There is nothing so dangerous as the faux "outrage" of Democrats over Republican policy. Over at HuffPo, there are two stories embedded into one regarding drug testing that new Republican governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Rick Scott of Florida want implemented. There is a lot missing in both stories, perhaps deliberately so, perhaps not.
In the report on Gov. Haley, she is quoted:
"Down on River Site, they were hiring a few hundred people, and when we sat down and talked to them -- this was back before the campaign -- when we sat down and talked to them, they said of everybody they interviewed, half of them failed a drug test, and of the half that was left, of that 50 percent, the other half couldn't read and write properly," Haley said.
"That's what we have in South Carolina," she continued. "We don't have an unemployment problem. We have an education and poverty problem."
HuffPo reporter Arthur Delaney asked a Department of Energy spokesman about it since DoE owns the site. The spokesman said he didn't understand what Haley was talking about:
"At the peak of hiring under the Recovery Act we had less than 1 percent of those hired test positive."
Delaney is trying to say Haley is exaggerating her claims so that she can implement drug testing for those seeking unemployment benefits. Yet, do you see any hard numbers from anyone? The only one who seems to offer any is Haley, and even there, there is no time frame specified. And while the DoE spokesman provides a time frame, he (like Haley) only throws out percentages instead of hard numbers. This is reporting?
The embedded story in the HuffPo piece has to do with Gov. Scott of Florida implementing a policy to require those on welfare to be tested for drugs on a monthly basis. Here, they actually have some hard numbers [emphasis mine]:
Having begun the drug testing in mid-July, the state Department of Children and Families is still tabulating the results. But at least 1,000 welfare applicants took the drug tests through mid-August, according to the department, which expects at least 1,500 applicants to take the tests monthly.
So far, they say, about 2 percent of applicants are failing the test; another 2 percent are not completing the application process, for reasons unspecified.
Here is where the article fails:
Cost of the tests averages about $30. Assuming that 1,000 to 1,500 applicants take the test every month, the state will owe about $28,800-$43,200 monthly in reimbursements to those who test drug-free.
That compares with roughly $32,200-$48,200 the state may save on one month's worth of rejected applicants.
So out of a thousand applicants, around 20 tested positive and 20 more stopped applying. Yet, look at the portion I highlighted earlier: there were 1500 expected applicants, but only around 1000 applied. This doesn't mean that the state saved from paying welfare benefits to 40 people, but they saved from having to pay benefits to nearly 500 people, those who were rejected due to testing positive for drugs, those who stopped an application, and those who didn't apply at all; note that in the piece, the savings from the latter group doesn't get applied to the savings they are reporting. Now, it is possible that there could be 1500 applicants the following month, and the number will probably vary over time. But the fact of the matter is, the article is itself incomplete.
In a twist on this, the ACLU is suing Florida claiming the new law allows the state government to subject individuals to an unreasonable search and seizure process (the drug test) in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Uh-huh. Apparently, the ACLU believes there is another right found in the Constitution, the right of drug users to expect taxpayers fund their addictions. Never mind that all kinds of private and public jobs require people to be subjected to drug tests without creating a Constitutional crisis. Nope. In this case, we are to assume that those who get taxpayer money for not working are all angels. Spare me.
This begs the obvious question I would pose to Democrats. Do you give your own money to drug users to allow them to buy more drugs? If not, why should everybody else be forced to do so?
Cross-posted at Scipio the Metalcon.