The Least of These

by | Apr 10, 2013 | Editor's Blog, NC Politics, NCGA, NCGOP, Religion

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Matthew 25:34-36

The self-righteous hypocrites in the legislature have started their favorite game again–kick the poor folks, also known as blame the victim. This time, they are going to force anyone applying for public assistance to be drug tested and make them pay for the tests themselves.

This legislation is such bad policy, so hypocritical and so mean-spirited it’s hard to know where to start. But let’s begin with the fact that the assistance these unfortunate people are applying for is not even state money, its federal dollars. By this logic maybe we should be drug testing everyone who applies for a mortgage deduction. It would be terrible to find out that the federal government is subsidizing people sitting in their own homes smoking pot.

There is no evidence that welfare recipients use drugs at a higher rate than the general public. A Florida studied showed that just 2.6% of applicants tested positive and most of that was for marijuana use. So, at a time with more than 9% unemployment, the North Carolina legislature is willing to punish and demean 97% of the down-on-their-luck welfare applicants in order to stop the 3% who took a toke off a joint.

The policies also don’t save money. In fact, they cost states more because the constitutional issues that go along with such invasive policies. We’ll spend precious tax dollars to defend a law that will probably be thrown out by the courts.

Finally, it’s just plain mean. Virtually all of the applicants are families with children, so the policy penalizes children for the actions of their parents. We are emerging from the worst recession in 75 years and families that never thought they would be looking for assistance need help. More than half the recipients receive benefits for less than 2 years, indicating they are looking for a hand up, not a hand out. Humiliating them is a sin.

The rest of that bible verse reads:

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

Have fun in hell.


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