Previously I discussed how people receiving government assistance — or who receive more in aid than they pay in taxes — should be required to do community service. This would be one way to make sure everyone is contributing as much as they can to our public obligations.
But another way to make sure that those receiving taxpayer assistance are being as productive as possible is to require that they not be using drugs.
Now, I believe that drugs should be legalized. I have some misgivings about it, because legalization would remove some of the social stigma against drug use.
But I think that the advantages — in particular, defunding drug cartels and removing the incentive for a host of drug-related crimes — outweigh those misgivings. Legalize drugs, give people full information about what effects drugs have, and then let people make their own choices. I don’t believe the government should fund rehabilitation programs, but I do think we should pass stiffer laws punishing DWI and the like. Whether it’s driving, operating a crane, or teaching or supervising children, if you’re under the influence while in a position to harm (or fail to protect) others, it should result in serious jail time. Along those lines, another plus that legalizing drugs would have is that law enforcement would be able to focus on more serious crimes (like DWI, or defrauding government aid programs).
But, whether drug use is illegal or not, people who are having the government pay their bills should not be allowed to be on drugs. If you can take drugs without jeopardizing others, fine (just like with alcohol, smoking, etc.). But it’s not OK if you’re harming others or having others pay your rent.
This is really a corollary to the previous reform — mandatory community service — and the next one — no purchasing luxuries. If your bills are being paid by someone else, you should be doing something in return. You should be productive, not using drugs. Plus, if you don’t have the money to pay for your own necessities of life, then you shouldn’t be buying luxuries or things you don’t need. And drugs are not one of life’s necessities.
The basic idea is simple: People who are on welfare or unemployment or food stamps or Medicare shouldn’t be recreational drug users. If they are, they should be disqualified from receiving government aid.
Certainly, drug testing an intrusion. But so is having someone else pay your way. You can’t live in someone else’s house and then complain about a lack of privacy. If you want privacy, get your own house. If you don’t like drug testing, don’t receive taxpayer assistance. If you can’t pay your own way and have no choice but to receive taxpayer assistance, then you should accept drug testing as is a fair intrusion.
While taxpayers are paying someone’s bills, they’re a lot like a government employee, many of whom are drug tested. It’s their house, their rules.
But this reform shouldn’t just apply to individuals. Corporations and industries that are subsidized (or bailed out) by taxpayers should meet the same requirement. Routine drug testing of those working in these industries is fair. More, it will prompt them to think about whether they really, genuinely need taxpayer dollars, or whether it’s aid that they can do without.
Again, this is all in the name of clarifying our government aid programs, spelling out more clearly and fairly what behavior we’ll support what what we won’t. People who can do some work in exchange for taxpayers paying their bills should work.
And people who are having their bills paid by taxpayers shouldn’t be using drugs. They can’t be allowed to undermine themselves while others are bailing them out.