Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the newest rising star in the GOP now that Mitt Romney has flounced out consideration. Mr. Walker appealed to the base by being a union-buster in his first term, and now that he’s set his sights on the White House by running as a Washington outsider — wow, there’s an original campaign idea — he’s about to try to prove his toughness on the takers and the lazy folk (you know who they are) by requiring drug tests for people who apply for welfare.
Walker claimed his motivation for the controversial move was feedback he’d received from Wisconsin companies. “As I traveled my state, I hear employers, small business owners say, overwhelming: ‘We have jobs. We just need workers. And we need two things: people who know how to show up every day for work, five days a week, and gimme someone who can pass a drug test,’” he said.
Maybe Mr. Walker should pick up the phone and call his good pal Rick Scott down here in Florida and see how drug testing welfare applicants worked.
From July through October 2011 — the four months when testing took place in Florida before a federal injunction — 2.6 percent of the state’s applicants for cash assistance, or 108 of 4,086, failed the drug test, according to figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. Another 40 applicants did not go through with the testing.
Not only that, it cost the state of Florida a bit of money.
Because the Florida law required that applicants who passed the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This was more than would have been paid in benefits to the people who failed the test.
Oh, and one other little detail: a federal court ruled that the Florida law violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure, basically saying that assuming an entire class of people — welfare applicants — were drug users was unconstitutional.
So on three of the big-ticket items that the GOP says they stand for — smaller government, more freedom, and not wasting money on useless programs — they flunked all three, and not just in Florida; Michigan’s attempt at it flamed out in 2003. And yet Mr. Walker wants to try it in Wisconsin.
Maybe he’s the one who should be peeing in a cup.