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The Contender
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Drug testing Welfare applicants in the U.S. is wrong.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,073 times Debate No: 78694
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




In recent times in the United States, the state governments have started drug testing Welfare applicants. I believe this is wrong and UnAmerican.

To be clear:
Drug testing Welfare applicants is wrong.
I take the pro side.


I accept this debate, and will take the postion that drug testing welfare applicants in the U.S. is not wrong.
Debate Round No. 1


Article from

Faux tough guys Scott Walker and Rick Scott bluster with bravado about being tough on crime and on drugs. Who benefits from drug testing, besides them and their cronies? Walker, who can"t decide his position on evolution, comes down strongly against the science on the issue of drug testing, having just proposed it as a condition for receiving public benefits, such as food stamps, and even unemployment benefits.

Walker, and Rick Scott before him, have been vociferous in their claims that such testing will save the country vast sums, as well as make us all safer. They are, after all, tough on crime.

Scott, for example, claimed that drug abuse was "much higher"R88; in welfare recipients. In fact, the rate was 2%, compared to 9.4% in the general population.

In a story about this, 02/02/12, The Daily Show"s Aasif Mandvi challenged Fl. Rep. Scott Plakin, who insisted citizens should "be happy" for the opportunity to be tested, to undergo drug testing himself, since his salary is entirely at the expense of taxpayers. Mandvi then does the same to Gov. Scott. Shockingly, both declined. The priceless video is here.

Mitt Romney, too, has come out for mandatory testingR88;: "Well my own view is, it"s a great idea. People who are receiving welfare benefits, government benefits, we should make sure they"re not using those benefits to pay for drugs. I think it"s an excellent idea.

This is the end of the article. I have my own opinion now.

If Welfare applicants are forced to be drug tested, every elected official should be required to drug test seeing that they recieve more tax paying benefits than any other people in the United States. Also, if they put a law in place, they should be held to the same standard. All of our last three Presidents have openly admitted to past drug use. What on Earth should convince us that they have a clean, golden stream now? We were once told that drug testing was needed to insure that skilled laborers were not impaired, seeing their jobs had more responsibilities, thus justifying the test as a neccessity in the workplace. Our government officials decide the fates of over 300,000,000 people. How is their possible impairment not held to the same microscope? These officials can declare war, launch nucleur weapons, and hurt or help the country with every decision they make. So I pose this question, why are Welfare applicants drug tested, but CNA's in many nursing homes are not? Teachers are not. Workers on Wallstreet are not. The President of the United States is not. Does this rule simply target the poor and fuel political images?


You say that elected officials should be tested. After all, these officials receive far more money from the taxpayers, than welfare recipients do. The difference is, with them we are paying their salary for the work they do. They are receiving our money as compensation. The official was deemed competent and elected to the position he's in. Now the taxpayers pay him to do official duties, and he could use his salary however he wants to. Why is it any different than an electrical engineer that wants to go home and try some drugs on the weekend? Just because we pay the official's salary, we should be able to tell him/her what to do with it? No. They were elected to do a (hopefully) necessary job, we pay them to do that job, and they do whatever they want with the money. If the official is not performing up to expected standards, we'll vote 'em out in the next election.

But, what is important to note, is that even if elected officials should be drug tested, that doesn't change if it's wrong to drug test welfare recipients.

The purpose of welfare is to hold up the recipient until they are able to sustain themselves. Its not a system to take lightly, taking the citizens' hard earned money and giving it to others. It has a very specific and important purpose. The people paying into this have a right to know that their money is being used smartly by the recipients. The recipients shouldn't be taking any sort of degenerative drugs, they should be actively trying to find work or get a more sustainable job. It is not an invasion of privacy, because they are using other people's money. Again, the money was given to them with a specific purpose. They shouldn't take the money and do something destructive and contrary to that purpose. So yes, this rule targets the poor. It's the same poor who are also targeted to receive welfare monies/benefits in the first place. So if taxpayers are helping out a large number of people by supplying them with helpful money, food stamps, and other "benefits", is it wrong to say that those people must prove they are using those monies as intended?

Debate Round No. 2


An electrical engineer does not get paid using tax money. Elected officials do. Elected officials do not just get a salary. They also recieve an unbelievable benefits package. It is so great that former congressman Ron Paul refused to participate in the congressional pension system, labeling it "immoral".

In 2002, the average pension payment ranged from $41,000 to $55,000. As of November 2014, senior Members of Congress who have been in office for at least 32 years can earn about $139,000 a year.

Health and life insurance-
Members of Congress are entitled to purchase health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program and life insurance through the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program. The employee portion of the policy premiums depends on the particular plan selected. U.S. Rep."Justin Amash, R-Mich.,"notes on his website that he pays $433.63 each month for his Blue Cross Blue Shield family health insurance plan. In addition, he pays $115.09 monthly for family dental and $57.50 a month for $176,000 worth of life insurance coverage.

Tax paid gym memberships and haircuts-
While crises mount abroad and at home, some candidates this year are betting that a big issue for voters will be free gym use and subsidized haircuts on Capitol Hill.

Hoping to tap some of the virulent anti-Washington rage coursing through the electorate, Democratic candidates in Republican-leaning House districts have proposed nearly identical plans to revoke a slew of Capitol Hill perks, such as the taxpayer-funded gym, salon and barbershop services for lawmakers.

Next, I argue that, under current Fourth Amendment doctrine, drug testing welfare recipients is unconstitutional.

Amendment IV
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.

While the laws were designed to help save money by keeping people who might use their benefits on illegal drugs instead of bare necessities, they largely proved to be a complete waste of the state's money. Mic reports that the implementation of the process cost the Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars.

Three years after the program was initiated in Arizona, over 87,000 welfare recipients have been tested: One test came up as positive which ended up saving the state only $560, according to USA Today.


Teaparty1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Starting off, drug testing Welfare applicants is full fledged discrimination. Every single person in the U.S. is a benificiary of some service paid for by taxes including roads, military protection, social security paid for by the next generation, schools, parks, our Congress's benefit packages and salaries(which is beyond measure), teacher salaries, law enforcement salaries, full time fire fighter salaries, government funding to Native American tribes, food stamps(not drug tested), WIC(not drug tested), disaster areas' relief, and military salaries.

Another point I'd like to make is that families with children get tax rebates and incentives for having children. If the argument ever comes up to yank any of those child-included benefits, the argument is "Kids are innocent and have no choice. We don't want to punish children for their parents' mistakes or inabilities."

Is this not the exact same thing? If the parent applying for Welfate fails the drug test, now what? We have the same dilemma. The kids are punished because of their parent's mistake. What happens if a family applies, the mom tests clean, but the nontested father then takes the money and spends it on drugs? Are we to test both parents now? What if one is clean, and one is dirty? Does that warrant a half of a check? But they test the applicant. If you are a couple applying for food stamps, don't you simply just send the clean/cleaner of the two people in the couple? A possible scenario

I now enter a quote from discussing the so called "War on Drugs", going so far as to call it a war on the poor.

"The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world," a recent report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy"concludes. "Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won." Each year that we fail to face this reality, the report says, "billions of dollars are wasted on ineffective programs," "millions of citizens are sent to prison unnecessarily," and "hundreds of thousands of people die from preventable overdoses and diseases."

" spite of the good intentions of the Commission"s report, the answer is not in easing up on petty drug offenders while going after violent criminals. Sullum rightly notes that if the problem is prohibition, the solution is ending prohibition. I agree. It"s time to end the war on the poor, and quit criminalizing drug use. This doesn"t mean we should walk away from drug abuse: many people will always need treatment for drug addiction, whether drugs are legal or illegal. But it"s time to stop disrupting communities and perpetuating the cycle of violence.
It"s time to end the war, not just draw down the troops.

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?

I"m all for a hand up, but where is it in this legislation? Someone tests positive for drugs, is denied federal assistance and is sent back out onto the streets moneyless and drug addicted. How is he any closer to being solvent or off drugs? How is the community safer when a broke and desperate drug addict is left without anywhere else to go?


Amendment IV does not say anything about drug testing. This is not people's own money they are getting. If they choose to opt in to welfare payments, they should be tested. Its not like the government is going in and testing this person without consent.

People receive benefit's paid for by taxes. Yes, so? In this case, someone is getting other people's money for a purpose, the money should be used as intended.

If a mom tests clean and the father takes the money she receives, she should report him for theft.

Maybe people who receive grants, business loans etc. should be tested. And maybe testing welfare recipients is pure discrimination. But again, this doesn't change the fact on whether testing the applicants is wrong. Just because other people are not tested, doesn't mean welfare applicants should not be.

Debate Round No. 4


To start, I quote your own statement.
"Maybe people who receive grants, business loans etc. should be tested. And maybe testing welfare recipients is pure discrimination. But again, this doesn't change the fact on whether testing the applicants is wrong. Just because other people are not tested, doesn't mean welfare applicants should not be."

Read this a few times, and see if it hits you. This is an admission of discrimination. These very words declare that it is discrimination.

Turn in your husband? They are already struggling beyond hope. Ridding yourself of your mate and support is scary as you know what, especially when in this position. All they see is loneliness. This suggestion is uncomprehendable to most people with a mate. The old adage says "Love is blind". Try living with someone for 20 years, and then turning on them. It's almost impossible. it difficult to leave.
-I"m nothing. I don"t deserve better.
-I feel paralyzed.
-I can"t face making decisions anymore.
-I was brainwashed to believe that I couldn"t cope without my partner.
-I am so used to life being this way.
-I"m more comfortable with what I know, than the unknown out in the world.

The response to my argument gives no answer to the children who are denied because of their parent's issue or a person who fails and gets no help feeling forced into violent, criminal behavior such as burglary. The response also admits it is discrimination.

Thank you for considering my position.


I am not going to post anymore because I dont have time. Thanks for debating this, it is a great topic. Im sorry for the forfeit and brief responses but Im very busy.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Gabyfink 2 years ago
If welfare is due because is right, there is not reason why GOV should trespass personal rights. An argument "redutio ab absurdum" would be requesting a DNA exam to the appiclant to see if is worthy enough to receive welfare aid.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ColeTrain 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff