Friday, January 22, 2010

Welfare and druggies, my take!

This blog might be setting me up a little. But I feel like I have to share my opinion, whether or not it changes anyone's opinion is irrelevant, because really, what is a blog for if not to tell the world exactly what you think, so they can judge you and tell you that you are wrong?

So there is a group on Facebook titled "Make drug tests mandatory to get welfare."

Now. Don't get me wrong, it's not entirely a bad idea. Most people are of the opinion that they have to take drug tests to get jobs, so welfare recipients should be required to test too.

My problem lies in the generalizations, and judgmental opinions about those who do receive welfare, medicaid, food stamps, and other assistance. Some of the people in this group say some pretty nasty things about people who receive assistance.

We are not all drug addicts, living off the system to pay for our drugs. We are not all lazy assholes who don't want to work for a living. We are not all baby factories biding our time to have another so we can get more government money. We aren't all fat people who need the food stamps to pay for their ding dongs and twinkies.

The people in this group are demanding not only drug tests, but mandatory birth control (some are even saying forced sterilization!), and forcing specific food on people because they don't agree with the food choices that people on food stamps make.

The people are bitching because people getting assistance have cell phones, or nice clothes, or nice cars. Because you know, the person can't possibly have owned those things BEFORE everything went to shit requiring them to need assistance. Those nice things can't be leftover from a life they had before they lost their income. The fact that they have those things and someone not getting assistance doesn't MUST mean they are abusing the system.

I'm not saying that no one abuses the system. I'm not saying there aren't drug addicts getting welfare. I'm saying this group is offensive because it is making judgments about everyone who gets assistance.

Some of you know that I don't have a job right now, so my house is relying primarily on this type of assistance to survive. Family members help out some with the monthly bills, but other than that, child support and assistance is how we are surviving. I have tried to find a job, but no one is calling, because the reason I lost my last job, on the surface looks really bad. But these false allegations are causing major issues for me, and with the lawyer appointments and hearings and whatnot, I'm not sure I could keep a job, because clearing this up, is the most important thing right now.

Now, lets look at the idea of drug tests. First, this will likely cost more money than would be saved by removing the drug users that get assistance. I'm not really clear on drugs and how long they stay in people's systems, so feel free to correct me if you know differently, but from what I understand one of the only drugs that will stay in your system long enough for a urinary or blood drug test to even be helpful is marijuana. As far as all the drugs in the world go, that is one of the least harmful and destructive. So what would be the point really? Hair follicle tests can go back further, but are VERY expensive, and would cost way more money to execute than could ever be saved.

I feel like everyone on this group needs to stop and consider, thats it's not just the trashy druggie people who are getting assistance. The economy is shit right now. There are lots of former professionals, who are well educated, that lost their jobs and cannot find another no matter how hard they try. Even if they are willing to take something below their former station, they cannot get those jobs as they are overqualified, and are surviving due to assistance alone. There are parents with disabled children who need to stay home and tend to the daily care of their children. There are families who would love to have a job that's just not there, and there are people who are bettering themselves through education while getting assistance so that it is not a lifelong thing.

In short, don't be so damned judgmental. You could end up there too someday.


  1. Great blog .. lots of valid points .. last line sums it up quite well! ~~ Kiminy

  2. Truthfully I hope that all those judgemental bastards lose everything so they know how humbling it is to have to beg for help to feed your kids. Also, the only drug thing I know that would help is that meth stays on your skin, in fact oozes out of your skin and can be measured in your children's systems based on how much you hold them. It also leaks onto your clothes and furniture...the things you learn when your sister's bf is a drug addict loser....
    on another note, you rock and I love you Kelli!!

  3. Wow Kelli! You definitely hit the nail on the head with this one! I agree with you, generalizing everyone who receives assistance as drug addicts is not fair, to say the least! This economy is horrible right now and jobs are sparse! There are alot of people out there who have lost their jobs that they worked at for 30+ years who now cannot find a job and need assistance! That's what the welfare system was created for! Yes, there are people who abuse this system, I won't argue that at all. But, that is still no reason to put everyone in one generalized group. This just makes me sick, and the people in that group should live a day in our shoes! Getting assistance for your family should not hold such a stigma. I almost feel sorry for those ignorant people in that group. Almost.

  4. Great blog, Kelli! You said a lot of things that I have thought for a long time. My husband and I are getting divorced, and because of that and the fact that I have been a stay at home mom for the past 7 years and haven't worked, I am on public assistance. I have been looking for and applying for jobs for the past month and have only received one call for an interview, and I never heard anything back. Yes, there are people out there who abuse the"system", but there are also people out there like us who genuinely need the assistance and "follow the rules". I agree that people need to stop being so judgemental toward people on public assistance!

  5. I understand the negative connotation regarding public assistance, as there are a lot of exploitive douches who take advantage of the system but I have to say; these fuckers are way out of line.

    I can see valid points and concerns on both sides of this debate, so here goes... I would argue that marijuana being relitively harmless isn't the best argument against drug testing because the point these people are trying to make (as hateful as they may be) is a fiscal one -if not, one of responsibility more so than one of health. "You can't afford food for your kids but pot is in the budget?" -that kind of thing. And I can't totally discredit this argument either. If a person on welfare is found to have a two hundred-dollar a week drug habit, then I am all for pulling their assistance and quite possibly taking their children.
    I think a better argument against mandatory drug testing would be one of discrimination. It is an unfair assumption to make that all persons on welfair are drug addicts, as I personally know for a fact, that there are many-many responsible, law-abiding persons who have utilized (and are currently utilizing) public assistance who absolutely need and deserve a little help.
    Then, on the other side of the token, I can see the point that most work places require drug testing and it doesn't necessarily mean they are accusing their employees of having a drug habit. So, perhaps it could be argued that the government wouldn't necessarily be accussing persons on assistance... ?
    Regarding the price of drug testing, I have to say; I find it hard to believe that drug testing can't be stream-lined and the cost greatly reduced. When I was hired at my current place of employment, they had me pee in a cup and the cup itself had the test built right in. The nurse told me that this one cup would test for a dozen different drugs within a matter of minutes. My point is simply that technology CAN be stream-lined and greatly cheapened. Look at electronics... Today's thousand-dollar gadget is tomorrow's check-out-line impulse buy. And I should think that the same would apply to these plastic, piss-testing cups.
    Regarding the food restrictions, I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I don't think anyone should be able to tell me (or anyone else) how to eat but on the other hand if I loan someone a hundred dollars for grocieries for their children, I have to admit, I expect them to buy thrifty, moderately healthy foods. I would probably be a little erked if I ran into them in the checkout line and they had a case of wine-coolers. Maybe this is judgmental of ME but I do think there is something to be said for the old addage "beggers can't be chosers"
    ...Which brings me to another point (yes, another one -sorry)... I believe there are already some restrictions regarding food and alcohol. ...Maybe tobacco, I'm not sure. So then the question becomes; Where do we stop? It's okay to say "You can't buy cigarettes with this money but you can buy Krispy Creams? Obviously, this is an extreme example but the lines do get blurred.
    Ultimately, I agree with you that the stereotypes and the fuck-wads who perpetuate them are worthless pieces of shit but it is absolutely worth noting that reforms of some kind are worth consideration because as sad as the case may be, we have all seen the bastard who works just enough hours to make some extra cash but not enough to get off of assistance. Or the asshole who shops for groceries with food stamps then buys a hundred dollars worth of lottery tickets with cash. Speaking as an individual who has utilized assistance, I must say; I am very-very grateful that it was there when I needed it but there ARE people who give the system a bad name.

  6. As a defender of public assistance, I would say that our battle is two-fold. We must fight against the judgmental pricks who look down on others for needing a little help in a pinch as well as the assholes who gave rise to the stereotypes in the first place.

    Sorry so long. I couldn't post it all in one comment because I used too many words. lol

  7. You are very definitely right Kelli. When I was pregnant, I was on aid. I didnt have insurance and at the time, you couldnt get just insurance so they gave me everything, food stamps, a minimal amount of money, and the insurance. I went to the butcher to buy meat one day and I got ONE lousy steak and a woman behind me made a not so quiet comment to her friend when she saw me pay with food stamps, that "their tax dollars were paying for me to eat steak". I was so hurt and embarassed and PISSED! People are cruel about things like that and dont realize that not everyone's situation is the same.
    Right now, with the car companies laying off like crazy, a good part of those people are now on state aid. We see them in the office as patients alot now. Its sad.
    Having said that, Michigan has one of the worst welfare systems. The county I live in is one of the worst in the entire country! I work my ass off 7 days a week and I cant even get decent insurance for my kids through the state. Yet, I see so many of our patients at the pediatric office come in whose parents drive brand new cars, have the best clothes, the best cell phones etc. and these are the ones who are constantly pregnant! One woman admitted she has a child every 2 years or so just to get more money from the state!
    So Im driving an 11 year old car, wearing $12.00 jeans, having a bitch of a time paying my $400 utility bill every month, while this woman is living high on the hog because she's abusing the system. Not to mention having children that will be raised to do the same damn thing. Its really not fair to those people who litgitimately need the help. In Michigan, the abusers are the common problem with the welfare system, which is why you get bloggers and facebook groups that demand drug testing. And for those who abuse the system and use welfare as a "job" they SHOULD get drug tested like any other job. Unfortunately, they ruin it for the people who really need the help.

  8. I only have a couple of points to make about this. First, people have been beating urine test for years to get employment, get off probation, or meet drug rehab requirements. If you want to put some work into your drug use, and towards deceiving the system, it can be done. On the other hand some drug users have no motivation to do anything more than get high, get more drugs, and get high again. This excludes making any attempt at going out and putting any effort into things like paperwork, applications, interviews, or any type of social interaction other than with a dealer. These people will never even make it on any type of assistance.

    It just pisses me off that so many people stereotype those who recieve assistance as lower class and likely to abuse drugs and/or the system.