Trip Pittman – Welfare and Drug Testing

Senator Trip Pittman of Alabama’s 32nd District (Baldwin)

If the person tests positive, he will receive a warning that any subsequent positive test will result in a loss of benefits. A second positive test will result in the loss of benefits for one year. A third positive screening will make the person permanently ineligible.

My opinion/post: I don’t understand why it has to be “3-strikes”? Why can’t it be more marginal like the second “strike” implies? As in, you fail the test once- you get a warning. Fail it twice – some loss of benefits. Fail it three times – some more loss. And so on.
Then when/if the person cleans up and they start passing the tests, they can get their subsidy reinstated. Seems like this would be much more incentivizing and appropriate.


7 thoughts on “Trip Pittman – Welfare and Drug Testing

  1. Why can’t testing for drugs for Welfare recipients fall on the level of most employers in America. For instance just as applying for a job if you apply for welfare you get treated right form the start even before you receive benefits. If you fail no Welfare, period. Then after you are on Welfare and fail test one you get a warning and are mandated to outpatients drug counseling. Upon completing this successfully you receive benefits again. That would be considered your first and only warning. After that any positive testing after that will result in an immediate loss of benefits.
    Why would this be harsh? Millions of Americans need financial help in this nation and those who are on Welfare using it as a means to support their drug addiction need to be removed so others can receive help.

  2. I see your point but my issue was with the ‘permanence’ of the loss of benefits. If someone steals from a grocery store, we don’t tell them they can’t ever buy groceries again. They incur a penalty (jail time) and then we give them another chance in society.
    Pittman is arguing that failing a drug test 3 times results in a “death penalty” of benefits.
    I don’t believe making it a ‘percentage loss’ makes the penalty any less harsh, and I believe the incentive of getting those benefits back would motivate recipients to get clean.

    Btw, thanks for your comment!

    1. I understand your point but to state I do not know of any grocery store that would allow a shoplifter back in after the they prosecuted them.
      But for Welfare testing these individuals need to know that there is a line drawn. There can’t be one, two, three or more chances because all it will create is lack of respect for the rule. Three strikes is fine in my eyes, what more does anyone need. Strike one maybe they messed up, strike two they thought they could get away with it, strike three they have problems with drugs and following the rules.
      Bottom line is we have a drug problem in this nation and we also have a poverty issue as well. Combining both of these is not the answer Those on welfare need to know that if they screw up they get into trouble just like the working man.
      No system is perfect, that is why we have checks and balances in this nation.

      1. I respect your opinion and I think we both want the same thing – less drugs, less poverty – it just appears we disagree on which incentive structure works best in achieving that goal.
        I’ll let you have that last word, and thanks again for your comments!

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words! I have been attending the events of a couple friends’ weddings which is why I have been absent from my blog recently. I will be resuming my regular posting routine today.

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