Government needs to be smaller, they tell us. It isn’t that I disagree with that basic sentiment but I don’t understand why there is a huge push from the right to test welfare recipients for drug use.
I mean, I understand the basic (dumb) argument. We don’t want people receiving handouts to be using those handouts to fund a drug habit. Better that they receive zero money and zero treatment and they die in an opium den, I guess. Or maybe they will just have their legs broken because they can’t pay their dealer.
Anyway, the problem isn’t the rationale so much as the results. The number of drug users being caught is so low, it doesn’t come close to saving the government the money it is spending on catching the drug users. Has anyone thought about rebranding the “war on drugs” as a “limited police action” on drugs.
So instead of small government, we have big government looking for evidence of drug abuse and finding comparatively little. Even if estimates are correct and 8% of welfare recipients are drug abusers, that leaves most welfare recipients in the position of being assumed guilty until a drug test proves otherwise.
Is it legal? Well I’m pretty sure John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia think so.
Which means it may be legal but it is almost certainly a bad idea.