An essential part of the Republican Party’s war against America’s poor has been to drug-test welfare recipients, as part of their relentless campaign to paint the poor as lazy, as moochers, as drug-addicts with no incentive to seek real employment. It’s very far from the truth; the American poor are victims of Wall Street-engineered income inequality and the plots of wealthy oligarchs to keep the poor repressed and maintain a permanent underclass of exploitable labor.
New data shows just how wasteful and insulting the welfare drug testing program is. USA Today reports that the state of Arizona screened 142,000 welfare recipients- and found only THREE failed tests over a five year program. This saved the state around $3500 from going into the hands of “drug addicts” – out of $45 million distributed through the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families program.
Collectively, seven states have spent a $1 million on drug testing their welfare recipients- and together have netted under 500 positive cases. Virginia just abandoned plans to test their citizens after realizing it would cost $1.5 million and save only $229,000. It’s a disgraceful waste of taxpayer dollars in an insulting and presumptuous program that the data shows only serves to give credibility to the anti-poor narrative that FOX News pundits love to talk up so much.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.