Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Pee Test

My Mentor sent me this and asked what I thought.

The Pee Test

Like a lot of folks in this state [CA], I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as they see fit. In order to get that paycheck. I am required to pass a random urine test, which I have no problem with. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check, because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sit on their ass. Could you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check? Pass on if you agree - - or not.....

My reply:

I like the point he makes. However…

The standard of behavior is different for those who are subject to employers’ rules for employment than to be a bum. Also, that part of the income not sent to taxes is enjoyed by the worker, and that is the majority of the gross income.

It raises a point that Libertarians make: “Governments are immoral when they threaten their constituents with prison if they don’t pay their taxes, yet this forced taxation is used to fund immoral things (stem cell research, abortions, bombs, take your pick). It’s like a “protection” racket. You pay the money that funds their nefarious activities, and in return they don’t burn your house down or send you to Levenworth.

However, in the interest of fairness, I think that passing a urine check is a good idea in order to obtain benefits. However, there are several problems I have with this. Urine checks are done because they are easy to do. Noninvasive, cheap, etc. We don’t test for tax cheaters, for instance, because there is no blood or urine test for that. If it existed, believe me, they’d be doing it sooner or later. We do it because we CAN without much bother. I believe that other, more important reasons should be extant to support this testing activity. There is the issue of accidents under the influence of drugs. If that is the case, then we should be doing tests that assess the qualitative dose in a person’s blood, because a detectable amount of drug in a person doesn’t equal intoxication. What about the worker who is distracted by a personal problem or other illness? Why isn’t there testing to detect that, if it is so damn important that one is in tip-top shape to work? Also, what one calls immoral is different for different people, and they can develop moral indignation over others’ transgressions much more than their own, especially if it is different from their own behavior or it tends to occur in populations about which they don’t care or actively dislike. To deny the benefits of ones’ taxation to some group or another because of ones’ moral compass direction is unworkable. That is where charity falls, because it is specific, except for United Way, and the like. A lot of people make money off charity, BTW. Not to say that’s bad, but what if an employee in the organization is a philanderer, and you have a moral dislike for such? You just never know.

Let’s say that you institute this program, call it the Social Protection for Eligible Welfarers (SPEW - apologies to Hermione). You now have to pass a drug test to obtain bennies. What have you done? You now have to shut down psychiatric services for drug treatment programs and others I can’t think of, but which exist (unintended consequences). How about the VHA? Believe me, there are lots of scary combat veterans in treatment you don’t wanna let out of your sight. Trauma services? Are you gonna shove them out the door or stiff the hospital if their UDS is positive? Actually, WC does this, at least stiff the hospital and the doctors. What for them now?

So, I think that this email shows that the sender hasn’t thought this through. I have already. I think that she is playing on our SES’s prejudices against blacks and poor, and maybe Hispanics, take your pick, because you can think of your disliked group of choice when you read this.

I’d like to implement SPEW, but it will never come to pass. Americans are not used to seeing injured patients bleeding in their hospital parking lots. I doubt they would mind if the individuals would go and exsanguinate elsewhere. Also, they don’t want to see crazed Veterans in police standoffs waving a .22 pistol in the air. Well, maybe they do.

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