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Welfare Drug Testing Costs Florida Money

Rep. Mark Venner (R-24/Pierre) has twice sponsored legislation to test South Dakota's welfare recipients for drugs. S.D. Voices for Children policy expert Greg Boris says Rep. Venner will reintroduce that legislation during the 2013 session (assuming, of course, that Rep. Venner survives the June primary).

Testing welfare recipients for drugs is unconstitutional class warfare. (Is Venner proposing drug testing for the wealthy recipients of economic development grants and tax rebates? Of course not.) It's also ineffective policy. Florida got to try out its welfare drug-testing law for four months before a judge enjoined it. Florida lost money:

From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven's order — 2.6 percent of the state's cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.

Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.

As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780, he said.

And the testing did not have the effect some predicted. An internal document about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, caseloads stated that the drug testing policy, at least from July through September, did not lead to fewer cases.

"We saw no dampening effect on the caseload," the document said [Lizette Alvarez, "No Savings Are Found from Welfare Drug Tests," New York Times, 2012.04.17].

If we're going to subject innocent citizens to warrantless bodily searches, we ate least owe them the courtesy of covering the cost of such unconstitutional searches. And if we do, we end up spending more money than if we got off our judgmental horses and followed the Constitution.

Rep. Venner, if you want to be a practical fiscal conservative, take your useless welfare drug-testing bill off the agenda.


  1. Steve Sibson 2012.04.18

    Cory, why don't you promote a bill that bans drug testing on the workers who pay the taxes which fund welfare?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.04.18

    I don't have a problem with restricting drug testing to probable-cause situations.

  3. Taunia 2012.04.18

    Farmers, police, firefighters, lawmakers, construction workers, CEO's (all company officers), car manufacturers, everyone on Wall Street, judges, military persons, teachers, anyone using a Pell Grant, anyone using subsidized daycare - and the daycare providers, attorneys, land owners of any kind, everyone on Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, everyone renting for and using subsidized housing, everyone receiving subsidies and using OIL, all hospital persons - doctors, salespersons, nurses and staff, all pharmacists and staff, and on and on.

    They all receive taxpayer money. Why aren't they being drug tested?

  4. Anna 2012.04.18

    The new governor of Florida's wife owns a large share of a drug testing company. Suddenly, welfare recipients, state workers, and others need to take drug tests.

    Rick Scott isn't in office to govern, he's there to help himself and his cronies make money off of the government.

  5. larry kurtz 2012.04.18

    Give it a rest, Steve: Venner is a hypocrite, too.

    Prescription pain-killer use is a leading cause of death in the US costing billions in taxpayer dollars.

  6. Troy Jones 2012.04.18

    Point 1: Drug addiction impacts one's ability to succeed in society and increasing the liklihood they need welfare. If we really cared about them, we'd want to get them off drugs and not allow welfare to enable their addiction.

    Point 2: Drug testing of welfare recipients has a flavor of being punitive.

    I believe we need to have a carrot as well as a stick. One or the other is insufficient.

    My idea: Any welfare recipient who tests positive will get a reasonable time period to have a clean drug test. If they do so, they will not have their assistance eliminated/reduced. If they do not, their drug test will be turned over to law enforcement for possible enforcement action.

  7. larry kurtz 2012.04.18

    Testing is discriminatory especially in light of statistics showing women are being excluded in job creation.

  8. Stace Nelson 2012.04.18

    Rep. Mark Venner is one of the sharpest, most honest, most dedicated public servants we have in the legislature. He brings true leadership to the House with a humble selfless attitude towards attending to the affairs of the state.

    His background consists of having had to take those same "unconstitional" drug tests for decades in order to serve our country as an officer in the United States Air Force.

    There is not Constitutional right to receive the largesse of our fellow South Dakotans, as there is no Constitutional rights to serve in the military.

    I would encourage others to do a little research as to the abuse & neglect of children that is often associated with those who have substance abuse problems. South Dakotan's scarce tax dollars should not be used to support or perpetuate that type of nightmare for these young South Dakotans.

    Rep. Mark Venner (R-Pierre) is the real deal. A true gentleman, a real conservative, and a real Republican. As the fine folks across the aisle will tell you, he doesn't play the juvinile politics so often seen in the legislature. He votes on the merits of each bill regardless of who is the sponsor, or who supports or opposes the bill.

    South Dakotans are well served with this humble soft spoken man serving them in Pierre.

  9. larry kurtz 2012.04.18

    A testimonial from Stace Nelson: yikes.

  10. Steve Sibson 2012.04.18

    Larry, Stace is right. We all can learn alot from Mark Venner. Still confused by those of you who think party animals deserve a free ride, paid for by the working class. Perhaps we should shut down government welfare and let the private sector take care of the poor. Then it won't be unconstitutional for us to demand a drug test before giving handouts.

  11. Bill Dithmer 2012.04.18

    Stace then if Im reading your post in the right way, you are in total support of Taunia and what she has posted?

    The Blindman

  12. Charlie Johnson 2012.04.18


    Perhaps Taunia is right, do we drug test everyone who receives subsidies? How about Rep. Kristi Noem and subsidized crop insurance? Should she be tested?

  13. Steve Sibson 2012.04.18

    Yeah Larry, tell you union friends that were should only drug tests the workforce, and then tax the crap out of them.

  14. Taunia 2012.04.18

    You Republicans have beat the meme into everyone's head that being poor is a crime, and that asking for help allows condemnation, stereotyping and drug testing.

    More than 70 percent of substance abusers hold jobs; one worker in four, ages 18 to 34, used drugs in the past year; and one worker in three knows of drug sales in the workplace.

    Americans consume 60 percent of the world’s production of illegal drugs: 23 million use marijuana at least four times a week; 18 million abuse alcohol; 6 million regularly use cocaine; and 2 million use heroin.

    In the workplace, the problems of these substance abusers become your problems. They increase risk of accident, lower productivity, raise insurance costs, and reduce profits. They can cost you your job; they can cost you your life.

    I'm a hell of a lot more worried about a doctor, lawyer, judge, police officer, teacher, etc being high on a professional person's salary than I am about someone receiving a small bit of money to feed the kids.

    You're people are pretty disgusting.

  15. Joel Rische 2012.04.18

    It's argued that there is no constitutional right to receive welfare. I won't argue that, but there is a constitutional right against searches and seizures without probable cause.

    If asking one to give up that right is justifiable because there is a correlation between poverty and addiction (assuming for the sake of argument), wouldn't it also justify restricting their 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms if there is also a correlation between poverty and violent crime?

    I'm not comfortable asking anyone to give up rights invluntarily without a really good reason.

  16. tonyamert 2012.04.18

    Look, there is an implicit assumption here that welfare is enabling drug use. Has that assumption been established? If we look around the world, does drug use go up or down with state welfare?

    Also, I generally think of illicit drug use as an escape mechanism. I image that drug use may be used as a method of temporarily escaping desperate poverty. How does removing benefits then reduce drug use? Wouldn't that make these people's lives even shittier and make them want to escape more? If anything, this seems counter productive. Why not just require anyone who tests positive for drugs attend a treatment program or a support group or something? At least then there might be a chance.

  17. Troy Jones 2012.04.18


    I am not necessarily advocating it and noram I a constitutional lawyer but I don't see a voluntary drug test and constitutional search. The welfare applicant has the right to refuse. And there is no constitutional right to govt. aid.

  18. Taunia 2012.04.18

    And that's where your assumption is wrong, tonyamert.

    8.3% - national average for drug user.

    2% - tested positive for drugs in Florida under welfare drug testing program.

  19. Rorschach 2012.04.18

    Joel Rische makes a good point.

    It's also a good point that if we're going to drug test welfare recipients we ought to drug test everyone else who receives government money - to be consistent rather than discriminatory.

    The point I haven't seen is that cutting off benefits for a positive drug test has the result of punishing kids because their parents use drugs. Is it good policy to take food or shelter away from poor kids - and instead to give that money and more to drug testing companies?

    Plenty of reasons to oppose this policy.

  20. Joel Rische 2012.04.18


    I understand what you are saying, and I'm not a constitutional lawyer or scholar either. Can we agree that neither one of us has to submit a blood or urine sample to the government unless we waive the right to refuse or forfeit that right through some behavior? Just as we don't lose the right to possess a firearm unless we waive that right or forfeit it.

    In this case, the government is asking the potential welfare recipient to waive their right to refuse submission to the test.

    My question to the proponents is this:
    If you were in the shoes of the welfare recipient and the agent of the state said to you, "We'll give you some money to help feed your family, but given the correlation between violent crime and poverty, you'll have to turn in all of your firearms first." Would you?

    If the answer is no, then how could you ask someone to turn over their bodily fluids? Remember, it isn't just the drug users that are waiving their rights, it's also the vast majority of people that do give in and test negative.

    I'll take my answer off the air. - Joel

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.04.18

    Rep. Nelson, I'm glad Rep. Venner is a stand-up guy. That doesn't change the fact that his bill won't save money.

  22. Owen Reitzel 2012.04.18

    Troy has the right idea but you have to test EVERYBODY who gets Government aid. Period. You can't pick on 1 group of people.

  23. grudznick 2012.04.18

    Test the dickens out of all of them. Make them pee in a cup and just pour it out the back door, but there need to be more hoops to get through to get free government aid...our money...for sitting on your butt.

  24. Carter 2012.04.18

    I can never figure out why people focus on these things. So some people on welfare use drugs. Okay. I'm willing to bet a significant amount of money that there are vastly more people on welfare who are capable of working and don't (I don't think anyone else in my apartment building has a job...), and yet no one is clamoring for the government to spend lots of money to implement an effect system of actually checking who is trying to get a job and who is just getting people to sign their "I looked for a job" sheet.

    Not to mention the fact that free drug rehab (the kind welfare people can afford) isn't exactly top-quality. Maybe instead of checking them for drugs and then kicking them out if they're positive, we should actually help them out with a real rehab program, not some cold-turkey, lock-you-up-through-withdrawl-and-put-you-in-NA program with little chance of success.

    Punishing drug users is, at this point, all but proven not to work. Maybe we should take this whole thing in a different direction, and governments around the country can stop wasting money on things that don't work.

  25. grudznick 2012.04.18

    BAH. Just stop giving them my money. The rest of it will sort itself out one way or another.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.04.18

    Yay, Taunia, with numbers! If the welfare recipients' drug use rate is down at 2%, then some other group must be above the 8% average. Who is that group? Kristi and the crop subsidy recipients? Economic development grant recipients? Test them all, or test them none.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.04.18

    Oh man, now Joel has me reviewing SagePub abstracts: concludes that "Contrary to previously published reports, welfare shame was not associated with the psychological distress observed in this sample of welfare recipients." Perhaps poverty already causes so much stress that a little thing like the "stigma" of accepting help doesn't add much stress.

  28. grudznick 2012.04.18

    "accepting help" is fine for people who need help, Mr. H. Taking my tax dollars for druggie slackasses is not "accepting help."

    The former is acceptable. The latter is not.

  29. larry kurtz 2012.04.18

    one person's druggie slackass is another's job creator when prohibition is the law of the land.

  30. Carter 2012.04.18

    Cory, at least we here in the States have it lucky enough that "stigma" is a small thing. Some places don't have it as easy.

    Larry, one could say that one person's druggie slack-ass is another person's job creator regardless of prohibition. There are loads of people employed in the alcohol industry, after all!

  31. larry kurtz 2012.04.18

    agreeing with me may lead to widespread cannibalism: just sayin'

  32. Carter 2012.04.18

    They say that when tigers taste the flesh of man, they never hunt other prey. Maybe we've been missing out on a delicious steak!

    Okay, I won't spam Cory's boards.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.04.19

    Grudz, you create bogeymen. Please quantify the number of people who get help but don't really need it. Then, for greater perspective, compare the fiscal harm done by that fraction of poor people getting more of our money than you think they should with the fraction of rich people receiving more of our money than they should. The abuse of the system by poor, powerless people causes less practical damage than the abuse of the system by rich and powerful people.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.04.19

    Carter, I fear Grudz would see those cases of folks choosing starvation over the help of others as a mark of virtue.

  35. Charlie Johnson 2012.04.19

    I agree with Cory and others here. The bigger, more powerful, and politically connected the "welfare queeen"-the more accepting we as a society become. I quess greed by those in need has no acceptance in comparison to greed by those who "feed".

  36. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    " quess greed by those in need has no acceptance in comparison to greed by those who “feed”."

    Greed is greed. The New Age Theocrats moral relativism and pragmatism is way off base. Instead of doing what is good for all, we pit one group against another.

  37. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    Steve: go fishing or something.

  38. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Have you surrendered all your worldly goods to the lord yet Sibby? Become a lilly of the field? Checked into the Hutterite colony? Time's a wastin', bud. ...camel through the needle's eye and alll that. LOL.

  39. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19


    Mockers, check out the Bible on that Bill.

  40. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Oh, I have, Sibby. It says your renounciation of the Holy Spirit is a pretty big no-no. You really might want to think about getting off your idolatry kick, dude.

  41. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    Bill, you also need to read about false witness. And also read about the big deceptions.

  42. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    And Bill, have you read the part about making Ceasar take away from others so you don't have to take care of your poor neighbors? I am having trouble finding it. Or is it in the Communist Manifesto?

  43. Carter 2012.04.19

    Bah. What's with the Bible references? Everything works much better when we just stick to good ol' empathy. People are starving. People don't have basic human necessities. Who cares if someone doesn't want to work, at least give them enough for some milk and Top Ramen. There aren't that many poor, it's not that much money. If we would stop pandering to the rich, giving them money and fighting wars for them, we'd have billions and billions of dollars to help the poor.

    The problem, again, is how the system is handled, not that it exists. People don't need to try to get work, and they don't feel inclined because welfare gives them enough to live comfortably. That's too much money. Also, why should they want to get a job and get kicked off welfare when that will just mean having less?

    To lengthen an already long post, I relate to you a story. As a child, I have a friend. This friend's mother sat at home and watched Judge Judy all day, and just collected welfare. The house was pristine, the food was good, because she put a lot of effort into that. She wasn't lazy at all.

    The problem was that if she got a job, the welfare money would drop off by much more than she would make at her job. If you were struggling to take care of your child, what would you choose? Stigma of being a lay-about and food, or being seen as a hard worker whose family is starving?

  44. Jay BK Slater 2012.04.19

    First I would like to point out that the math makes no sense. If you charge $30 a pop are you saying entitlements are $30 or less? Secondly, I would like to point out the word “innocent” describing the people receiving entitlements. Innocent would be the exception and not the norm.
    @ Taunia – many groups you identify are drug tested, such as myself on average 2x a year if not more. With the taxpayer money I received in wages, I too paid taxes…so your point is? I like how you use 4 months of data for foundation of basis of opinion, strong case there.
    @ Troy Jones – excellent points and correct perspective as the goal is not to deny entitlements but to address addiction for a more productive member of society. Identify the problem and have a solution (ie. Mandatory rehab or done) placing the onerous with responsible party.
    @Larry Kurtz – I still do not understand how you figure entitlement testing is discriminatory and not a benefit to recipients? It is a condition of employment in many sensitive areas. Funding an addiction with taxpayer money is a sensitive area. Need the money? Pee in a cup. Note the word “need”, not” want”, but ”need”, as used in the sentence, “Because I needed the money and the job, I peed in the cup.” Of course in my case, I “wanted” the job so I peed in the cup.
    Quasi facetiously I ask if anyone has checked out OSHA reports and agency testing? Oops DOL is already working in that direction with farm kids and hemp…or was it work? Whatever it is as long as someone saves us from ourselves and we can blame someone else for fail.
    Bottom line up front. We will give you our money, but out of fiduciary responsibility to everyone else, we will ensure that it is not wasted (no pun intended) and help you get your life back together so you can “pay it forward”. If you don’t want/ need the money…don’t pee. Your choice, what are you going to do?

    Yes, I am a conservative and yes I do agree with many things Steve and Stace, my southern neighbors, let the obfuscation begin but at least stay on topic and relevant. Thank you for reading my opinion on this matter :)

  45. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "The house was pristine, the food was good, because she put a lot of effort into that. She wasn’t lazy at all."

    So it was her husband that was lazy.

  46. Carter 2012.04.19

    She wasn't married. I suppose I should have included that. Her scary-looking boyfriend worked construction, though.

  47. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Missing the whole financial point. If it costs more to drug test everyone than is (questionably) saved by not giving drug users an assist (this is of course also falsly assuming that addicts don't have to eat) it's not worth it. People who are beat down and suffering need compassion and an assist, not to be humiliated some more and ultimately left to starve. Drug testing people who are expected to do a good job at work is a completely different thing than drug testing people who for whatever reasons can't work and thus don't have the means to feed themselves without our help. I'm astonished that it's even necessary to explain this to anyone. Especially to people who claim to be both Christian and financially conservative.

  48. Carter 2012.04.19

    Bill, you have to realize that ultra-conservatives aren't really interested in "not spending unnecessary money", they're interested in "not spending money on things they don't agree with". Conservatives like spending buckets of money on things like wars (against Muslims AND against women), and not taxing investments. I could probably find more, but I do have other things to do. I'll just leave it at what I've said already.

  49. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Good point Carter!

  50. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    p.s. Carter, as for your story above, I think we've already established (via Ann Romney et al) that being a stay-at-home mom is a full time job, and hard work, right? LOL.

  51. Troy Jones 2012.04.19


    Again, I haven't reached a firm decision on the merits of this proposal.

    This said, I disagree the answer is simply "if it costs more to test than it saves" that it isn't "worth it." Assuming the assumption addiction hinders one from getting off welfare and the testing can be a carrot/stick to getting them clean, the policy could still be warranted.

    Aren't you always lecturing me it isn't just about the money? :)

    Carter, your statement about "ultra-conservatives" implies two items:

    1) Ultra-conservatives really don't care about improving the nation. If you think it unfair for me to assert "ultra-liberals" only care about ideology, you're statement is hypocritical.

    2) You presume the motive for Iraq/Afganistan was motivated to attack Muslims. Kinda ironic since a majority of Democrats in both houses voted for both. Are they too anti-Muslim? Or do you get to just presume more noble motives to Democrats?

    3) You presume the policies you characterize as "against women" as being mysogonist. You seriously believe "ultra-conservatives" (including such women) are against women? Can it not be possible those who oppose abortion really believe it proper for government to defend the rights of the most vulnerable (and who is more vulnerable than one in the womb who can't vote?)

    The tone in politics (even with real disagreements) would be a lot better if one didn't presume nefarious motives to those with whome they disagree. Your statements is exactly why the tone is so bad. If you want it better, you should start with yourself.

    (And Bill, you know better than to fall into it. :) )

  52. Carter 2012.04.19

    1) I agree. That one was a rather sweeping generalization, and I apologize. Even so, I believe that, especially in Washington, the amount of lobbying and Super-PAC money has negatively affected the GOP in such a way that many of them have become more concerned about keeping their money rolling in than in helping the nation, not that the Dems in congress are much more concerned about people over themselves.

    But, I concede that, outside of Washington, ultra-conservatives who are not part of the 1% are likely trying to do what they think will help the nation. They're just, in my personal opinion, wrong.

    2) The war in Afghanistan started with honorable motives from both sides, and I don't fault anyone for wanting to defeat the terrorists that committed 9/11. But, it's gone beyond that. Iraq was an obvious grab for money and political power. Afghanistan has become something similar. "Democrats" like Obama are just the same, it just happens to be that more Republicans support ongoing wars in a region which we, historically, have kept under our thumb in order to help the oil barons State-side. I suppose calling it a war against "Muslims" wasn't the best word (I should reserve that for the NYPD), but it is certainly another attack in our long-lasting war on the sovereignty of other nations in an attempt to better our position in the world at their expense.

    3) The people in government supporting these things are mostly misogynistic. Others are blind to the past (abortion was illegal once. You may be familiar with the phrase "coat-hanger abortion"). Prohibition doesn't work. Not for alcohol, not for drugs, not for abortion. Being morally opposed to something doesn't mean you're right. I suggest people look at the past.

  53. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Troy, something like 96% of the prisoners in SD have an addiction problem. And even though they are incarcerated, there is still a significant proportion of them who are using drugs.

    And yes, from time to time, those prisoners will be asked to take a drug test. But I'll bet you dollars to donuts brother, that even if they flunk the test, they'll still be fed that day (on the taxpayer's nickel.) To not feed them would be immoral. Period.

    So, if you haven't made up your mind about this yet, TJ, today would be a good day to do it, my friend. :^)

  54. Troy Jones 2012.04.19


    3) So, you reassert pro-life advocates in Congress (I assume you concede my views are at least nobly motivated) are mysogonists and prohibiting the killing of another should be tolerated because something else bad may happen. And, the relative difference in incidence is of no consideration. Do you really believe this or is it another thing said (ala Muslim) in haste with little thought?

    Since "being morally opposed to something doesn't mean your right," you admit being morally supportive (of abortion) doesn't mean you are right either. Or are you asserting your moral values are superior to mine?

    Don't mean to be unnecessarily pointed. Just trying to figure out what it is you are saying.

  55. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    btw, Troy, I don't think you are an ultra-conservative. You're just plain old conservative (and mostly fiscally conservative at that). Thus, Carter isn't talking about you, I don't think.

  56. Troy Jones 2012.04.19


    There you go again. Opening me up to being accused of being a liberal again. :)

    Whether he is accusing me or not, he is presuming motives of people he doesn't even know. I apsire to defend everyone's motives (until they question their opponents and sometimes fail myself) and try to assume we disagree for which dialogue (hard if not impossible when we accuse one's integrity and motives) can bridge disagreements.

    And, if we could not have personal attacks, he'd find surprising agreement with this "old conservative." I think the intervention he decries I agree with (I personally can't distinguish between Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt or Syria so in this regard Bush and Obama's policy is the same). However, the problem I have with the "neo-cons" is not the sincerity of their motive (ala simple hegomony) but its realism (nation building doesn't work).

  57. Carter 2012.04.19

    I'm not at all saying my moral values are superior to your own. I'm saying outlawing abortion doesn't work. I'm all for restricting abortions to a certain time frame. Fetus brain activity begins around 25 weeks, for example. Most states, I think, allow abortions up to 14 weeks, so well before brain activity begins.

    What possible gain is there in outlawing abortions before brain activity starts? There is no brain activity. If a person who has had brain activity no longer has it, they are considered dead. Why is a fetus that has never had brain activity considered alive? You can't "kill" or "murder" something that isn't alive to being with.

    I don't know any conservatives who are morally opposed to hunting or fishing (I'm sure there are some, but I've never met one). Why is it that shooting an animal that shows cognitive functioning is morally okay, but terminating the development of something that has no cognitive functioning is so reprehensible?

    As for Congress, I believe it is safe to say that the leaders of the "War on Women" are misogynists. Many of them agree with Santorum's views on birth control. Many of them believe women should only have sex when they're married. Many of them believe in the "traditional" roles of marriage, with the man being the leader.

    These may not be misogynistic in the sense that they're openly aggressive against women, but they're misogynistic in the sense that they are thoroughly in support of pushing back against women progressing toward equality in today's world.

    The right-wing Congressmen (and women, we really need a neuter word for these kind of things) who don't support these things tend (at least in my experience) not to be so openly enthusiastic and unwilling to listen to reasonable arguments.

    And yes, I will concede your personal views are nobly motivated. I think you're wrong, but that's another argument altogether.

  58. Carter 2012.04.19

    Let me rephrase. I have no problem conceding that individual ultra-Conservatives are nobly motivated. However, I've seen enough misogynistic candor from them that I believe that it's safer to assume, when considering political prospects, that ultra-conservatives, given reign to declare laws, will denigrate women to something of 1.5-class citizens.

    On a personal level, I'm sure many of them are fine with women, but I'm not terribly concerned with liking politicians on a personal level. Ultra-conservativism is, or it seems to be at this moment in time, to be incredibly concerned not with "rights", but with "moral, religious superiority". When a political party is willing to go so far right as to support the extreme Christians at the expensive of their party base, I do not believe it is safe to have them in office.

    And for clarification, also, I wouldn't lump you in with the ultra-conservatives.

  59. Troy Jones 2012.04.19


    Thanks. That is progress. But, it still is seeping in. :)

    1) Your Santorum comment. You are linking a personal belief birth control is not a matter they agree with and a desire to outlaw it. That would be like presuming a Vegetarian wants to outlaw meat consumption. While in some cases (Vegetarian or anti-birth control) it may be true, presumption is usually wrong especially when their record and words say otherwise (ala Santorum on birth control).

    2) You link being against abortion to being against gender equality before the law (which is the only matter in a political debate that matters. Their private practice especially if their spouse agrees is irrelevant. How can you expect respect for your choice when you don't respect anothers?). Furthermore, to continue to use the word mysognonist is de facto judgment on motive.

    3) I am not going to address directly your "extreme Christian" comment except to say ultra-conservatives are not the only one's who essentially assert "moral superiority." Some of the rhetoric on the Buffet Rule is basically a claim to moral superiority. More importantly, the "danger" of being in office you allude to is also a common phenomenon with both ideologies. It is statism (a willingness to use the power of the state to forceably transform society to their particular view). Not going to go into it here but I concede where it is growing among conservatives but it is just as prevalent among liberals.

  60. Carter 2012.04.19

    1 - 2) It isn't only abortion. The Republican party recently supported redefining rape, if I recall correctly, as only being "rape" as it is defined now if it was physically forced. I've read elsewhere of Republicans in Georgia (I think) trying to rename rape victims as "accusers". There is often talk of how women should stay at home as mothers. Certainly, none of these have become law, but Republicans have tried in many cases, and in today's political environment of crushing civil liberties like cockroaches, I wouldn't assume the ultra-right wouldn't give their best effort to make these things law, if they have the power to. I assumed Obama would give back the civil liberties Bush took away, and look how that turned out. I wouldn't assume the right would respect civil liberties any more than the left is now.

    As for personal choices, people are free to do whatever they damn well please at home. But again, in a society where civil liberties are cast aside so lightly, anyone who claims they make a good candidate because they believe the only birth control women should use is "not putting out" (not that he's used those words) is not someone who I would assume will say, "Well, I don't believe in it, but people can choose for themselves."

    You do make a good point with the word misogynist, however. Rhetoric was probably a poor direction for my posts to go.

    3) Yes, which is why I included "moral Religious superiority". Political ideology is full of moral superiorty, but it is mainly the ultra-Conservatives who court the religious side of the morals argument. I agree with you about the problem of statism growing in both parties, but from my perspective, both sides are becoming more right-wing, thus the immediate threat, to me, comes from the ultra-conservatives, as something of a vanguard for things to come. Not that the same authoritarianism isn't prevalent on the far left. Stalin wasn't much for freedoms, either. But I dislike focusing on "what ifs" and "could bes" that are so far from our current place. The reality is that we are very far to the authoritarian right, and so my concern focuses on those that are the most extreme in that aspect.

  61. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "She wasn’t married."
    Why not?

  62. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "Drug testing people who are expected to do a good job at work is a completely different thing than drug testing people who for whatever reasons can’t work and thus don’t have the means to feed themselves without our help."

    Bill, I know some of these people, and it is not becanse the "can't" work, it is because theyd don't want to. You can help them with yout own money if you want, but the Bible is clear about sluggards.

  63. Carter 2012.04.19


    Why does that even matter?

  64. Carter 2012.04.19

    ^ That being in response to "Why not?"

  65. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "Why is it that shooting an animal that shows cognitive functioning is morally okay, but terminating the development of something that has no cognitive functioning is so reprehensible?"

    Because the latter is a human being. At one time you were brain dead too.

  66. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "Why does that even matter?"

    Because that determnes the core reason for the poverty...not following the Biblical principle of having children within a marriage covenant. Why should those of us who are Biblical Christians pay the price for those who want things their way?

  67. Jay BK Slater 2012.04.19

    @ Carter - I may have to change my statement that I am "conservative" to "South Dakota citizen" based on your description. The things I saw in 12 months of residency in a combat zone made me not like wasting buckets of money. So until you go to Iraq or Afghanistan (like Gov Daugaard) to see what is going on, stop making inane, generalized second hand statements like "war on Muslims and Women". When I saw grade school girls going to school and smiling and waving I knew that one thing made everything else worth wearing the uniform and doing the job I was doing.
    @ Bill Fleming - "People who are beat down and suffering need compassion and an assist, not to be humiliated some more and ultimately left to starve." I agree 100% with first part but disagree that it is humiliating or starvation. I never found it humiliating to pee in a cup because I had to go anyway. They are not going to starve because they have options to get the help to beat addiction and own their lives. If they don't want to take control of their life back then why should I care(or pay) if they don't? Odds are they will end up in another federal or state funded system somewhere down the line. You do have valid points on program costs and that is what needs to be looked at. I believe that is what is meant by "indicators to test". No different than educators that watch for signs of students at risk and then act on them to assist. The end goal of programs is to get people back on their feet and this is simply a route to identify those that need more than goods and point them in right direction for self-redemption and self-worth. I have seen how urine analysis programs work and I believe in them as they help most people that come up hot. There are always the few exceptions that wont take the rehab offered over a job and benefits. I think the jury is still out on legalized marijuana but we the people have spoken for now.

  68. Carter 2012.04.19

    Yes, let's use Biblical law!

    The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. - Deuteronomy 22:5

    Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. - Deuteronomy 22:9

    If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found. Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. - Deuteronomy 22:28-29

    Yes, yes. Biblical law is how we should do things. These all make sense, and aren't thoroughly outdated by thousands of years at all.

    There's no problem with being a Christian. But really, you can't just throw out "The Bible commands it" when it helps your cause, and not when it's bad.

  69. Carter 2012.04.19

    And if you really need to know "Why" (which you don't, because that's ridiculous), she was married, but her husband was sent to jail for child molestation so she divorced him.


  70. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "Yes, let’s use Biblical law!"

    That is Jewish law. I am not advocating Biblical law. I am arguing religious freedom. Why should I pay for those who practice the New Age Thology of sex worship?

    Now the constitutional argument to outlaw fornication: single mothers cause large numbers of children to be impoverished and that is not best for the "Common Good".

  71. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19
    Note, Sibby it doesn't stipulate that you have to check to see if they are bastards first. You can just go ahead and feed them, no questions asked.

  72. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    Fleming, you are out of context.

  73. Jay BK Slater 2012.04.19

    @ Bill Fleming - I too knew a single mother who did not get a job because entitlements would go away and she could not provide for her daughter. I could see how difficult her struggle between her pride and providing for her child. I think we can agree the system needs changes to facilitate a transition for such cases. I also think that someone with non-a-motivational syndrome or meth addiction either needs to get their act together or we take their money and apply it towards education/skills for the single mother we describe. Our standard should always be to put our money where it accomplishes the most...just to ensure we don't waste buckets of it accomplishing nothing.

  74. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    And Bill, you can feed them if you want, but it is coveting to insist others have to.

  75. Carter 2012.04.19


    We helped establish Hussein's power base. We supported him because he fought the USSR.

    We helped establish the Taliban's power base. We supported them because they fought the USSR.

    We helped establish Osama bin Laden's power base. We supported them because they fought the USSR.

    We've supported almost every (if not every) dictator in the Middle East, and then turned against them later. The same is true in South America.

    I'm not saying the individual troops haven't done good. I'm not saying the individual troops don't legitimately want to help people. A lot of the work of the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq is something they should be proud of. I'm saying the politicians (many of whom, you may be aware, are as chickenhawky as a chickenhawk can be) aren't necessarily fighting the wars for the good of the people over there. There is clearly a gap between what the troops want to accomplish, and what the government wants to accomplish. I'm glad you did good over there. I'm glad the little girls are happy. But I don't think the government cares one lick for the little girls, unless they have oil.

  76. Carter 2012.04.19

    No one is saying that you can't have your freedom of religion. But your religion doesn't get to come at the detriment of other people. Society has evolved since 2000 years ago. You are, by default, part of society, so should you not have a responsibility to that society?

    You went to public school, did you not? You use public roads, do you not? You go to the post office, do you not?

    Those are all societal benefits. If you don't want to have a duty to society, perhaps you should stop taking advantage of what that society gives you, hm?

  77. Carter 2012.04.19

    ^ Oops, to Steve!

  78. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Sibby, your tax dollars are fungible. You just have to pay in to the kitty. You don't get to decide how your individual dollars are spent. None of us do.

  79. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Sibby doesn't understand the social contract, I'm thinking. But then, he doesn't understand a lot of things.

  80. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Good thinking, Jay. Let's wait until we see the proposed legislation and discuss further. I'm all for people getting into rehab.

  81. Carter 2012.04.19

    I agree with Jay about needing to reform the system to allow people to be able to get to work without their help disappearing, but I'm not sure I agree with taking money away from drug addicts. I really think it should be a last resort, after we try everything else to help them, like how locking people up forever in a prison should only be for those we can't rehabilitate. As a society, I think, we tend to be too quick to say, "You made bad decision, now you're on your own", when we should instead be trying to help them as much as we can.

  82. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "Sibby doesn’t understand the social contract, I’m thinking."

    Don't remember signing any contract that I agreed to pay for druggies who don't want to work.

    [CAH: oh, the easy, casual demonization. Lumping all of the poor into one category of sin makes keeping a worldview intact much simpler.]

  83. Carter 2012.04.19

    "Don’t remember signing any contract that I agreed to pay for druggies who don’t want to work."

    You sign it every time you make use of something paid for by society.

    I'll respond to your New Age church thing later, so don't take off your debate hat just yet!

  84. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "You sign it every time you make use of something paid for by society."

    What ever happened to the "Common Good." Druggies causing children to be impoverished is not "Good", but it is all too common.

  85. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    "Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept corresponding duties to protect themselves and one another from violence and other kinds of harm.['

    It is the druggies who do not want to work you are not fulfilling the "duties" of the social contract.

  86. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    Steve: you will be covered by ObamaCare before you reach Medicare age. Call me when you're scheduled for a colonoscopy. I want to watch.

  87. Steve Sibson 2012.04.19

    So Larry, with the ObamaCare social contract, do we have a "duty" to live a healthy lifestyle, meaning no drugs?

  88. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    sure, but medical records are confidential: a legal contract between my physician and me. making a Lakota elder pee in a cup to receive subsistence is a sin.

  89. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    all republicans are earth haters: i swear to gaia.

  90. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    think about it: sibby. peyote use is a legal religious exercise for members of several American Indian religions.

  91. Jay BK Slater 2012.04.19

    Larry, you keep using that term "earth hater" so I had to make some assumptions. Where you at on the Warren Buffet acquisition on DM&E for Powder River Coal and current jeopardy of Big Stone and NE US Senator re-election bid with Keyston XL now going through there?

  92. Jay BK Slater 2012.04.19

    Larry, isn't there a shaman and tribal council president in there somewhere? How often is peyote used in religious ceremonies?

  93. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Like I said, Sibby doesn't understand the social contract. He also doesn't understand what a religion is. He just makes everything up as he goes along. It's a symptom of his affliction. There is public assistance for that, I think, and I for one am not opposed to paying my share of whatever it costs for his therapy.

  94. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    South Dakota is profoundly broken, Jay.

    Railroads are really about real estate anyway and there are toxic spills along most of the rights of way throughout the state that need to be cleaned up.

    Look: arming you is not in my party's best interest. Read Madville Times all the way through and then get back to me.

  95. Carter 2012.04.19

    @Bill, I'm going to response to Sibby's earlier post. Your implied point that it is pointless (heh, heh) is duly noted, and I agree with you. But man... I love these kinds of arguments.

    In regards to Sibby's post on New Age Pagan Church of Sex Worship (sounds fun), calling societal beliefs "religion" is ridiculous. Why do you not complain that your tax money is being used to support big businesses (Religion: Capitalism), or build roads (Religion: ...Civil Engineering?)?

    If you want to have your old fashioned sexual taboos, no one is stopping you. You could join the Amish, or the Hutterites, or you could even form your own Jonestown! No one is stopping you (because we have freedom of religion). In fact, and this is big...Religious organization don't pay taxes. Individuals pay taxes, because of separation of Church and State. Your tithes to your Church, or whatever you call donations, aren't taxed. Your church isn't taxed.

    You are taxed, because you are a part of society. You don't want to pay taxes? Drop below $9,500/year, and then you won't have to pay them. When the heroin addicts make more than $9,500/year, they pay taxes. When the coke fiends make more than $9,500/year, they pay taxes.

    And like Bill said, no one gets to choose where their taxes go. I just lamented my taxes going to violence a few days ago, but I pay taxes all the same. You pay for roads, post, bailouts of banks who are entirely likely to steal your money again, robotic probes that blow up Yemenese civilians, all kinds of things.

    In fact, welfare payouts for people declared to be below the poverty line is something like 5.5%*. Of that 5.5%, only 2% are estimated to be drug users, making the amount of your tax money going to druggie welfare recipients somewhere in the .1% area. That's one tenth of one cent per dollar. 20%** goes to defense, so that's 20 cents per dollar.

    As a Christian, should you not be more concerned that 20 cents per dollar of your tax money is going towards killing, and not on the .1 cent per dollar going towards druggies? There's probably some sin against that.

    *5.5% is an estimated amount spent on below-poverty welfare recipients. Most of the ~20% budget we spend on Social Security goes to the elderly.

    **20% is the entire military budget (from taxes). The actual amount spent is significantly higher. I have no estimate for the amount of the tax money spent directly on wars and attacks.

  96. Carter 2012.04.19

    Oh, Sibby, you responded a long time ago about brain dead babies and I never came up with a rebuttal.

    If my mother had aborted me before I had brain activity, I wouldn't have cared, because I wasn't around. There was no Carter. There is no baby human life being ended. Aborting a baby pre-brain activity is like aborting a squash plant from its vine. Sure, you can call it "alive", but a pre-brain activity fetus is nothing more than a little bitty sack of meat. Blunt, I know, but it's true. Sure, it has the potential to one day become a human life, but it isn't a human life, yet.

    This one's going to get some argument.

  97. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    Blue Cross/Blue Shield just abandoned Florida's failed experiment with ALEC: "The Center for Media and Democracy's archive of over 800 ALEC "model bills" has exposed a jobs agenda that is nothing less than a ruthless race to the bottom in wages and working conditions."

    The President is leading in current Florida polls.

  98. Bill Fleming 2012.04.19

    Yup. ALEC is bad news. Did anyone send the memo to our legislature yet?

  99. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.04.19

    Steve, don't you dare suggest that poverty results from immorality or not following the Bible. Plenty of Christians are poor. And as Bill notes, caring for our fellow man isn't about checking IDs, résumés, or urine.

  100. grudznick 2012.04.19

    cut trees
    kill kitties
    stop all the religious cults, especially Mr. Sibby's (I don't even know which one he belongs to)

  101. larry kurtz 2012.04.19

    how's that day job goin,' grud?

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