For nearly as long as we’ve had government entitlements, we’ve had people wanting government to drug test the people receiving them. The purpose being that if I have to take a drug test to get a job to pay into this system, they should have to take a drug test to get the money out of it.
Aside from that, many would like to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are not going towards buying drugs instead of food, water, and shelter—the things these programs are supposed to be for. It’s a fair point that I used to agree with it. However, as I see the issue, this is frankly a red herring.
If our concern is about misspent monies, then why give them money at all? With food stamps for instance, they would just get actual food, not cash to buy food. While that still doesn’t prevent trading food for drugs, it would at least make it significantly more difficult since most drug dealers are usually not apt to take two steaks for a dime bag.
What about the people who use the money for new Air Jordans, wheels for their car, fur coats, or other frivolous items. These are no more what that money was intended for than drugs, but no drug test will sniff out other frivolous waste like this. Not to mention, alcohol is equally wasteful, equally mind-numbing, and very commonly where money from government entitlements ends up.
Getting away from those who rightfully qualify for these programs, what about the fraudsters? Many people do side work under the table, easily make enough to support themselves, but because there’s no W-2 to rat them out, they get a government check because it appears they qualify for assistance.
These people could be people doing illegal work like selling drugs or prostitution (which should be legal in my opinion), or these could be people who are doing legal work, but just getting paid under the table for it tax-free.
The system, no matter how you work it, is always highly corruptible, and thus the reason most limited government advocates like myself feel government should not be in the business of salvaging the lives of those who have chosen a path that doesn’t afford them their basic food, drink, and shelter needs.
If we move off of the corrupt things people might do with government entitlement monies, does someone failing a drug test mean that they used taxpayer money to buy drugs? Not necessarily.
For instance, pot smokers in general are usually rather friendly in my experience. While I’ve never used marijuana myself (no joke), I’ve been offered it more times than I can count. Maybe this person who might fail a dug test was just at a friend’s house Friday night and benefitted from some “puff-puff-pass.”
Insuring that government money is used for the purpose intended is nearly impossible, and as such, a fool’s mission. This is why libertarian-minded people like me would simply argue that you can’t corrupt what doesn’t exist in the first place, and end all such programs. As heartless as it may seem, we honestly believe charities would do a better job, and people would be more charitable if given those tax dollars back.
But there is another way. While most libertarians want to quash entitlements altogether, there may be a more capitalistic way we all benefit from them doing it, and the answer is in community service.
Instead of offering money for doing nothing, why not offer government on-the-spot labor? Instead of having to apply for government handouts, you simply go to a government office, and say, “what can I do?”
In any town around the country, there can be litter and trash lying around, infrastructure that could use improvement, graffiti that needs cleaned off walls, schools that could use adults standing guard, or any other myriad of things we’d like to do, but we don’t often have the money to do it.
Local citizens might contact their government office with needs that these people could fill such as help mowing a lawn or shoveling a driveway even. Or companies could broker deals to get on-the-spot labor through local government assistance office. Local businesses often need an extra person due to employee illnesses, random promotional events that may require extra help, etc. The citizens or companies would pay the people directly, the welfare office would simply connect the two parties.
No one has a right to get paid for doing nothing, and government is a guarantor of rights, not a charity.
The jobs they’d be assigned would be menial, difficult, unrewarding tasks that no one else wants to do, thus ensuring that people will seek gainful employment elsewhere, doing community service for no longer than is necessary to bridge the gap between jobs.
It has never been, nor ever will be government’s business to know what you put in your body, and suggesting we should drug test people to get government assistance is a violation of their rights after my rights were violated by stealing from me to assist them, despite my objections to it.
Under my proposal, I frankly don’t care what they do with that money. If they provided a valuable service, they earned it, and like me, should be able to spend it however they see fit. They win, the taxpayers win, and nobody got something for nothing.