Utah Pays $30k to Nab 12 Welfare Applicants For Drug Use


In these difficult times, many governments are looking for ways to save money. Unfortunately for taxpayers, these means usually end up costing at least as much as it was supposed to save. One of these ways is to test people on welfare for drugs so they either get treated or are taken off welfare altogether. Utah chose the former option, and it cost $30,000 to get ... 12 people in drug rehab.

The Mormon motherland is not the first one to miserably fail at saving money of welfare programs. Two years ago, Florida made headlines because it wanted to implement drug testing as well, but this time those caught red-handed would be taken off welfare. And just like Utah, the Sunshine State failed to save its taxpayers a significant amount of money on the welfare budget (less than 1/1000 of 1%) by catching a grand total of ... about 100 people.

Despite these failures, and despite the fact that many courts have struck down these provisions as unconstitutional, many states keep introducing these bills, including Ohio and Kansas. Virginia wanted to introduce random drug testing too, but the savings were estimated to be four times less than the actual costs.

While the reasoning behind these random drug tests for people on welfare is questionable, their occurrence shouldn't surprise anyone. Since some drugs have arbitrarily been made illegal, then politicians will do everything they can to hunt down those dangerous criminals who dare consume drugs like pot (but not alcohol or tobacco, for some reason). And with all the special interests involved in the War on Drugs, politicians will keep fighting it for a long time.

Furthermore, if governments really want to save money, they should forget about welfare to the unemployed for now, even if it discourages working. Instead, they should take corporate welfare head on. It costs over $100 billion and is done in the name of this elusive thing called the public interest. But since there is no such thing, what it really amounts to is rewarding well-connected businesses at everyone's expense, and it's promoted by most Republicrats in D.C.

Be it Big Oil, Big Green, Big Agriculture, Big Pharma and many more, these subsidies all can be summarized by Frédéric Bastiat's famous Broken Window Fallacy. They are merely a transfer of wealth; they don't create new wealth (and might even destroy it if taxes are too high). We see that some companies have billions of dollars and create jobs, but we don't see other companies that could have existed if their money had not been forcibly stolen.

So while I oppose every single government handout (what needs the government to live deserves to die), I think governments should quit picking on unemployment welfare. Sure, there are frauds, and (arbitrarily) illegal consumption of drugs shouldn't be encouraged, but these costs are insignificant next to what governments use to fund corporate welfare. Stopping it would save up much money which, in the long run, would create many opportunities for people to invest their money, create employment, and reduce unemployment claims.