Drug Testing for Welfare Benefits Is a Good Thing, but Not Why You Think

Back in September, San Francisco mayor London Breed put forth a proposal to screen the city’s welfare recipients for drug use. Those who failed a drug test would have to undergo a drug addiction screening and no longer receive financial help unless they agreed to enroll in a drug treatment program.

“I want to cry just thinking about it,” said welfare recipient and drug user Shelly Brown. “No more handouts without accountability,” said Mayor Breed.

San Francisco’s General Assistance program is a safety net that provides up to $687 per month in cash to indigent adults. Over $30 million in assistance was administered to roughly 5,200 people in fiscal year 2022. The program is required under state law and is locally funded. Augason Farms Long Gra... Buy New $43.48 (as of 12:17 UTC - Details)

The drug-testing proposal must be approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors for it to become law. However, because some members of the board balked, Mayor Breed said that she is placing her proposal on the March 2024 ballot.

These are the kinds of proposals that make conservative drug warriors salivate. (Most liberals are drug warriors as well, but their “compassion” for welfare recipients; that is, potential Democratic voters, usually overrides their aversion to drugs.) Conservatives generally view proposals like this as a way to punish people for using drugs and at the same time to appear to be fiscally conservative, which they are anything but.

I think drug testing for welfare benefits is a good thing, but not for the same reasons that most conservatives do.

Since there is no right to receive welfare; that is, income transferred and wealth redistributed from one American to another after first going through the maze of the federal bureaucracy, anything that reduces welfare by any amount is a good thing. Any hurdle that any welfare recipient must jump over before receiving a dime of American taxpayers’ hard-earned money is a good thing. Any restriction put on any welfare recipient is a good thing. Any hoop that any welfare recipient must climb through is a good thing. Any work requirements put on any welfare recipient is a good thing. Any stipulation put forth before any American can become a welfare recipient is a good thing. Augason Farms Dried Wh... Buy New $69.99 (as of 08:52 UTC - Details)

I have elsewhere given six reasons why welfare should be eliminated:

  1. The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to institute welfare programs or give the states block grants to operate welfare programs.
  2. It is not a legitimate purpose of government to fund or operate welfare programs, fight poverty, subsidize anyone’s wages, help the disabled, provide job training, or aid “the poor.”
  3. It is immoral to take money from some Americans and transfer it to other Americans—even if the government is doing the taking.
  4. No one is entitled to receive welfare benefits no matter what his situation or how much he “needs” the money.
  5. “The rich” have no legal obligation to help “the poor,” no matter how much money some government bureaucrat or private busybody thinks that “the rich” ought to fork over.
  6. Charity should always be private and voluntary.

So, drug testing for welfare benefits is a good thing, but not because drugs are bad, addictive, unhealthy, harmful, or illegal. Any test that any American has to pass in order to become a welfare recipient is a good thing. No matter how complex or difficult the test is.