February 10, 2015

Testing 1 2 3

The latest brilliant idea from the Republican-led WV legislature is pretty predictable: drug testing welfare recipients. There are probably as many myths about people on welfare as there are about the changing of the seasons

People may not realize just how small WV's TANF (Temporary Assistance For Needy Families) program is. In December 2013, it was around 9,800 adults out of a population of 1,850,000 or so.

If you want to be exact, that's 0.0052972972972973 percent of the population, if I read my calculator correctly.

There are also many misconceptions about how much cash assistance TANF recipients get here. The average benefit is $340 for a family of three.

I don't think you can buy a whole lot of welfare Cadillacs with that. Ones that run anyway. And, while I'm no expert on the local drug scene, I kind of doubt you'd be able to buy much of the "good" stuff with that either.

Some such laws have been declared to be unconstitutional, such a Florida's which was struck down by a federal court in Dec. 2014. Even if WV's proposed law survives a legal challenge, odds are the testing won't unmask many users. Six months after passing a drug testing law, Tennessee officials found only 37 users out of over 16,000 applicants.

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