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If you think this is about YOU, maybe you should go reconcile with your parent and work to get back your kids instead of continuing to be a jerk. If you think I am you, or similar to you, welcome! :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Legislators, whose welfare do you consider? Part I

Recently, the legislature of Florida passed, and Gov. Scott signed into law, a a bill that requires prospective welfare recipients to submit urine, tissue or hair samples in order to receive benefits. Parents who fail drug tests can name some other individual to collect on behalf of their children, but that other individual must also pass a drug test. 

I don't care if people who want certain jobs gain them by taking a private drug test for the company. I think the government is wrong when it makes military members take drug tests, but when one signs one's life away to join the military, one has no current choice.

But I think it's wrong to drug test welfare recipients.

You of course ask why. I think it makes several assumptions that are not true.

It assumes that all people who are recipients of welfare are drug addicts, thus reinforcing stereotypes. It assumes they are all stupid, wasteful individuals who have no self-defenses when it comes to drugs.  It doesn't take into account parents who find themselves suddenly single. It doesn't take into account alcohol.  It expands the black market for clean, fresh urine creators, and ways to trick the System. What it does for foster parents who act as representative payees (RPY) for foster children I have no idea.

It makes grandparents pee in a bottle, usually grandmothers. As a class, grandmothers should be up at arms at pulling their undies down.

If, indeed, drugs are involved in this scenario, somewhere along the line there is going to be a grandparent who must use the system to get some kind of care for a child. It might be a senior on a fixed income who now has more mouths to feed. It could be getting the kids health insurance. It could be an attempt to get the local child support office to make an attempt to collect support from unwilling adult children.

I opined on a friend's Facebook page that, instead of trying to create more jobs for lab techs and clean piddlers, perhaps Florida and other states should consider in-kind goods, if they were so stinkin' worried about the money being misused. I know quite a few grandparents in the situation of raising grandkids, and they would not be adverse to receiving help along the lines of the Women, Infants and Children program, or WIC. 

WIC gives pregnant and nursing moms, and kids under a certain age or with certain nutritional needs, vouchers. These vouchers are not very popular among the drug-addled crowd. They are extremely specific, for certain items of food. It states very plainly how many dozen eggs, how many boxes of which whole-grain cereals, how many jars and type of peanut butter, and how many gallons of milk a recipient gets. No sugar water in pretty colors. No mistaking the intent of the money. 

I see no difference between a jar of Skippy and a pair of 4T  jeans. I see no difference between a dozen eggs and basic school shirts. 

I mentioned that I don't believe in welfare, but as long as the government was offering, if I needed it, I would use it. Ultimately, I would like to see welfare gone, and people who need help going to those willing to give it, instead of redistribution of wealth via child support collection and TANF payments.

Would you believe that a young woman informed me that grandparents who collect welfare on behalf of their grandchildren actually "take" the grandchildren in order to collect the TANF money to buy drugs and alcohol, and were responsible for their adult children's misbehavior? She of course believed that children in such instances were better off with the State in foster care. She actually stated that grandparents' income should be counted toward the support of grandchildren, even when they were conceived by adults and not as a part of the grandparents' household.

It is a good thing I live nowhere near this young, ignorant, naive woman. As it was, I gave her an earful then and there on my friend's wall. When I apologized, he told me I was right, especially for my main thought: Welfare shouldn't exist. Period.

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