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As I See It

Then let’s drug test all receiving “public benefits”



It remains a solution in search of a problem. Wisconsin’s governor, and those in 10 other states, have sent a letter to the federal government urging permission to drug test food stamp recipients. Doing so would require a waiver from the feds, which seems unlikely. And that is a good thing. First, there is no evidence that those receiving food stamp benefits in Wisconsin and elsewhere are using illegal drugs. In states where drug testing is allowed for those receiving cash benefits, the rate of usage of illegal drugs was below one percent, well below the national average. Yet testing for those drugs cost about $1 million. They spent way more on testing than they saved in kicking drug users off the rolls. But if we are going to argue that those receiving public benefits shouldn’t get any government help if they are using drugs, then we should test all those who receive public benefits. Like all those who get subsidies from the Department of Agriculture. And all those who have received government money to provide jobs through Wisconsin’s economic development office. And how about the politicians themselves? We are paying their salaries. If we are going to drug test food stamp recipients, shouldn’t we also test the politicians? If we did, we would be likely to save a lot more tax money than what could be saved from testing those who are just trying to make sure their children are properly fed.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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