A national government study, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2010 shows that unemployed Americans are more than two times as likely to be drug users than are people with full-time jobs: 17.5 percent unemployed drug users, versus only 8.4% employed druggies.
Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) said, “I have been back in my district, and we do town halls all the time,” Reed said. “And what I’ve heard from small business owners across our district is that one of the main reasons that they cannot hire individuals is because they simply cannot pass a drug test.”
The idea is to drug test all persons who receive welfare or who are unemployed in the United States to see if they are employment ready. The hope is that such legislation would exclude persons flunking a drug test from receiving welfare or unemployment insurance. $160 billion is spent on unemployment each year using 2010 as the year such data was gathered. Getting 17.5% of those people off the unemployment insurance system figures to save billions. Struggles for Justice must ask however one of those unwelcome questions: Would losing unemployment insurance aid a job seeker or one the government wants to seek a job with more energy to be healthier and better off? And a second question: after millions of people get drug tested each year who are not now, how much money do you end of saving? We think not a whole hell of a lot.
The Sherlock Holmes movie sequel is opening in theaters this week. It might be useful to have Republican lawmakers use their deductive powers to discern just why it is that more unemployed persons use drugs. Yes, there are no doubt a few who are legitimate candidates for state housing, food, clothing and instruction: prison. But Mr. Holmes might say “the basic line of reasoning is absurdly simple once you have it explained to you.” So Congressman Reed listen up.
“Yes, well then, those without work are going to be open to greater temptation. I myself can recommend a seven-per- percent solution of cocaine. Would you care to try it? Watson, would go fetch my morocco case. You know the one with the needle and the bottle inside. Just in the top drawer of my desk there. I find it, however, so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment. My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems Give me work! Give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. “
So we hear from Holmes in the case of the Sign of Four. But it takes little imagination to deduce that those who have less to do with their time, and who are constantly finding four jobs for every opening on average and for many, more, they would become discouraged psychologically and open themselves up to drug use more than their fully occupied employed counterparts. The deduction is an absurdly simple one now that you’ve had it explained to you.
The most important thing about this drug testing initiative though is what message it sends to the unemployed. We must remember that just more than four in five test negative for drugs according to the national survey cited here. The inititative for national drug testing of the unemployed or for those receiving public assistance is not only much more costly than proponents realize, but it erodes the self-respect, or what is left of the self-respect of those tested.
Newt Gingrich’s comments (boy that guy says a lot of crap often doesn’t he?) a couple of weeks ago that the Occupy Wall Street protestors should get a bath and get a job reflect a callous attitude toward the unemployed all too common with Republican lawmakers and the party’s base. It is in fact a blame the victim mentality that does not bring us toward a solution to the high unemployment rate in the United States. We can remind ourselves though that the rate just fell below nine percent for the first time in months, dropping from nine percent to eight point six percent just last month.
Republicans in the House and Senate have blocked every single initiative President Obama has brought forward to directly stimulate the economy where people will be hired to go back to work. Teachers, firefighters, police officers, construction industry operatives, and the list goes on and on. The answer of the Grand Old Party has been Ba Humbug! Toward putting Americans to work.
Congressman Reed, and those of you around the nation wanting to drug test everybody can start by testing yourselves first, every single Monday morning. If you test positive it’s your own damn fault if you lose the next election!