Scott Walker

The Great Republican Hope: Scott Walker's Re-Election Push Includes Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

|

Scott Walker
Gage Skidmore

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in a tight race for re-election, released a 62 page plan for "Greater Prosperity for All." Among the proposals, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentimental reported, is the tired old canard of drug testing recipients of food stamps and unemployment. In 2011 Florida passed a similar law, which was eventually ruled unconstitutional; 2.6 percent of recipients tested positive for narcotics, mostly marijuana and the effort cost more than it saved. Nevertheless, in the wake of the Florida law, by 2012 more than 20 states had similar bills introduced in their legislature.  And Florida wasn't the first place the idea to drug test welfare recipients gained currency.

The urge to police recipients of government aid is part of the conservative approach to the welfare state. As Shikha Dalmia noted last year, "the welfare state suits conservatives just fine. Its existence gives them an excuse to regulate individual choices. And it's their trump card for stopping liberty-oriented reforms they dislike. 

Two months out from his re-election, Walker pulls out the "drug test welfare recipients" card. Will it pay off? The Democratic candidate, Mary Burke, hasn't said anything about marijuana one way or the other on the campaign trail and it's not mentioned on her website. Last year she insisted she was "open" to legalizing medical marijuana but it hasn't been a campaign issue.

Other parts of Walker's plan include lowering the total amount of time able-bodied people can receive food stamps and unemployment, and an income tax cut of an unspecified amount.

The vice president of the Arizona GOP, a state senator, resigned his party position this weekend after suggesting sterilization and drug testing for Medicaid recipients.

More Reason on Scott Walker.

NEXT: Do We Really Need a Federal Robotics Commission?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (D)

    I know they’re basically the same party, but still.

    1. Especially Walker who is considered by the Democrats to be even worse then Hitler.

      1. You know who else was worse…never mind.

  2. So Reason says NO to drug testing welfare recipients.

    What about just stopping welfare payments?

    1. Drug testing before marriage?

    2. Two different arguments. Completely ending welfare feels “wrong” to a lot of people and no politician who wants to get elected will ever say that. While providing benefits to stoners gets many of those same people’s blood boiling for whatever reason.

      1. Paying for Sandra Fluke’s recreational copulation through Obanacare: Libertarian Bad,

        Paying for druggies recreational drugs through welfare: Libertarian Good.

        1. I figured it had more to do with the fact that we would then need to allocate more spending on the welfare program to administer various moral stipulation tests.

          If you’re going to give people free shit, maybe you should have established the caveats first.

          1. Drug testing is not free. It’s an added expense to the program. Plus if they find drugs in the welfare recipients sample, that spawns a whole new wave of “help” with counseling, classes, etc. I’d just as soon give the money to the jobless guy as give it to some “helpful” addictions counselor.

        2. Here’s the diff, Homple:

          Sandra Fluke’s birth control was going to be paid for with Other People’s Money as an entitlement.

          A druggie spending their welfare check on drugs is the druggie spending their own money on drugs. Sure, it used to be OPM, but once its paid out as welfare to the druggy, its THEIR money. Which they should be to spend how they like.

          1. And they may not be the person paying for it. Maybe their girlfriend or a poker buddy or their brother. This idea is fucking stupid.

            1. I was curious to see what happens at the crossing of drugs=good, government largess=bad axes in libertarian multidimensional space.

          2. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to attach conditions to the continued receipt of said welfare. Heck, I’d be happy to make Medicaid and other social welfare programs even more onerous to sign up and maintain eligibility for; it deters people from trying to game the system to get free shit.

  3. Such laws are pretty obviously unconstitutional. You can’t make people wave their rights against search and seizure as a condition of receiving government benefits.

    There is little chance of this getting passed and little chance of it surviving the courts if it ever were.

    What these laws are is a socially acceptable way for people to express their frustration with welfare in general. No candidate can come out and say the truth that people are tired of paying for support other people. So instead they say “I don’t think we should be paying people to use drugs”. That for whatever reason is acceptable. Why exactly it is acceptable to object to paying for someone to use drugs but not acceptable to object to paying for someone to buy Cheetos I have never quite understood. But that is how it is.

    1. But it is constitutional to require drug testing in the US military for example.

      So instead of saying that welfare is a benefit, just say that they are government employees. And remember work is not actually required of government employees.

      1. Military gets special deference the rest of the government doesn’t get. And getting welfare is not the same as employment. The courts just look at it differently.

    2. You can’t make people wave their rights against search and seizure as a condition of receiving government benefits.

      Yet, you are required to waive a whole host of rights as a government contractor.

      Which seems backwards: You can’t waive rights in order to get money for nothing, but you can waive rights in order to get money for providing goods and services.

    3. Such laws are pretty obviously unconstitutional. You can’t make people wave their rights against search and seizure as a condition of receiving government benefits.

      The government makes you do that just to get on a plane.

      1. The government makes you do that just to get on a plane.

        Airplanes aren’t government benefits.

        1. Astute observation. But the government makes you relinquish rights to exercise other rights, in this case the right to travel freely. Getting a check from the government is not a right.

    4. They want to believe so badly that the average person is just one paycheck away from homelessness, and that welfare recipients are just hardworking normal people who are down on their luck.

      And that people who say otherwise are greedy and mean and unenlightened.

      1. There exist welfare recipients who are genuinely using the money to better themselves and will spend only a small portion of their lives collecting it. Just like there exist cops who are genuinely interest in justice and keeping their fellows honest.

        Then there are the other 99%.

    5. You can’t make people wave their rights against search and seizure as a condition of receiving government benefits.

      I thought public housing had inspections.

  4. Be a man. End welfare benefits wholesale.

    1. See my comment above. If Walker did that, the media would have a Sarah Palin like WWF beat down on him for being evil and hating poor people.

      This really is a case of a dog whistle. You can’t say you want to end all welfare in public. So you put forward ideas like this to show the people who support the idea but also can’t say so publicly that you are one of them.

    2. Be a man. End welfare benefits wholesale.

      Isn’t that too radical for Reason magazine?

  5. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (D)

    Why, you… turncoat!

    1. Vato…for once we agree

  6. Is it too much to expect all elected official to get themselves drug-tested before the election and willfully subject themselves to random drug tests while in office?

    1. No. And I would go one step further. I would drug test the living shit out of both Congress and their staffs. We can’t have people legislating while stoned can we?

  7. the welfare state suits conservatives just fine. Its existence gives them an excuse to regulate individual choices

    Ach, what b.s.! Conservatives don’t think “Oh boy, an excuse to regulate individual choices!” They think “If the taxpayer is going to support your sorry ass, you better not be spending that money on getting high.” I don’t consider that unreasonable.

    In any case, I will be hugely disappointed if Walker loses.

    1. It was Dalmia. She is not big on thinking.

      1. Is it possible she’s actually a hardcore paleocon, and is writing intentionally stupid pieces as a sort of false flag?

        Are we sure it’s not some middle aged white dude from Stormfront writing her stuff?

        1. Are we sure it’s not some middle aged white dude from Stormfront writing her stuff?

          OK, I larfed.

    2. It’s progressives who see control of individuals as one of the big upsides of the welfare state.

      1. Yup, but only certain kinds of control.


    3. Ach, what b.s.! Conservatives don’t think “Oh boy, an excuse to regulate individual choices!” They think “If the taxpayer is going to support your sorry ass, you better not be spending that money on getting high.” I don’t consider that unreasonable.

      So, is this the libertarian spin on something that libertarians (at least the ones I know) have been pretty against?

      I find Libertarians come in many flavors. One of which is the callous asshole and Scott Walker is the incarnation of the Callous Libertarian Asshole.

      I think Scott Walker has a great chance of losing. I hope he does run for President and wins the Republican Nomination. In fact, I may just register republican so that I can vote Walker up in NY.

      1. I don’t claim to be a pure libertarian.

        1. Gotta love the concern trolls.

          1. Is being contrarian to this policy trolling?

      2. This from a person who’s party is running Martha Coakley for governor.

      3. Scott Walker is the incarnation of the Callous Libertarian Asshole.

        Scott Walker is a libertarian? I didn’t know that.

        1. It’s a common and unoriginal tactic. Conflate libertarians with Republicans and then point out what great big anti-freedom asshats Republicans are.

    4. “I don’t consider that unreasonable.”

      It’s pretty unreasonable considering billions go to Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Haiti, West Bank/Gaza, South Sudan, Russia, Somalia, Tanzania, Congo (Kinshasa), Uganda, Nigeria, Sudan, South Africa, Mozambique, Ukraine, Yemen, Bangladesh, and Liberia with nary a critique and most of these countries have far worse issues than getting high on someone’s dime.

      1. I think you’re changing the subject. I can object to both wasted foreign aid and to wasted welfare spending.

  8. I’d honestly be more in favour of scrapping welfare if you own a television or an internet connection. Don’t need to sell your television to the pawn shop for food money? You aren’t poor. Sell the damn thing, and pick up some books from the public library if you’re bored.

    /only half-sarcastic.

    1. Fair enough. Can we scrap Bankruptsy if one happens to own assets as well. You aren’t broke, Sell everything including your cloths and pick up a book from the public library and learn how to change bed pans.

      1. Before we start getting all Jesus on welfare recipients let’s start with the billions we shell out to the world beyond the ghetto and trailer park.

      2. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that most lenders are not going to give two shits about the shirt on your back, unless it’s a $500 suit that’s barely worn.

      3. Can we scrap Bankruptsy if one happens to own assets as well.

        Since bankruptcy is the process for allocating your inadequate assets among your numerous creditors, this makes no sense.

      4. ‘Half sarcastic’ is rather key there, I’m more mocking both the expectation of being able to successfully monitor welfare recipient’s behaviour and the fact that spoiled Westerners will claim poverty while still owning expensive entertainment items, such as drugs or electronic devices. My employment has been off and on for years and the first thing I do when times are tough is sell off excess entertainment goods (currently I don’t own a tv and I’ve sold off my better computer for cash).

        That, and I want to encourage literacy. For progressive feel-goods and what not.

    2. I would rather give poor people some help than give billionaire’s and their companies continued welfare.

      1. What do poor people do with free money, if not spend it on the products sold by businesses?

        1. And why not cut out the middleman?

          1. There are so many middlemen it’s hard to know which one you’re talking about.

          2. Pretty sure Bastiat covered this over a hundred and fifty years ago already (see VI.-THE INTERMEDIATES).

            But I forget, proggies can’t be bothered enough to learn simple economics.

            1. That’s economics and history, they’re utterly clueless about both.

      2. Can I choose “None of the above”?

  9. We shouldn’t be drug testing anyone.

    1. I could totally go for making LEO’s pee in a cup every time they show up for work.

      1. ^this.

        You want to engage in state-sanctioned violence for a living, let’s at least make sure you are respecting the laws and system you expect to enforce and aren’t in an altered state while on the job.

  10. I don’t believe welfare recipients should be drug tested.

    On the other hand I think everyone who works for the government, down to the guy who won contract to mow the smallest’s towns lawn should be drug tested every time they get a pay check.

    1. *On the other hand I think everyone who works for the government, down to the guy who won contract to mow the smallest’s towns lawn should be drug tested every time they get a pay check*

      Moronic. Employees perform a service. Welfare is guaranteed money down a hole.

      1. Not true. every penny of welfare money goes to local and natioanl business. This includes the money spent on crack.

        1. local and natioanl business.

          Is the Mexican Cartel a local or national business?

      2. Employees perform a service. Welfare is guaranteed money down a hole.

        Well, we are talking about government employees, so for some of them “doing their job” means “impeding the economy and suppressing freedom”, which is worse than throwing the money down a hole.

    2. Automatic two-year bans for legislators testing positive.

      If it’s good enough for the evil people at WADA….

      1. Unfortunately that would require a constitutional amendment.

  11. If they defined “welfare” appropriately to include Social Security and Medicare, all of these proposals would be DOA

    1. Welfare is by definition the free money *those* people get to subsidize their laziness and drug use.

      1. “Welfare” can be taking my money to give to someone else to lay about, it canb be taking my money to give to Boeing via the Ex-Im Bank, it can be my money taken from me and handed to Solyndra and other cronies. None of them have any right to my labor and time.

        I voluntarily give money and time to help others, without having a gun stuck in my face.

        1. And that is very noble of u.

          However, given callousness of libertarians, i think the donation bucket will only have your money in it.

          1. Because we oppose taking by force, we must therefore oppose giving by choice. Infallible logic!

            You are petulant retard, Alice Bowie, but you make up for up it by being a moral cripple.

            1. I’ll end it on my par here: The notion that all tax is theft is silly.

              1. Lets look at the big one: income tax. is that not theft to you?

                1. Why is income tax theft but sales tax is not theft? You voluntarily chose to get a job that provides an income just as you voluntarily buys a pack of gum. Money out of your pocket either way.

                  Maybe I just happen to work at a place where income tax is routinely deducted, while all of you for some strange reason have government agents shoving guns in your faces every two weeks?

                  1. Maybe I just happen to work at a place where income tax is routinely deducted, while all of you for some strange reason have government agents shoving guns in your faces every two weeks?

                    What happens if your employer decides not to withhold from your paycheck?

                  2. They’re both an involuntary taking backed by the threat of violence (theft), but perhaps one can more easily see it when it comes to income.

                    Maybe I just happen to work at a place where income tax is routinely deducted, while all of you for some strange reason have government agents shoving guns in your faces every two weeks?

                    They don’t show up because you comply with them out of fear. Almost all of us do.

                  3. Turd.Burglar.

                  4. Go fuck yourself Tony. No one should pay for the “privilege” of putting good on their table.

              2. All tax is theft. When you say “tax” you really mean “spending” because you always have an eye on how the money is used. Why, how can tax be theft when everybody needs a fire department!

                Well, since I need a fire department, I will pay for it. I do not need you to force me to do so. Reality will convince me of the need (or it won’t, it’s still not your business either way).

                The best argument you can make for the legitimacy of tax is that it’s theft we’ve all agreed to. Yet that is plainly not true, since so many work so hard to reduce their obligation to the taxman.

              3. Turd.Burglar.

          2. Project much?

            1. That’s all fucktards like Alice and Tony have.

              They would step over you and look down in disgust if you asked them for a dollar and automatically assume everyone else would do the same.

              News flash assholes: YOU are the moral cripples here.

    2. Drug testing Medicare recipients would be a little silly, since Medicare is the source of their drugs in the first place.

  12. Reason is my favorite site and i love debating here. I’, not a libertarian. but I find libertarians to be smarter than liberals and conservatives.

    Scott Walker is definitely the type of libertarian I hate.

    Like I’ve mentioned before, libertarian policies do nothing but make democrats out of people at the poles 😉 .

    Go ahead, get rid of welfare, unemployment, disability and the entire thing.

    See what impact this will have on the economy. Remember, these people pay cable, buy cell phones, food, etc from the Holy Job Creator.

    1. Where do you think the welfare money comes from? Does it fall out of the sky? Is it delivered bi-weekly by your fairy fucking god mother? How does shifting resources from the productive to the unproductive help the economy?

      1. Let me try to explain.

        You skim pennies from all to give to those few dollars to purchase goods services from their local businesses.

        What % of people r on welfare in the ghetto, for example.

        Are these local businesses ready for the impact of losing those consumers?

        If you don’t own a business there or if you are not poor, i know you don’t care. But can u a least have some compassion for the business owners in the hood?

        1. No, let me explain. People have this thing called survival instinct. Absent welfare, they will not simply sit down in the middle of the street and die. They will find productive work, they will spend their own money how they see fit, and nobody gets robbed.

          The above scenario works much better when government gets out of the way and let’s people live and trade freely BTW.

        2. But can u a least have some compassion for the business owners in the hood?

          The funny thing is that, absent the well intentioned misdeeds of your ilk, that business owner would not have to depend on the forcibly extracted fruit of another’s labor to make a living. He would have legitimate customers, people who had made an honest dime, spending their own hard-earned dollars in his store.

          1. No one patronizes ghetto businesses other than ghetto people, for the most part and their overseers.

            If you think it is bad and crime ridden now, take away welfare and sets see how it looks.

            Unless you mean wait for all of these people and send in the militarized american police to kill them all or lock them up. At that point, yes, u r right, the neighborhood will gentrify. But it won’t be the same businesses.

          2. No one patronizes ghetto businesses other than ghetto people, for the most part and their overseers.

            If you think it is bad and crime ridden now, take away welfare and sets see how it looks.

            Unless you mean wait for all of these people and send in the militarized american police to kill them all or lock them up. At that point, yes, u r right, the neighborhood will gentrify. But it won’t be the same businesses.

            1. If you think it is bad and crime ridden now, take away welfare and sets see how it looks.

              An immediate cessation of welfare benefits, combined with dysfunctional and oppressive business climate created by the government, would almost certainly lead to utter chaos in many places.

              That is undoubtedly true. It also means that welfare is little more than ransom money, paid by the taxpayer to keep the “ghetto” at bay and to assuage the guilt for playing a part in creating and sustaining the “ghetto” in the first place.

              The best solution is to abolish economic regulation, then drastically lower taxation, then eliminate the welfare benefits. If you give a man a fish, …

        3. Taxes are NOT the “take a penny, leave a penny” plate at the gas station!

      2. How does shifting resources from the productive to the unproductive help the economy?

        The rich didn’t deserve it, and the poor do. That is the argument in its entirety. It is no more subtle or nuanced than that, despite the attempts of many to build up a philosophical framework to justify it.

        It is farcical to suggest that every rich man is equally undeserving as the worst of them and every poor man is equally deserving as the best of them, yet that is what they believe.

        I suppose you could boil it down to a simpler idea, that profit is evil. Yet all men seek profit in what they do, even if it is not measured in dollars.

        It is again farcical to suggest that, through sufficient application of manpower, you can purge mankind of its own nature, yet that is the heart of their goals.

        When you have accepted such fallacies as the truth of existence, it no longer matters where the money comes from. It does not even matter if the rich are all gone and nothing is left to be stolen, despite the suffering of the poor whose numbers have swollen. The punishment was deserved, and all else is an unfortunate lack of luck.

        1. I think the notion of “no rich people left” is far fetch.

          No one says “profit is evil” especially progressives. Here in NY, there are many wealthy progressives that make a profit, pay taxes, and want to help the disadvantage.

          1. The opportunity cost for no welfare is the return of an extreme poverty aboloshed in the usa.

          2. The opportunity cost of having welfare is the fraud, abuse, and inefficiencies.

          I pick #2.

          1. 1. The opportunity cost for no welfare is the return of an extreme poverty aboloshed in the usa.

            Citation needed.
            Poverty was falling for years before LBJ’s war on poverty, its been holding steady ever since.

            1. “holding steady”

              Meaning what? That perhaps his policies stabilized things and prevented further swings to higher poverty? It doesn’t demonstrate your point at all.

              1. Indeed, it proves nothing. However, the stated aim of reducing poverty has not been met, so the program is a failure and should be abolished.

                Then, if poverty (no redefinition allowed!) drastically swings upward, the program can be restored. Also, for the duration of this time period, if even the slightest hint of false flagging is detected, you will of course commit seppuku over your dishonor.

                1. If poverty has never gone back to the highs of pre-GS, then it seems pretty likely that the programs worked fabulously to reduce poverty.

                    1. Since poverty was on the decline for years, you might want to rethink your assertion.

                  1. The claim that the poor today are still poor is insane.

                    Our poor have air conditioning, elevators, Public Schools, medical treatment, and even disposable cash sometimes along with food stamps.

                    All this Thanks to Welfare. The price of Welfare is that you have laggards and lazy bums that use our safety net as a hammock. I’m willing to live with that oppurtunity cost.

                    1. Our poor have air conditioning, elevators, Public Schools, medical treatment, and even disposable cash sometimes along with food stamps.

                      The insidious lie underpinning this bullshit is that “our poor” couldn’t accomplish this on their own. If the unearned income stopped flowing, what would happen to all these things?

                      You are such filth that you look at the millions you’ve turned into slaves, and proclaim your greatness for having given them so much. Sure, we deprived them of all agency and humanity, but they have air conditioning!

                      All this Thanks to Welfare. The price of Welfare is that you have laggards and lazy bums that use our safety net as a hammock. I’m willing to live with that oppurtunity cost.

                      No, all this “thanks” to the wealth you have violently stolen from others. It is so convenient to forget the other side of welfare, wherein you throw people in jail for the crime of wanting to keep the fruit of their own labor.

                      Never mind all the sticky fingers that money moves through before it lands in the hands of “the poor” which you benighted souls are so interested in “helping”. So what if the money is wasted, you didn’t have to work for it!

                  2. If poverty has never gone back to the highs of pre-GS, then it seems pretty likely that the programs worked fabulously to reduce poverty.

                    And you call yourself an atheist! Why, with untestable hypotheses like that, you can found a religion!

          2. Welfare cannot abolish poverty. If it could then there would be no poverty in the world, because every country in this day and age is a welfare state. Find some shithole in Africa or Asia, doesn’t matter where. There exists some government with jurisdiction over that land and laws on the books that say the poor should be provided for. Every single square acre of inhabited land on the face of this planet has welfare.

            Yet poverty persists. Real, true, absolute, destitute poverty. At the very least, it is not enough to have welfare. You must first have wealth. If you have no wealth, you have nothing to redistribute, and thus the best you can achieve is equality of poverty. Some outcome!

            So wealth is necessary, and welfare is not sufficient. Now, the real argument lies in whether wealth is sufficient and welfare is necessary. Since there exists no place without welfare presently, the best we can do is look at historical examples. What can be seen from the historical record is that, in any place where welfare is implemented for the first time, the best outcome that can be observed is a short spike in the well-being of some, followed by a long depression in the well-being of all.

          3. The true cost lies in the lives altered, the businesses never founded, the jobs never offered, the raises never given, the trades never made, and the innovations never attempted.

            If you feel this is worth it, then you can pony up your own money. If you are able to convince me of the same, then I will contribute. As it stands, you are forcibly taking from me to make a trade I do not agree with. How is that not wrong?

          4. Plenty of progressives say that.

    2. Scott Walker is definitely the type of libertarian I hate

      Scott Walker is a libertarian?

  13. Sounds like a plan to me dude.

    http://www.Crypt-Tools.tk

  14. Us Liberals Think of Scott Walker the way you guys think of Elizabeth Warren.

    1. Boo hoo, pubesc unions (a complete abomination) can’t force people to pay dues to them if they don’t want to.

      Yeah he’s a real asshole compared to that saint who lied about her ethnicity to get a six figure job at an Ivy League to go around bitching about the damn 1% and how they don’t pay their fair share.

      Oh, and HE’S NOT A FUCKING LIBERTARIAN.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.