up with that.
Again you are blaming them for not being rich.
You would be wrong about that. In the Great Depression many poor and struggling people had that attitude (that being persistantly jobless was a moral failure). My grandmother and grandfather were both subsistance dirfarmers and they had that attitude. From what I can tell it was actually fairly common until the 1960s or so.
I’m calling you a moral idiot. And, I’ve no doubt, a young one at that. Live a little, kid, and learn about the world.
@Michael: Negative. I am blaming them (if that word satisfies you) for not having the gumption and drive to make the most of their opportunities. I think that criticism is valid.
Yes, I am 100% sure.
I don’t think that reducing unemployment by killing the unemployed counts as getting the country’s head on straight.
I happen to be 45 years old and have probably lived more than you can imagine, so don’t act morally superior to me. It doesn’t begin to pass the laugh test.
@Michael: I’m not advocating the killing of anyone. That rhetoric is over the top and unhelpful. I merely say that just because a person is penniliess does not mean that WE are obligated to help.
A lifestyle is NOT a right.
Polaris reminds me of my grandfather, who never believed the constitution allowed the government to take his money and give it to someone else. I’m not sure his beliefs ever changed, but he and my grandmother certainly were lucky to be on Medicare.
I apologize, you never did advocate for killing them, just watching them die rather than lift a finger to help. That certainly makes you look better.
@Polaris, eating is not a lifestyle.
I’m not sure his beliefs ever changed, but he and my grandmother certainly were lucky to be on Medicare.
Well, they should have saved their money, and deserved to die younger if they didn’t. That’s the American way!
Sure it is (eating is a lifestyle). There is no right that says you always have to have enough to eat. At least I sure don’t see it in my copy of the constitution.
Minus the obvious sarcasm, yes, that’s exactly what I think. If I had my way, you would be denied medicare too unless you could afford it or arrange to pay for it.
Edit PS: BTW this would solve the escalating health care cost problem in a screeching hurry.
And let me tell you why I’m calling you a moral idiot. In the drug testing thread, you were quite willing to tolerate the testing of working class folks, but not bankers, invoking the “life is not fair” routine. Well, if life is not fair, then you can’t really stigmatize the poor– absolutely — for their poverty, can you? Since arguing that life is not fair should, at a minimum, commit one to acknowledging that we are often simply victims of circumstances over which we have no, and can have no, control. That’s what is meant by unfair. Evidently, though, for you, poverty is never the result of having been dealt a bad hand, of being on the wrong side of the fairness lottery, it is a matter of choice.
You’re a moral idiot.
No. What I said was that thought it would be fair for bankers and such as well, but life isn’t fair. Well, guess what, it’s not. Deal.
As for stigmitizing the poor, I sure can…at least those poor that CHOOSE to be poor. That’s not all poor granted, but it’s true of a lot of the poor esp those with entitlement attitudes.
Frankly those people that sit on their butts and their poor and don’t try deserve to be stigmitized.
Minus the obvious sarcasm, yes, that’s exactly what I think.
Yes, I know. Go live on a deserted island or something. You are not fit for society.
@Polaris: Wait a minute. Either this demand isn’t unreasonable OR we should distrust the governor’s motives in imposing it. One of the other. Claiming both is simply incoherent.
OK people, this has to be a performance art piece. I’m calling BS on anyone actually being soulless enough to admit in public he would like to watch the unlucky or old die rather than helping.
Actually it’s not. It’s perfectly coherent. I’ve given three reasons why the idea (minus the legal and cost concerns which I grant probably make this unworkable) is not unreasonable. That said, it IS an extra intrusion by the governor into the lives of the citizenry and that should be viewed with suspicion. Just because there are perfectly reasnable motives doesn’t mean that unreasonble ones might not be present as well.
@WR: It’s not inconsistent to the current batch of Republicans. Because Polaris distrusts the government, he’s suspicious of anything that affects him or his people. This demand isn’t unreasonable because it affects those people.
Like? No. Am I willing to do so? Absolutely.
@Polaris: I don’t think you’re a moral monster. I’m putting my money on Asberger’s. In other words, I think you’re a moral cripple, simply unable to feel empathy for another human being to whom you are not intimately related. As loathesome as your posts are, I can only find pity for you. (And yes, I know you didn’t ask for it and don’t want it… I have no doubt you have no idea how crippled you are.)
I am offended, however, by you referring to Pink Floyd as “him.” I have it on good authority — well, from “Welcome to the Machine” — that Messrs. Waters, Wright, Mason and Gilmour would feel the same way…
This is rich. If I insist on individual responsibilty, I am a moral cripple to be pitied.
Well, I’ll wear that title with honor too. This country needs a few more “moral cripples” I think.
No. Just, no.
@David M: It’s a fairly common internet libertarian thing. I’ve seen a million Polarises out there. Mostly upper-middle class people who think the solution to everything is to be upper-middle class.
Do you honestly think you are not accepting someone else’s money somewhere along the line? Drive for a mile or two from your home, and you will almost certainly pass a home who’s owner is paying more in property taxes than you are. Yet he receives the same services you do.
Are you going to give something in return, or are you just another conservative freeloader?
@Polaris: The pure evil of this entire comment is simply mind-blowing.
Look I get the “life is not fair” argument. It’s not (life) … I get it. But that doesn’t mean that the workings of government should not attempt to be, at the very least, consistent. What I find odd about the moral righteousness WRT drugs is how selective we seem to be. First of all there is the issue of legal vs illegal drugs. Legal drugs are no less destructive or irresponsible to an unemployed worker then legal drugs like alcohols and cigarettes, but no one would ever suggest we deny benefits to people that use them, same thing with gambling, if a person pisses all of his unemployment away in Vegas should we revoke their ability to receive those benefits? See the problem, how far does the irresponsible use of this money go? If the issue is truly irresponsible use of “taxpayer money” ( a term I’m not sure I agree with but I won’t argue it here), then you could extend the concept out to a fair-thee-well. What about unemployed people buying guns? Should we stand in judgment of that on the grounds that, if you’re unemployed, you need to be more responsible with that tax payer money?
Does this concept extend to all recipients of tax payer money? Should the CEOs and other officers of federal grants, tax breaks, subsides also be required to take a wiz quiz in order to insure that they will be good stewards of “taxpayer money”? I mean why would we single out the recently unemployed and narrow our oversight to only illegal drugs? seems to me that once you have decided that those receiving federal money can now be regulated to a much hirer degree then those who don’t it opens the door for all kinds of government oversight, not to mention the nullification of BoR protections. Would that be a good thing?
Finally, there is no qualifier to the constitutional amendment barring illegal search and seizure. The only qualifier is the word “unreasonable” and unless there is some evidence that the unemployed have a significantly higher rate of illegal drug use then that qualifier is moot. This all just seems to me some dubious attack on the unemployed. BTW I think that DUI road blocks are also in violation of the constitution but current jurisprudence seems to me against me on that one.
Drug tests for prospective Unemployment Insurance beneficiaries will cost money. So who pays?
Those who are tested and turn up positive? They just lost their jobs and now will not collect benefits. Those who turn up negative? They just lost their jobs and need the money to pay for groceries and beer. The rest of the working taxpayers who are not being tested? They need the money to by drugs. How about all the advocates of drug testing like Polaris. Go ahead. E-mail your government representatives and tell them “raise my taxes to pay for drug testing of the unemployed.”
After the unemployed worker tests clean and starts drawing benefits what then? Piss in a cup every two weeks when they certify for benefits?
This is such a great idea…NOT!
@Michael: @Michael: I say we drug test all the bankers that received bailout money!