What’s Good for the Goose …
State Rep. Ellen Brandom of Sikeston has proposed for the third time in as many years that welfare recipients be tested for illegal drug use, and the editorial board of the Post-Dispatch thinks this is such a good idea that it should be extended even further:
There’s a logic to this, of course. Many employers conduct drug screenings as a routine matter. And Ms. Brandom has noted that taxpayers object to subsidizing drug use. No doubt they do.
But if Ms. Brandom is intent on protecting taxpayers, why just go after poor folks? And why screen only for drugs?
Lawmakers, like TANF recipients, also feed at the public trough, and plenty look as though they don’t lead the healthiest lifestyles. Given their grueling schedules and the rich food that lobbyists feed them, it’s no wonder.
This can drive up the cost of public employee health insurance. So why not, as a matter of routine, assess senators’ and state representatives’ body mass index and screen them for blood cholesterol levels?
Those found not to be taking care of themselves shouldn’t be automatically punished. But they shouldn’t be a burden on taxpayers either. Those found to have LDL (“bad”) cholesterol of, say, 200 or more, should be given a second chance before the public subsidy for their health insurance is suspended. Maybe free oatmeal, too.
What’s more, barely a year goes by without a lawmaker being involved in an alcohol-related driving offense. If welfare recipients can be cut off from public benefits for substance abuse, what about top state officials?
Read the whole thing here. What a world it would be if politicians were actually constrained by the rules they force on the rest of us.