Not to put too fine a point on it, but being poor fucking sucks. You live in a shitty neighborhood. When you walk out the front door, you see nothing but desolation and heartbreak. No chance for a future, not here or anywhere. Even the nearest grocery store is in the good part of town, and you don't have a car.
When your life is at the point where buying a banana can be described as a quest, no wonder you want to smoke a joint every once in a while. Day traders do it, and the world doesn't have them by the throat. But now the Missouri House has passed a bill that would require welfare recipients to take drug tests if the state suspects they're using illegal drugs; testing positive could cost them state assistance for up to a year.
The bill, which passed by a punishing 116-27, would deny Temporary Assistance for Needy Family benefits for up to one year to suspected drug users if they failed their drug test. Because taxpayers shouldn't see their money spent to pay for an eighth of New York City Diesel.
It's understandable to be apprehensive about subsidizing addiction, unless we're talking about the banking industry's addiction to profits from high-risk financial machines that produce nothing of value yet are oiled by the blood of the working man! (Hey-O! Golf swing) So, yes, by all means, let us not pay for cocaine or heroin or DMT or whatever else that might show up in the tests and that people may prostitute their bodies to obtain. However, since these substances tend to warp a person, kicking them out of the program entirely without a safety net for a year is just going to send more people into the legal system, further taxing our also publicly subsidized public defender's office, police forces, jails and so forth.
And because the bill doesn't provide any sort of treatment option for the people it's cutting off from the teat, the fear here is that people who might have a shot at recovery are going to be pushed further out from the shore than they already are. From where they're floating now, it's just a dot.
The program we're talking about is for "needy families," so maybe taxpayers would be agreeable to spending money on getting the kids into a safe environment while mom or dad dries out?
So as the bill goes to the state Senate, let's please amend something to get people into treatment. You might even inadvertently help the arts. Google the phrases "William S. Burroughs," "Methadone Clinic" and "Kansas City," and enjoy the night of revelation I have just handed you. Also, if it's just weed, let it slide. There's enough of an edge on them as it is.