Monday, February 01, 2010

Pondering what proposed legislation says about the legislators proposing it…

Happy February, people!

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

First, a bitch’s standard St. Louis Post-Dispatch website link warning – the comment section of Stltoday.com has a condition known as BigotryHateRanciditis, which manifests itself through hateful comments full of inaccurate assumptions about people of color, poor people, immigrants and LGBT people. Read with caution!

Onward!

Missouri legislators have proposed a bill that would require welfare recipients to pass drug tests in order to receive aide.

Some legislators say this legislation will protect taxpayers.

Other Missouri legislators, like Sen. Patrick Dougherty (D-St. Louis), point out that the bill singles out poor people and suggest that the legislation should be expanded to include anyone who receives state funding for anything. In the spirit, Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) has already proposed a separate bill that would require drug testing for legislators and their staff.

My initial reaction to this shit was disgusted frustration. The assumption that folks on welfare are rampant drug users is flawed and Lawd help us if the grand plan proposed by the Republican majority in the Missouri House and Senate to solve this states major budget problems is mandatory drug testing for poor people receiving welfare.

But after some thought…and a second cup of coffee…a bitch began to ponder what this kind of legislation says about the legislator who proposed it and those who support it.

This is the kind of legislation that makes a bitch wonder about a person’s knowledge base and, thus, question whether they are fit to hold office and legislate.

Do they have a habit of legislating based on rumor and assumptions?

Yes, mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients is disturbing and unethical in it’s singling out of poor people who are not the only folks in the state who receive aide funded by taxpayers. But a bitch is also disturbed by the fact that this apparently reactionary legislation has been proposed without the motivating fuel of…well, facts.

The bill assumes that there will be a benefit to taxpayers…because it assumes that there are a lot of welfare recipients on drugs...but where are the numbers?

They might not be there. Hell, Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R-Lake Saint Louis) acknowledges that there isn’t a problem of widespread drug use among Missouri teachers but he’s still proposing drug testing to crack down before there is a problem…and that assumes that Missouri teachers are poised on the brink of an orgy of illegal drug use.

With so many real and inarguable problems facing Missourians, is it too much to ask for Missouri legislators to address those problems before using the people’s time and money to pontificate about alleged problems and suspected abuse?

Do these legislators have any clue about addiction?

It seems as if these lawmakers think that addiction is something folks indulge in because they can get over on the system. But addiction is a medical issue and needs to be addressed with more treatment programs and options…which would also help address any potential abuse of tax-payer dollars by helping Missourians get off of drugs instead of punishing them for being addicted to drugs.

But that’d be too much like right…right?

Sigh.

Yes, the state of Arizona has already passed legislation based on previous drug testing legislation proposed in Missouri…and yes, Arizona claims that their requirements will save their state millions of dollars. That may or may not be true. What we do know is that these laws do little to nothing to address the issue of drug addiction in Missouri…and for the record, drug addiction is not exclusive to the ‘hood any more than welfare recipients are exclusive to the ‘hood.

If state legislators want to pass laws that protect tax-payers while assisting our communities then they’ll propose legislation that helps folks address their addiction, helps families stay fed and remain housed while loved ones are addressing their addiction and they'd set aside this kind of panderific bullshit.

Pause...consider...continue.

But that assumes that these legislators want to pass laws that protect tax-payers while assisting our communities and this bitch must confess that I have little proof that that’s their motivation on all manner of topics.

Blink.

8 comments:

Dusty said...

Simply. Fucking. Amazing. I guess the idiot gene is alive and well and proliferating in the Missouri senate.

Lets just give the idiots the benefit of the doubt here. So they catch a boatload of welfare recipients on illegal drugs. Now, the children of these people must be taken care of..so then the STATE will have to provide for 100% of the needs of these children..including housing, food,foster parents, etc.

How in the blue hell does that serve the state taxpayers?

If these assholes really want to deal with the drug addicts in Missouri, they would get them into treatment centers..which of course is MORE state tax dollars..but in my humble opinion, it would be the best way to deal with a problem that hits all people of all races and all walks of life.

And I do love the rep who created the bill to piss test the elected officials..Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Elected officials should be tested because clearly they are on drugs for even bringing this lame duck into being. This further muddies the water instead of actually getting anything done and it will cost more in the long run. What is so bad about throwing the Reagonomics out and actually opening facilities and helping people? Why do they always grab for the craziest straw? I am so tired of these tired discussions that are just stupid.

S said...

To add to Dusty's comment, with which i agree entirely, i think that in opting for treatment and support, the state would recoup some of its losses, by producing more productive citizens, less crime, better parents, etc. It has been my personal experience that people who have received help in getting through their own problems are the ones most committed to giving back to society.

Then again, i am not an economist but rather a starry-eyed idealist, and i favor taking care of people regardless of the expense or potential rewards.

On the question of a linkage between poverty and drug abuse -- I can imagine a person being unable to hold down a job either because of their addiction, or because of the same stresses (e.g. mental health issues) that led them into addiction. (But i am speculating and would appreciate feedback from someone more familiar with this issue, or someone with some statistics.) That said, further punishing such a person (particularly by taking away their FOOD) is cruel and nonsensical (at best, evil at worst).

rjjs8878 said...

Great post!

I wonder if the legislators have a financial interest in drug testing centers.

Have you watched the Intervention on A&E? Every show I have watched is about a white person from what appears to be a middle class family. I’ve never seen anyone from the “hood” on the show. Perhaps it’s because of the producer’s choice of addicts for the show. Or perhaps I’ve missed the shows with an addict from the hood. I’m more inclined to think that says a lot about the secret of addiction in middle class white America.

Anonymous said...

Just a random thought here: do people really not know how little is truly given when one is on welfare? I've been on it. If you're really frugal you may have some money to save (gasp) back but no more. We're not talking hundreds here, we're talking five, maybe ten. How on earth is a person on welfare supposed to afford drugs, please? Sooo, for every drug addict they will save how much? Some cash, medical/dental/optical, reduced rent/utilities if you're lucky. Sigh..people really don't know what it's like, do they....

Anonymous said...

WTF? They're so f**king worried about ZOMG welfare ppls stealing tax dollers, and yet Halliburton, Blackwater, Goldman Saks, AIG, that's ok?!. They get a pass.

The Fairy Godfather said...

I fled both the state of Missouri AND the field of Social Services in 2005 because of frozen wages, reductions in mileage compensation, reductions in operating budgets, reduction in benefits, and ever increasing workloads, and stress. Beyond the points Shark Fu raises (which I agree with 100%) WHERE do they propose to get the funding for this foolishness? It's insane. How about restoring some of the abuse investigators (both Elder and Child) for starters. God Almighty, the craziness just keeps on rolling along. Any red herring in a storm to avoid looking at the real issues.

Ray said...

I think that we are best served when the motivations of legislators are questioned, and you've done a great job of doing just that in this post. The knee-jerk reactions that many have to the very mention of welfare, or more precisely, welfare recipients are staggeringly inaccurate at best and wholly race or class based at worst. Only examples of abusers of the system are trotted out as being representative of all. Many people, particularly during periods of high joblessness, have little choice but to suffer through the indignities of the welfare system, just to sustain themselves in the short-term. The notion that people who find themselves in this circumstance are lazy, drug addicted, parasites who must be weaned from the system is prevalent among many. Little do the people who hold this view know that it doesn't take much of an economic jolt in any of our lives to go from "doing all right' to "what the hell am I going to do now?"