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Albers drug-testing legislation does not go far enough

Lets have all elected officials drug tested too

November 23, 2011
State Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, has filed a bill called the Social Responsibility and Accountability Act, which would require drug testing of all recipients of Medicaid and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Act.

Albers points out it is no more invasive than the drug screenings required by private sector employers.

"And whether you work to receive compensation, or collect government assistance, the same standards should apply," he said.

After all, taxpayers have a right to know whether their money is being spent as intended, i.e., to help adults or their children faced with abject, dire need for basic food and shelter. Public assistance should not go to drug users.

Of course that means a lot of children go hungry and homeless. According to the Ga. Department of Human services 16,266 clients in the nearly 20,000 cases (as of February 2011) are children. I suppose these parents will be asked to cough up the $42 (average) for the drug test. The bill calls for the client to pay for the test.

But the state will refund the cost to those who pass.

That's not a lot of money unless you're destitute – or administering 20,000 tests – which is $840,000 just to test those who are in the system today. So we cull out the ones who can't even fork up $42 right away. I suppose we can safely assume all of those who don't take the test will be drug addicts.

So who will get stuck with the bill of all of those who do pass a drug test? Because anybody can pass a drug test once by hook or crook. Most drug testing done in the private sector is random and ongoing. One test to qualify is hardly a net to weed out all drug users, is it?

And the test itself is just the beginning of the costs. Somebody has to administer these tests, the results must be tabulated and then evaluated. Somebody is going to say they were denied due process, and so an appeal infrastructure will be fabricated.

Yes, there are a host of unintended consequences out there, but those drug addicts will have to think hard about becoming socially responsible and accountable.

Well, it's a start. But why are we starting at the bottom of those sucking from the public weal. After all, if we are going to ask those who must take the taxpayer's dollar to buy their bread, then shouldn't those who demand this of the bottom of the social register out of fairness demand the same from the top?

Let's have all elected officials drug tested too. The same logic applies. There are in any stratum of society a certain percentage who will be ingesting or inhaling something they know they shouldn't. But if you take a government paycheck, do the socially responsible thing. Stand up and be accountable. Roll up that shirtsleeve or pee in the cup for America. Show that there is no loss of personal dignity, no affront to one's sense of honor to submit to the minor indignities of a drug test.

Then we can next start in on the teachers. They take a lot of money from taxpayers, and what's more they have charge of our children day after day. Shouldn't we safeguard the public treasury from all assaults by drug addiction?

Postal workers, firefighters and police all drive on our roads where we the public are most vulnerable. Should they not prove their sobriety, their public accountability, their social responsibility when they take the taxpayer's dollar?

Of course what makes it so difficult is that it is hard to pick out the average assistance taker. Yes we have the picture of a 17-year-old single mom, a live-in boyfriend and a 42-year-old grandmother who really does the child-rearing.

But a lot of times you can't tell. It could be that soccer mom who had to move out of the family home when her sick child's insurance ran out. It can be the abused wife who just grabbed the kids and left when she could take no more.

It might be that golf buddy who "downsized" then had a heart attack. Now he can't get a job or insurance. But a drug test will not diminish him or add to his shame and humiliation of asking for the government's assistance.

Of course there is always the option proposed by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) when he wrote in "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and Making Them Beneficial to the Public."

In the treatise, he neatly outlined the problem of these indigent Irish women, forced into beggary because they had too many children to find honest work. After studying the case quite thoroughly, he came to the conclusion that the best remedy was to simply eat them.


Managing Editor, Appen Newspapers Inc.
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  1. report print email
    Very Poor Taste
    November 23, 2011 | 01:28 PM

    I guess you were trying to be funny with your Johnathan Swift reference, but it was in very poor taste.

    BTW-- Florida enacted drug testing for public assistance and found that is was a collosal waste of money. Hardly anyone failed the test.

    Sally Benton
  2. report print email
    It is about time
    November 25, 2011 | 09:55 AM

    This is great stuff. Sad liberal biased by the writer. It is about time we held people accountable. I fully support this bill, DC should take notice.

  3. report print email
    Of course you support the bill
    November 25, 2011 | 10:29 AM

    You're the dupes he is trolling for

  4. report print email
    Build and support a statue of of Responsibility and Accountabili
    November 25, 2011 | 08:23 PM

    Freedom without also emphasizing responsibility is not working so well, as you can see daily in the news by the many examples of abuses of unchecked freedom. While I don't agree with the all of the author's conclusions, he nevertheless points out that accountability should not just occur for one group in society, there is plenty of corporate welfare abuses going on as well. So perhaps the best way to administer the tests would be at all levels in an efficient and workable way without humiliating those who are truly trying to better their lives.The drug of choice may not be chemical in nature for white collar criminals, but may nevertheless be some type of drug, like money and power. Abuses which also harm the tax payers and common good these leaders promised to serve. Victor Frankl and others understood this, and thought that the Statue of Liberty should be accompanied with a statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. Please find and "like" the "Virtual Statue of Responsibility" Facebook page if you wish to show support and make a commitment yourself to live the message you wish to see in the world.

  5. report print email
    Sally is Wrong - Florida is a tremendous success and saved money
    November 29, 2011 | 01:57 PM

    Trudy Green
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