Saturday, May 24, 2008

The War On America's Poor

As the far right gasps it's death rattle in what has been the nation's nightmare these past long seven and one half years, a desperate attempt to extinguish the existence of the poor in this country seems to be at the forefront of every agenda being shoved desperately forward by the neo-cons and those who have been led down the aisle of death and destruction with them.

There are still those in America who believe that because one is poor, and receives any sort of public assistance from a government program, they have less rights than other Americans, and must subject themselves to the degradation of being presumed guilty of drug use by being forced to submit to random drug testing.

All sorts of excuses for yet another attack on the most helpless segment of our society are put forth by heartless charlatans, who would be screaming bloody murder were someone to suggest they themselves have their civil rights taken away. The cries of taxpayer dollars going to feed drug habits, the comparisons to employer based drug testing, the crocodile tears that stores are turning food stamps into cash for drug addicts at a rate of fifty cents on the dollar, and the good old lump everyone into the same 'let 'em get a job' category, are enough to make the vomit rise in one's throat.

These so called fellow Americans, the ones who have already capitulated to the tyranny of Big Brother government, are already lost and hope for them and their sense of freedom from oppression is probably beyond salvage. But that doesn't mean the rest of us have to follow them over the cliff at a time in our history when we have been the victims of a tyrannical government run amok, and are just now awakening from the dark haze that was cast over us all in the false name of freedom.

The naysayers who call out about their tax dollars going to feed drug habits have no idea of what they're talking about. During Clinton's grand destruction of the social safety net programs, a program calling for mandatory drug testing was put in place, with the states being left to administer their programs as they saw fit. Initially enacted in several states, the efforts were quickly abandoned as being cost ineffective, and the results showed no difference in drug use amongst recipients and the general population. Indeed, a study done by the University of Michigan in January 2001 showed that only 4% of program recipients were drug dependant, and that the costs of the testing programs far exceeded any benefits.

When the talk of employer based random drug testing comes about, all one has to do is look at Michigan's attempt at random drug testing and it's eventual court battle that resulted in a judge tossing out the new Michigan law as Unconstitutional. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. See, we still have some semblance of a Fourth Amendment in the United States, an unalienable right guaranteed to us by a document known as the 'Constitution'. This weird Fourth Amendment declares that ALL persons shall not be subject to unreasonable search and seizure and the courts recognized these laws as dangerous precedents to the government being allowed to run roughshod over our rights, and that these drug tests that singled out one segment of society for suspicionless search of their bodily functions were not needed to further public safety. Hence, no public good was being served and therefore out goes the law.

The argument that stores are turning food stamps into cash at the rate of fifty cents on the dollar are based on erroneous information or intentional misleading. Yes. There used to be a problem with SOME unscrupulous stores doing this, but the instances were not some sort of vast conspiracy by recipients to rip off the government. It was but a handful of cases at best, and a moot point in this day and age of EBT cards any way.

As far as letting them get jobs, well ok, fine. What jobs? With outsourcing all of our manufacturing jobs to China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, etc., there are no more living wage jobs left in the U.S. The much ballyhooed information sector jobs went overseas as well. So where would these cold hearted people demand that the poorest of our citizens find employment? Oh. That's right. Here it comes. The old "Well, you know, my brother's sister's cousin's friend was down and out and took a job at McDonald's to feed her three kids, and she didn't take no government help". To that I call anyone spewing that line a liar. No minced words. People who espouse the notion that a single person, let alone a family could hope to survive at a minimum wage job with absolutely no benefits, or benefits that are so unaffordable they may as well not be offered, are either delusional or liars.

With discretionary domestic spending frozen at 376 billion dollars for all programs combined, one must wonder at the true motive of those who would deny a child food when their glorious leaders in both Congress and the White House are blowing almost one TRILLION dollars on military spending for fiscal 2008. Could the motive be to divert attention away from the real issues of the day by declaring a new war on America's poor?

Would we not be better served by demanding that our pinhead in chief take a drug test? Or members of Congress for that matter? Anyone who can allow Americans to go to their deaths on false pretenses would have to be snorting something don't you think? Or is it just the poor who must be singled out time and time again as scapegoats for some imagined or blown completely out of proportion situation? A situation that in this case does not exist, would be Unconstitutional, cost more than it's worth, serve no purpose other than to humiliate, and to those who cry that they want their tax dollars spent on this, the simple matter is, you don't get to say where tax money gets spent.

Here's a novel idea. How about if all of those who are screaming about the poor getting a free drug ridden ride on the taxpayer dime trade places with them for a month? Lock, stock and barrel change places. You become homeless, or as close to it as one can be, broke all the time, not being able to feed or clothe your children properly, and living in some hovel that dogs shouldn't be allowed to live in. (Don't start screaming about housing vouchers. Due to Bush's cuts, the waiting lists are at least two or more years.) The poor can then have your house, your car, your job, and your life. Maybe then your perspective may change. Because here's the true danger of all of these fanatical proposals. Remember what happened in France? Well, why do you think these programs were put in place? To keep a poor and destitute population from starving to death, or overthrowing a tyrannical government. Keep that in mind as you press forward with your war on the poor.
No, the case for random drug testing of aid recipients has been tried and found wanting, and should therefore be discarded out of hand, just as the country is beginning to discard this mean spirited mind set that has been thrust upon us these past decade.

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