Wednesday, December 05, 2012

STILL ON MOOCHER PATROL. Remember when Virginia wanted to test its welfare recipients for drugs, then found out it would be an outrageous money-loser for the state and backed off? Well, another election has come and gone and Republican members are reviving the idea, because they've found a way to lose less money on it:
"We got hung up last year on the cost, and it seems that we determined the costs aren't as great as we were told last year," said Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, the bill's sponsor. "There are new methods of screening and testing used other places, and some are practical and could be applied here"...

The [original] legislation failed... after the state estimated it would cost $1.5 million to administer the tests, compared with the estimated $229,000 that would be saved by stripping benefits from those who test positive...

Republicans believe a statewide testing system is necessary to prevent taxpayer money from going to drug users.

"You're going to have some abuse no matter what you do, but you can curtail it to where it's minimal," said Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell.
You don't learn till way far into the Washington Examiner story that "before Florida's [similar] law was suspended by the courts, officials found that only 2 percent of welfare recipients tested positive for drugs." Heritage Foundation wonks have been pushing the alternate line that drug testing keeps people out of the welfare system, which they describe as a savings, however speculative.

But saving money is the least of it; what they really want to do is grind their heels a little harder in the faces of the indigent. Their main argument is that welfare is not part of our common obligations to one another, but the property of Them That Gots, to be grudgingly dispensed with ever-more-onerous conditions to those creatures whose subhumanity is proven by their bad luck.

Whether they're commanding the poor to pee in a cup or demanding that the childless procreate to fulfill the will of Heaven, always remember that these people are not animated by a desire to realize a common good, but by the need to assert their superiority against all evidence.

71 comments:

  1. sharculese6:24 PM

    Part of me believes that if the opportunity ever actually came up to abolish welfare altogether, the 'Pubs would find some way to avoid doing it because it provides to many opportunities to sneer at their inferiors.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AGoodQuestion6:30 PM

    Something tells me that the point lies less in keeping druggies off the rolls than in seeing (from a safe distance) the looks on the faces of Certain People when told that they're suspected of using.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Easiest way in the world to make yourself feel bigger - find a smaller person and humiliate him. The tricky part is convincing yourself that it was a fair match.

    ReplyDelete
  4. lawguy6:51 PM

    I can't help but notice that the article does not mention the new amount that it will cost. But of course, if it subcontracted to a private company it will be even cheaper. Probably because factoring in the profit margin will lower all other costs.

    ReplyDelete
  5. RogerAiles6:59 PM

    I will piss into any cup that Dels. Dickie Bell and Riley Ingram hold.


    You don't even have to pay me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mr. Wonderful7:02 PM

    Way true. Then you take that part of yourself that knows better--the part you're trying to convince--and project it onto others. Happy result: *They're* oppressing *you.* You're a victim! And a whole new round of spite and self-righteousness ensues.

    ReplyDelete
  7. KatWillow7:07 PM

    Their belief is that "drug users" don't deserve food and shelter or medical care?

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's also why they'll never actually outlaw abortion.

    ReplyDelete
  9. sharculese7:45 PM

    My guess is 1.45 million.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Michael Holloway7:48 PM

    Drug addiction as a medical condition - not an amoral behaviour; that's the kicker. I you see these victims of whatever, as an enemy of a culture you're on the slippery slope to defining the worth of certain citizens. Poor will be at the bottom of that list because they can't / won't defend themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jay B.7:51 PM

    Cup? I'll piss right on them and save the taxpayer the cost of a good plastic cup.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Spaghetti Lee7:55 PM

    I support this. I also support categorizing Fox News as a powerful sedative (and laxative!) that must be tested for.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Leeds man8:02 PM

    That reminds me; when are we going to introduce PCL-R testing for politicians and CEOs?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tehanu8:17 PM

    They're not going to test for the drugs that wingnuts like -- you know, Bud Lite and box wine. Remember, we're talking about people who think Cheech and Chong are still lurking around their neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jay B.8:22 PM

    These people are really the worst people on Earth, by the way, just in case I came off as glib before. Their small minded Heartland cruelty exemplifies everything I hate about the right wing in this country. Sure, they deride lefties as utopians, but they put conditions on simple humanity that would be more at home in totalitarian China than a place I'd feel comfortable living.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Republicans believe a statewide testing system is necessary to prevent taxpayer money from going to drug users.



    I gather the drug users will have to find other ways to get money.


    If you don't have enough criminals to round up they can always be manufactured.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Geo X8:35 PM

    I thought welfare was meant to help the least fortunate people in society? Like, say, impoverished drug addicts? Republicans really are the most heartless, vicious motherfuckers around.

    ReplyDelete
  18. M. Krebs8:38 PM

    At the rate conservatives keep coming up with ways to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the hands of poor people, why, they'll have our fiscal house in order in no time!

    ReplyDelete
  19. wileywitch8:45 PM

    That's right. They should be out on the streets stealing so the private prison industry can make a mint from the taxpayers while denying as many people as they can the right to vote. Being "tough on crime" and pro-private sector is an election winner for conservatives and people who watch entirely too much cable news.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Daverz9:06 PM

    I'm reminded of "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", only it takes millions of children "kept in perpetual filth, darkness and misery" before they can be happy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_from_Omelas

    ReplyDelete
  21. redoubt9:10 PM

    Side effects may include excess spittle-flecked rage, loss of constitutional democracy, and latent fascism.

    ReplyDelete
  22. vista9:21 PM

    As a taxpayer, I'd prefer seeing my money going to drug users than to the corporations doing the drug testing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. sharculese9:41 PM

    There is no shame in thinking a thing that LeGuin thought better first.

    ReplyDelete
  24. satch9:41 PM

    Y'know what though? get back to me when these assholes, or the "Rape With A Transvaginal Probe" dickwads, actually get voted out of office. Sure, the "Dickie" (Christ, no wonder this gimp has a chip on his shoulder) Bells of the world are nothing more than wanna be fascist thugs, but the people who vote them into office also revel in seeing the less fortunate humiliated and forced to acknowledge their worthlessness, they're just too chickenshit to do it themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  25. You've got to spend money to save money, everyone knows that.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard11:03 PM

    But saving money is the least of it; what they really want to do is grind their heels a little harder in the faces of the indigent
    With the added bonus of funneling taxpayer dollars to their cronies who own the testing companies.

    ReplyDelete
  27. geraldfnord12:08 AM

    Well, I guess that they can put up with what they consider an unjust and immoral system just so long as someone's being humiliated....

    ReplyDelete
  28. DocAmazing12:11 AM

    Contact your healthcare professional if election lasts more than eighteen months.

    ReplyDelete
  29. DocAmazing12:13 AM

    Maintaining structural poverty is very expensive.

    ReplyDelete
  30. montag212:24 AM

    We like simple labels, like "right" and "left," but throughout history it's been a war between authoritarian assholes and the rest of us. The more complex society becomes, the more ways there are for the authoritarian assholes to express their core beliefs (and personally gain from them), and the more difficult it becomes to restrain them. Hell, the more difficult it becomes to even understand what they're up to.



    Ever since the phrase "law and order" became a commonplace signature phrase of American politics, I've been expecting the worst. And the cretinous motherfuckers like the Dickie Bells of this country give me absolutely no reason to think otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  31. smut clyde12:54 AM

    Install the drug detector atop Ronald Reagan's grave and you'll be able to charge the testee.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Spaghetti Lee1:25 AM

    I'd argue the opposite. I have a lot of curmudgeonly gripes about the 'information age', but one thing I can say for it is that it expands people's horizons. Once you're able to talk to people from every corner of the earth on the internet, it's impossible for the local petty tyrant (political, economic, or religious) to pretend that he's the most important thing on earth and have people still believe him. Perhaps the vicious lashing-out we're seeing from the right is a symptom of petty tyrants the world over losing the ability to make people care about them. Growing diversity in general also isn't doing their egos any favors.


    Of course, people still vote for them, apparently. And it's just as hard to get people to care about voting them out as it is to get them to care about what they have to say.

    ReplyDelete
  33. montag22:22 AM

    Ah, but the authoritarian assholes have exactly the same tools available to them, and they use them not only for propaganda purposes, but to game the system, as well (is there much doubt left that network technology was used to play with votes in Ohio in 2004--or that the very same technology was used to obscure that hanky-panky?) and, more generally, that the people with power and money have the advantage over those without, regardless of the technology available. Egyptians, for example, are just now discovering that while strength in numbers created a temporary advantage, numbers alone have not kept the authoritarian assholes at bay.


    I wish I could be more sanguine about this, but history has shown that even democracy gets co-opted by the powerful (that old adage, that if the powerful had to personally fight on the front lines of the wars they start, there'd be endless peace, is never more true than today).

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for the stats; conservatives are always obsessed with the idea that somebody somewhere is getting something they don't deserve. Burn that social safety net! But not, um, for the deserving – just all those below them, who are clearly lazy and shiftless! I've been pondering this stuff, especially since we recently passed the Rand Thanksgiving Paeans to Selfishness and will soon see re-runs of the libertarian/conservative Paeans to Pre-Conversion Scrooge. Poor Scrooge, who was such a delightful free marketeer before spectral liberals (more powerful than straw man liberals) propagandized him and made his heart grow three sizes larger. Conservatives have no need for the past, present or future! They know The Truth. (So screw you, cost-benefit policy analysts – and Nate Silver!)

    Sometimes, it just comes down to word emphasis:

    Liberals don't want to see the poor suffer.

    Libertarians and condescending moralizers (Charles Murray, etc.) don't want to see the poor suffer.

    Right-wingers want to see the poor suffer.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Don't forget the wonderful kickbacks from hiring somebody's brother/cousin/buddy! Conservatives love government waste that leads to personal profit.

    ReplyDelete
  36. montag24:41 AM

    I'm beginning to think that even that would be perverted by the right wing. They'd ask for legislation requiring a minimum high score to run for office....


    But, one thing I know for sure--if little Dickie Bell had to pee in a cup every time he wanted his paycheck, he'd be whining to high heavens about it. And why not visit that indignity (and more) on him? The average politician is infinitely more dangerous--and costly--than the average drug addict.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Fiddlin' Bill6:54 AM

    "Their main argument is that welfare is not part of our common
    obligations to one another, but the property of Them That Gots, to be
    grudgingly dispensed with ever-more-onerous conditions to those
    creatures whose subhumanity is proven by their bad luck."


    Very well said, Sir. This goes right along with the "tax is theft" Law of Rand. I just hope the Obama Admin is entirely done with any notion of cooperation with the bastards. Cooperation = co-op = communism in the Right's lexicon. Let them sail in that boat then.

    ReplyDelete
  38. This observation right here: conservatoids are so much more motivated by petty meanness than by serious solutions to social challenges. They are so bought into doctrines of selfishness that they can only see the human element of social welfare and not the practical side. Because conservatoids are fiercely tribal, caring about others not in their tribe is a waste of resources at best--dangerous comfort to the enemy at worst. They scoff at the notion of human empathy and are outraged that they may be contributing to it through taxation or any form of governmental enforcement.


    Of course, what they are apparently incapable of understanding is that even if you hate everybody not you, and don't give a shit about anyone's welfare but your own, IT IS STILL A SMART THING TO PROVIDE A BASIC LEVEL OF LIFE QUALITY to the lowest levels of society.


    If you are a normal person, you understand that people free from basic survival struggles are more likely to contribute to the advancement of society in all sorts of ways--many of them totally unexpected. But even if you are a big ole selfish prick, you should understand that it is not beneficial to have masses of desperate, unemployed, hungry, and disenfranchised folks roaming the streets with nothing to do but watch you stuff your fat belly with the wealth of a society that disdains them.


    Anti-welfare conservatoids are not only mean motherfuckers, they are pretty stupid, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  39. well...as long at the humiliated isn't them. Remember that liberal snark = holocaust.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'd submit that the complexity of modern society is camouflage for the previously titled Barons, Dukes, and Princes (etc.) who abandoned the Big Ole Targets they had to wear being the guys in the castle on the hill when things went sour. Now they hide behind LLCs and such, using titles like COO, CEO, etc., and find countless ways to deflect peasant desperation onto other peasants and scapegoats.


    American Democracy, whatever its good intentions, has proved to be the perfect environment for these fuckers to keep all the bennies of being Lords and Ladies with few, if any, of the consequences.

    ReplyDelete
  41. i'd buy that for a dollar.

    ReplyDelete
  42. MikeJ9:05 AM

    Remember back in '93 when they wanted mandatory Norplant for people on welfare? There wasn't a lot of concern about religious freedom when they wanted to hold the reproductive rate of the wrong sort down.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Doghouse Riley9:42 AM

    Translation: since last time we found some heroic entrepreneur willing to pay the same juice for the right to run a cheaper, even dirtier, paper test. (Assuming there's any validity to the cost-savings story in the first place.)

    Left out of the calculation: the cost of then blood-testing everyone who fails the paper test, since they're too unreliable to use as real evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Ding ding ding ding ding

    ReplyDelete
  45. Derelict11:20 AM

    One thing you must understand is that Republicans, their supporters, and even many otherwise liberal voters are convinced to the very marrow of their bones that "welfare" takes up more than half of the federal budget. They KNOW that anything that cuts welfare payments will have a dramatic impact on the deficit. The fact that the cuts hurt poor people is just a bonus.
    Similarly, these same people are convinced that aid to foreign governments takes up more than helf the budget. They also know that the Department of Education takes up nearly half, and the EPA accounts for more than half of the budget as well.
    If you're getting the idea that math is not their strong suit, you're only half right.

    ReplyDelete
  46. How about testing anyone who receives taxpayer money, like state legislators?

    ReplyDelete
  47. do it by teste and get double!

    ReplyDelete
  48. BigHank5311:37 AM

    Does anyone feel like better whether or not this will be rolled out statewide, or maybe just in certain "urban" areas? No takers?

    ReplyDelete
  49. BigHank5311:42 AM

    I recall reading a story some years back about needle-exchange programs back in the nineties. San Francisco emergency rooms were spending $23 million a year treating infected abscesses on IV drug users. That's not HIV or hepatitis, mind you: just the disinfectant scrub and a bottle of antibiotics. Cost of a needle exchange program would have been under a million a year.


    But that would have sent the wrong message.

    ReplyDelete
  50. KatWillow11:43 AM

    mandatory-GOOD. Access to free birth control? NEVER!

    ReplyDelete
  51. i sense that victory in this drug war is close at hand, at last.

    ReplyDelete
  52. BigHank5311:46 AM

    Get back to me when there's some progress in the War on Stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  53. BigHank5311:51 AM

    The greatest thing about it is that you can tell who needs mandatory Norplant just by looking at them. At least you can if you're Dickie Bell, IYKWIMAITYD.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Another six months ought to do it.
    ~

    ReplyDelete
  55. In other snipe hunting news...

    http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/94350
    ~

    ReplyDelete
  56. Provider_UNE2:14 PM

    But saving money is the least of it; what they really want to do is
    grind their heels a little harder in curb-stomp the faces of the indigent.


    Sorry, but felt the need to fix that for you.

    Jeeebus, I have so much to read (catch up on) and so little time (I really should have brought the power supply).

    While you guys may not miss my ubiquity, I miss it.

    Hugs!
    ...

    ReplyDelete
  57. Provider_UNE2:18 PM

    I have to admit to being amazed that I got the strike tag past the goalie...


    Which reminds me to check in on the EPL standings to see if my team is out of the basement yet.
    ...

    ReplyDelete
  58. Haystack3:05 PM

    convinced to the very marrow of their bones that "welfare" takes up more than half of the federal budget.



    And public sector salaries take up the other three-quarters.

    ReplyDelete
  59. montag23:08 PM

    One-a Friedman, two-a Friedman, three-a Friedman, four...

    Given that a mush-brained Bush holdover was recently put in charge of the DEA (who was apparently temporary head when the DEA released this little bit of folderol), I don't think we're going to see any big changes at the federal level, at least not for a long time. It's been a hundred years since the Harrison Act, seventy-five years since Marijuana Tax Stamp Act, and we've got more people in prison than ever. I wish everyone in Colorado and Washington safety from the feds, but this is far from over.

    ReplyDelete
  60. smut clyde3:11 PM

    I would like to offer this comment a seat on a spaceship to the new colonies on Venus.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Bitter Scribe3:45 PM

    I'll do it as long as Dickie Bell holds the bottle.

    ReplyDelete
  62. AGoodQuestion5:58 PM

    I will piss into any cup that Dels. Dickie Bell and Riley Ingram hold.


    Save it for their martini glasses, and try to pick a time when they're not looking.

    ReplyDelete
  63. TGuerrant5:35 AM

    Exquisite irrefutable proof of that all wrapped up in just 48 seconds of news vid: http://youtu.be/6ik4f1dRbP8 They're so proud of the patriotic stance they take before the camera in taunting a Parkinson's sufferer (not Michael Fox, no).

    ReplyDelete
  64. TGuerrant5:35 AM

    Fla. Gov. Rick Scott had the good sense to steer the contract to a company his wife has interest in - thereby showing his support for both capitalism and traditional marriage while strengthening his economy. Florida's economy can look out for its own damn self.

    ReplyDelete
  65. aimai5:35 AM

    This goes along with my longstanding belief that you could get Republicans to vote for literally anything--free food, free vacations, free cruise trips, free sex education as long as you substituted the word MANDATORY and maybe PUNITIVE in place of the word free.

    ReplyDelete
  66. aimai5:36 AM

    We are seeing this in MA right now. The budget shortfall means that the Governor needs to cut what is euphemistically called "local aid" but which would otherwise be a transfer from the richer parts of the state--Boston, Cambridge, etc... to the poorer suburbs and cities. In order to fend off cuts in their welfare, the other locations are demanding that Patrick cut "welfare" which they seem to think is a huge portion of the budget and "charge illegal immigrant college students" full tuition. Like that's going to fix things. And like their school teachers and fire fighters and police aren't also affected, as are their shops, by the cutting of discretionary income for the poor.


    aimai

    ReplyDelete
  67. aimai5:36 AM

    But think how happy the dying IV drug users who didn't get infections were knowing that they had done the right thing by affording clean needles on their own! Surely that stick-to-itiveness and American know how counts for something.

    ReplyDelete
  68. geraldfnord5:39 AM

    ...excepting, of course, their mouths if their teeth were on fire.

    ReplyDelete
  69. geraldfnord5:39 AM

    Well, of course, yes: they're gluttons for _other_ people's punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  70. El Manqu├ęcito7:17 AM

    They could tie off with their own bootstraps.

    ReplyDelete
  71. glennisw11:51 AM

    Oh, come on. Don't be a meanie. I'd piss into their mouths if their teeth were on fire - and enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete