- Jamelle Bouie, writing about the conservative drive to drug-test welfare recipients:
It should be said, however, that the focus on cost and effectiveness obscures a broader point: Mandatory drug testing for welfare benefits is unfair and immoral. Drug use isn’t a problem of poverty; it’s found among all groups and classes. Indeed, if we’re going to test welfare applicants—who receive trifling sums of money from the government—it makes as much sense to test bailout-receiving bankers, loan-backed students, defense contractors, tax-supported homeowners, married couples with children (who receive tax credits), and politicians, who aren’t strangers to drug use.Bouie's points are well taken, but I think there's a bigger issue at work. Drug-testing welfare recipients isn't just about humiliating them, though I don't doubt that's an important consideration. See, the GOP's free-market determinism must blame poor people for being poor--otherwise, it would be an admission of systemic failure. Therefore, there must be some self-inflicted cause, and "drug-induced poverty" fits the bill. The real question is whether the hyper-low incident of positive tests will change the conservative notion that poor people are to blame for their own situation.
In other words, if stopping waste is your goal, then drug screening should be mandatory for anyone receiving cash from the government, which—in one way or another—is most people. But Republicans haven’t proposed testing for church clergy or oil executives. Instead, they’re focused on the vulnerable, with schemes that would embarrass a Bond villain.
- Some Republican members of Congress are refusing to help constituents get information about health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, even though that's what they and their staffs get paid to do. Question is...is it an ethics violation?
Other experts agreed that it would take more than refusal to help on this one program for a Congress member’s conduct to be considered a genuine ethics violation. (They also questioned whether those representatives would actually live up to their promise not to help on Obamacare.)Who advertises a lack of constituent services? Oh, I don't know, how about the same people who would impose sequestration and shut down the government in a last-ditch effort to stop the law from being implemented in the first place?
“I’m sure constituents don’t get help from their representatives all the time. You’d have to have particular circumstances: ‘I am going to state categorically that I’m not going to help you in any way.’ I don’t think any of them are actually going to do that,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, a watchdog group, and former assistant U.S. attorney, told TPM in a phone interview. “But it is incredibly dumb. Who advertises their lack of constituent services?”
- I think Paul Krugman must be pretty damn tired of being right all the time.
So next time someone goes on about how we had this huge stimulus that failed, you can tell him that the “huge” stimulus — in response to the worst financial crisis in three generations — peaked at a whopping 1.6 percent of GDP, and was effectively gone in a bit over two years.
- So you think you can impeach the president: a handy-dandy flowchart on why trying to impeach Obama is doomed to fail. Of course, removing him from office would never have been the point.
- Fast food workers walked off the job in at least 60 cities yesterday. The campaign to organize low-wage workers and raise their wages is just beginning.
- The latest poll from the New York Times in that city's race for mayor seems to confirm what other polls have been saying recently: Bill de Blasio has a strong lead in the Democratic primary, with Chrstine Quinn and Bill Thompson neck-and-neck to take the second spot in a likely runoff.
- I'm not sure who decides these things, but tomorrow is apparently international bacon day. Sizzle.
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