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  1. #1
    haole from the mainland
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    Welfare drug tests don't save money

    The results are in from the drug test requirements for welfare in Florida. And the whole brou-ha-ha wound up costing money rather than saving it.

    MIAMI — Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently released state data.


    From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.

    Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.

    As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780, he said.

    And the testing did not have the effect some predicted. An internal document about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, caseloads stated that the drug testing policy, at least from July through September, did not lead to fewer cases.

    “We saw no dampening effect on the caseload,” the document said.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    "Direct" savings.

    How do you measure the people that did not smoke because they knew they were going to be tested?

    How do you measure how many of them got jobs that they would not have?

    Personally torn on this. Not for testing in general. In favor of getting rid of prohibition.

    That said if I have to get tested for a lot of jobs then I do object to paying money to people who choose to stay home and toke up.

  3. #3
    I ride in circles..
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    At least we can feel good 'thinking' they aren't spending assistance money on drugs.
    ~ Long Live Long Rides~

  4. #4
    ab aeterno
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    So it cost the state 45k to test people for drugs, that doesn't seem like a huge waste of money

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJBiker72 View Post

    That said if I have to get tested for a lot of jobs then I do object to paying money to people who choose to stay home and toke up.
    It is so difficult to keep up for the times when it is okay to be jealous of other people and what they have, can do, or can get away with and when it is just bald jealousy.

    Can you write the rest of us a little primer?
    In the time of battle you don't rise to the occasion you resort to the level of your conditioning...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJBiker72 View Post
    "Direct" savings.

    How do you measure the people that did not smoke because they knew they were going to be tested?

    How do you measure how many of them got jobs that they would not have?

    Personally torn on this. Not for testing in general. In favor of getting rid of prohibition.

    That said if I have to get tested for a lot of jobs then I do object to paying money to people who choose to stay home and toke up.
    Don't the studies also show that (not surprisingly) people on assistance tend to use drugs less? I seem to recall it's like 2.6% for folks on assistance, 4 or 5% for everyone else. Which makes sense, because drugs ain't cheap.
    Quote Originally Posted by JustTooBig View Post
    Your Logical-to-Dumbass ratio is way out of kilter, buddy

  7. #7
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    Drug tests as a condition of public assistance have no legitimate rationale. They're just vindictive and punitive. Pointless and mean. IMHO.

    I get a tax break by deferring some of my salary into a 401K, where I can take it out later when I'll likely have a lower tax rate. I don't have to take a drug test to qualify.

    Wall Street traders take advantage of tax code provisions that let them treat what are essentially fees (wages) into capital gains or carried interest that are taxed at lower rates. They don't have to be drug tested to qualify for this, even after they go celebrate their bonuses with hookers and blow.

  8. #8
    jaded bitter joy crusher
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDon View Post
    So it cost the state 45k to test people for drugs, that doesn't seem like a huge waste of money
    This.

    There are lots of reasons to oppose drug-testing people for welfare, but I can't see making the argument on the basis that $45K is a big waste.
    Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing. ---- Cormac McCarthy

    A man can get disouraged many times, but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else and stops trying --- John Burroughs

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Drug tests as a condition of public assistance have no legitimate rationale. They're just vindictive and punitive. Pointless and mean. IMHO.

    I get a tax break by deferring some of my salary into a 401K, where I can take it out later when I'll likely have a lower tax rate. I don't have to take a drug test to qualify.

    Wall Street traders take advantage of tax code provisions that let them treat what are essentially fees (wages) into capital gains or carried interest that are taxed at lower rates. They don't have to be drug tested to qualify for this, even after they go celebrate their bonuses with hookers and blow.
    I can see one legitimate rationale- it's a pain in the ass. It makes PA even less attractive.

    Which is not to say that people look at PA and think, "Woo-hoo, easy money!" but perhaps making the system less easy to use isn't a bad thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by JustTooBig View Post
    Your Logical-to-Dumbass ratio is way out of kilter, buddy

  10. #10
    haole from the mainland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke View Post
    This.

    There are lots of reasons to oppose drug-testing people for welfare, but I can't see making the argument on the basis that $45K is a big waste.
    Sure $45K is small potatoes for the welfare budget of a state as large as Florida (although it must be noted that the figure is for only about 4 months), but the drug testing was sold to the public as something that would save money. It doesn't.

  11. #11
    Call me a Fred
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    It's nice that Florida is testing the drugs for the poor people. They can't afford to pay to have their drugs tested like the rich can.
    Mike

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  12. #12
    I see trees of green
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke View Post
    This.

    There are lots of reasons to oppose drug-testing people for welfare, but I can't see making the argument on the basis that $45K is a big waste.

    Such as questioning whether it passes the three tests of strict scrutiny?

  13. #13
    gazing from the shadows
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke View Post
    This.

    There are lots of reasons to oppose drug-testing people for welfare, but I can't see making the argument on the basis that $45K is a big waste.
    That's an extra 45k (net) to test 4,086 people. You need to scale that up to the entire population getting assistance if you want to know how much it would actually cost as an ongoing state program. If they test only on application, that would cover it, but if they re-test people for continuing benefits it would be more.

    Further, that is the cost of reimbursement compared to savings from denying claims. That does NOT include the costs of running the program, only the actual cash reimbursed. There is money involved to process the reimbursements (cutting checks), people to do that work (salary and benefits), and I am sure other costs as well (short and long term). Consider that denying TANF means less money for the kids involved. What are the long term costs of that?
    .
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lotophage View Post
    Don't the studies also show that (not surprisingly) people on assistance tend to use drugs less? I seem to recall it's like 2.6% for folks on assistance, 4 or 5% for everyone else. Which makes sense, because drugs ain't cheap.
    No idea. But not really the point. Failing a drug test for a job is not something that should be acceptable if someone is taking public assistance.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Drug tests as a condition of public assistance have no legitimate rationale. They're just vindictive and punitive. Pointless and mean. IMHO.

    I get a tax break by deferring some of my salary into a 401K, where I can take it out later when I'll likely have a lower tax rate. I don't have to take a drug test to qualify.

    Wall Street traders take advantage of tax code provisions that let them treat what are essentially fees (wages) into capital gains or carried interest that are taxed at lower rates. They don't have to be drug tested to qualify for this, even after they go celebrate their bonuses with hookers and blow.
    You are not asking for someone else to give you money because you can't earn any from failing a drug test.

    And Wall Street tests.

  16. #16
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    Yeah, but it really lets those poor people know their place. That in itself is worth it.


    joe
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  17. #17
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    Do the drug tests also test for alcohol and nicotine and caffeine or since those are legal, but utterly unnecessary, is it O.K. to waste the tax payer's money on these?

    Or is it that something like smoking pot keeps you from being employable but being a raging wino doesn't?

  18. #18
    jaded bitter joy crusher
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Further, that is the cost of reimbursement compared to savings from denying claims. That does NOT include the costs of running the program, only the actual cash reimbursed. There is money involved to process the reimbursements (cutting checks), people to do that work (salary and benefits), and I am sure other costs as well (short and long term). Consider that denying TANF means less money for the kids involved. What are the long term costs of that?
    I agree that this would be a good argument. But that's not the argument made in the piece jorgy quoted. That's all.
    Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing. ---- Cormac McCarthy

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatsmybush View Post
    It is so difficult to keep up for the times when it is okay to be jealous of other people and what they have, can do, or can get away with and when it is just bald jealousy.

    Can you write the rest of us a little primer?
    So, most of us are jealous of criminals?

  20. #20
    No Crybabies
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    complete info?

    Quote Originally Posted by jorgy View Post
    Sure $45K is small potatoes for the welfare budget of a state as large as Florida (although it must be noted that the figure is for only about 4 months), but the drug testing was sold to the public as something that would save money. It doesn't.
    Not sure we have complete info. Would wellfare applications have risen but for the testing? Do we have "control" info for similar jurisdictions for the same time periods?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne Barry View Post
    Do the drug tests also test for alcohol and nicotine and caffeine or since those are legal, but utterly unnecessary, is it O.K. to waste the tax payer's money on these?

    Or is it that something like smoking pot keeps you from being employable but being a raging wino doesn't?
    Its that companies test for drugs before you start not alcohol or nicotine.

  22. #22
    jaded bitter joy crusher
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJBiker72 View Post
    Its that companies test for drugs before you start not alcohol or nicotine.
    There are companies that test for smoking.
    The new rules essentially treat cigarettes like an illegal narcotic. Applications now explicitly warn of “tobacco-free hiring,” job seekers must submit to urine tests for nicotine and new employees caught smoking face termination.
    ...
    Employees who smoke cost, on average, $3,391 more a year each for health care and lost productivity, according to federal estimates.
    Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing. ---- Cormac McCarthy

    A man can get disouraged many times, but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else and stops trying --- John Burroughs

  23. #23
    PhotonFreak
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke View Post
    There are companies that test for smoking.
    I know I'm sidetracking the thread a bit here.

    Yet another reason employer-based healthcare should be abandoned. It's already a huge [unfair yet completely understandable] reason for age-discrimination in employment.

    IMO if people who smoke on their free time at home (not talking on the job) are able to do the same job, they should get the same take-home pay. To the extent they incur higher medical costs as a result, that will be their own problem to absorb.

    The same line of argument could be used to discriminate against people who like to ride road bikes on their spare time since their chances of getting in a serious wreck are a lot higher.

  24. #24
    I see trees of green
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonFreak View Post
    I know I'm sidetracking the thread a bit here.

    Yet another reason employer-based healthcare should be abandoned. It's already a huge [unfair yet completely understandable] reason for age-discrimination in employment.

    IMO if people who smoke on their free time at home (not talking on the job) are able to do the same job, they should get the same take-home pay. To the extent they incur higher medical costs as a result, that will be their own problem to absorb.

    The same line of argument could be used to discriminate against people who like to ride road bikes on their spare time since their chances of getting in a serious wreck are a lot higher.
    Sidetrack away... I 100% agree.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke View Post
    There are companies that test for smoking.
    Extreme minority.

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