Drug-testing welfare recipients: A big mistake for conservatives

For one, it’s undeniably and almost unfathomably a terrific example of the kind of big government conservatives rail against, crossing all kinds of privacy lines.

And it’s inefficient government, as lawsuit after lawsuit attempting to figure out just who should be tested and how much authority the state has over federal money has proven.

It’s also discriminatory and, at least according to some judges, unconstitutional. If receiving federal money is the trigger, what about drug testing everyone else who receives grants, federal loans and public money to start businesses, go to college or buy a home?

Drug testing doesn’t make a whole lot of fiscal sense either. In cases where states have implemented similar requirements — filling out a questionnaire that’s meant to red flag potential substance abusers and then trigger the drug test – savings were modest. Mississippi state Sen. Terry Burton estimates their bill could actually cost as much as $291,000 if everyone who applied turned out to be a substance abuser.