Friday, December 23, 2011

Republican class warfare revisited: Rick Perry says he's fine with drug testing for welfare recipients

Like The Newt, Rick "is he really still running?" Perry thinks that welfare recipients should be drug-tested as a condition for receiving welfare:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday he wouldn't be opposed to welfare recipients also being drug tested, joining fellow candidate Newt Gingrich in suggesting that federal aid should be tied to substance use.

"I don't have a problem with before you get any dollars from the federal government that you're drug tested," Perry said in response to a man who suggested the idea in a question to him at a meet-and-greet in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, that drew over 80 people. Perry pointed out that as a pilot in the Air Force, he himself had been drug tested. "I don't have a problem in the world with that," he said.

That's rather different. You don't want Air Force pilots, or any pilots, taking drugs. They have responsibility over other people's lives and, in the case of military pilots, supposedly defending the country. Furthermore, there's something to be said for privacy -- for the government not intruding in the lives of private citizens (as opposed to voluntary members of the military, for example). Are Republicans not ideologically committed to reducing such intrusion? Oh, right, not when it comes to the poor or women, or when they're advancing their natinoal security authoritarianism. They're fine with the moralizing police state when it's about other people.

On the specific issue of testing welfare recipients, though, let me go back to a post I wrote back in August in response to an Ohio legislator, the odious Tim Grendell, seeking to require such testing:

I'm strongly against this -- anywhere and everywhere. It's an appalling violation of privacy and quite probably unconstitutional (even if the conservatives on the Roberts Court would applaud it). As well, it's an ideological effort, common on the right, to disadvantage (and punish) the poor. Everyone, after all, receives some form of government support. Why should only those seeking unemployment benefits be subjected to drug testing? No, I wouldn't support this either, but if you're going to test those seeking unemployment benefits, why not test everyone?

Actually, here's an idea: Mandatory drug (and alcohol) testing for all executives of companies receiving some form of government support, including corporate tax breaks. And while we're at it, how about testing for all executives of companies receiving government contracts, including military contracts?

Oh, you don't like that? You think it's mean and unfair to target corporate executives? (They're such wonderful and amazing people, after all, with not a drug or alcohol abuser among them, right?)

Then shut the fuck up and stop your class warfare.

Stop punishing those who need your help, the vast majority of whom are good and decent people who just want to be able to put food on the table (if they have a table at all), pay their bills (and maybe not sink so quickly into the quagmire of debt), and take care of their children (who deserve the opportunity to have a better life).


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