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Mar 15

The new Scarlet Letter

FOUL LANGUAGE ALERT
If you are offended by words that are generally four letters, and considered crude, this might not be the post for you to read.

“Hell, almost everyone I know that’s on welfare is a junkie” 

This line is part of a thought process that has been growing in the United States. And it really fucking pisses me off. You’ve heard this line probably a dozen times. Some of you reading this might have even uttered it. Well, someone said it, and in the words of a great character, “Well, allow me to retort.”

What about the people you know, that you don’t know receive welfare / public assistance? Are they junkies? 

Because, lets be honest. You know people that are receiving public assistance, and you didn’t know it. It’s not like we make them all walk around with a giant red “W” on their chest, showing the world that they are impoverished, and receiving welfare.

Growing up, my family didn’t walk around with a giant sign hanging over our hear that said:

‘LOOK AT US POOR MOTHERFUCKERS! WE ARE ON WELFARE!”

When my wife and I first got going, and we were going to college, and had kids, and were trying to better ourselves, we didn’t have a sign over our heads that said:

“WE ARE TERRIBLE FUCKING PEOPLE WHO RECEIVE WIC AND MEDICAID FOR OUR CHILDREN!”

If you would have made some crack towards my parents regarding them being lazy, stupid,  junkies  I’m fairly confident that my Holy Roller father would have left his first or second job,  drive to your house, and give you a piece of his mind.

If you were to be so foolish as to say something like that to my face now? I’d probably rip you a new asshole verbally, while contemplating punching you right in the mouth. Don’t speak about things you don’t understand. Keep your stupidity confined to your mind. If you let it out of your mouth, someone might mistake your foot for it, and try to put it back .

At neither time in my life, did we brag, boast, or broadcast that we were on welfare / receiving public assistance. You would be wise to remember that the next time you get up on your soapbox, and start belittling the shit out of people you don’t know, who are getting assistance for reasons that you don’t understand.

If you’ve made it this far, allow me to continue.

The idea that the welfare system is overrun with drug dealers, drug addicts, and generally shitty people isn’t really new. You can trace it back to Ronny boy’s comments in the 1976 presidential campaign about a welfare queen. The welfare queen that he mentioned was a real woman. She was a masterful con artist. But she was an anomaly, and hardly the “norm” for those on welfare. But, no matter how hard you fucking try, you just can’t convince people that the majority of people who are on welfare, or some other assistance from the government are not low life degenerate shitbags stealing their money.

Trust me. it’s a futile approach if someone is willing to believe this line of thinking, and couple it with the broad generalization I opened with, you are fighting a losing battle. But, if you should try, I find the following to be a fascinating place to start the debate.

No Savings Found in Florida Welfare Drug Tests

Lizette Alvarez wrote: “Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently released state data.”

Utah caught 12 users with Drug Tests for Welfare

Utah’s findings are interesting. And are probably what will be given as a counterpoint to the Florida case.

Utah used a questionnaire to vet out who they felt would need to be drug tested. 4730 applications, yielded 12 positive results. 247 people declined to take the drug test, and as such, did not receive benefits.

The 12 that tested positive? Oh yeah, they are receiving benefits. Yes. You fucking read that. the 12 people who DID TEST POSITIVE ARE GETTING BENEFITS. Why?

“They’re all in treatment programs” – Brad Wilson (R – Kaysville)

So…. Ok, they are in treatment. Who pays for that? Are the taxpayers footing the bill on that? Not sure. But, 12 people in some form of treatment program costs money, and if you are applying for public assistance, then you probably don’t have the funding to do that yourself. So, that money is coming from somewhere, right?

That doesn’t seem like it’s stopping the almighty drug user very well either. At least, in my opinion.

On the topic of information, you also have the problem that federal courts are ruling it unconstitutional (Florida’s), because of the little thing in that prevents you from being subjected to unreasonable searches. As U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven wrote:

“there is nothing inherent in the condition of being impoverished that supports the conclusion that there is a concrete danger that impoverished individuals are prone to drug use …”

And the very idea that someone is only poor because they are blowing their money on drugs is a strawman argument. Here we are, in 2015, and we are still in the aftermath of the worst recession of my lifetime. Here we are, working to get our economy running again, after major industry took a massive hit, after so many things went wrong.

With everything that has happened since the Bail outs of the auto industry, and banks, how can we hold on to the notion that it’s just because they’re a junky?