So chances are if you are on Facebook, you have seen this photo at least once sprout up on your newsfeed. Yes, the “welfare drug tests need to happen because I work and they don’t” argument is not an original one nor a necessarily shocking one. It seems that this photo’s origins are usually relegated to the non-political diehards who are more likely to post political fallacies such as the one posted above.
Yet, it continues to show up on my Newsfeed every month or so and it usually results in plenty of likes and even more shares. The argument for and against welfare has been a lightning rod for debate as people tend to moreso complain about the economic ramifications as opposed to the actual constitutional merits of a potential drug test.
But yes, let’s give a real quick answer on to why this picture is wrong and misleading.
The US Constitution is one with many different interpretations. While most people usually debate the First (freedom of speech, protest, press, etc.) and Second (right to “bear arms”) the most, sometimes the Fourth Amendment is overlooked. In the Fourth Amendment, the Constitution states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
As the link provided shows, wouldn’t you assume that a drug test would be a violation of this? Again, as the link above provided, the reasons why businesses can drug test you and not the government is because….businesses are private and thus can do things. For example, if you criticize the place you work at on Twitter, they can fire you. If you criticize the government over Twitter (without threats, I presume), the US Government can not exile, arrest nor censor your opinion.
Yet, the same people that tend to the think the Affordable Care Act (or “ObamaCare”) was unconstitutional for some reason or another, think that welfare drug testing is acceptable? Also, some of these people are on the Libertarian side of the aisle and think that government should dare I say…legalize marijuana and end the War on Drugs? Yet they believe the government should punish you for taking drugs in your own spare time? Should businesses then fire people for smoking marijuana after they are hired if they do it in their spare time?
The irony of the arguments are either offensive or ignorant depending on your perspective. However, it all feeds into the stereotype that the poor are poor only because they are addicted to drugs, are gaming the system to their advantage or they are too lazy.
Of course there are people who might be one of the three. It’s not a complete myth at all, but how many of those “drug tested welfare recipients” turned out to have tested positive? 2.5 Percent.
But hey, now on top of “your tax dollars” going to somebody else, your money is now going to useless drug tests that destroy your stereotype in the first place.
Maybe you’ll now think twice before sharing that picture?