Mississippi Has The Right Idea With New Welfare Requirement

Though there is plenty of debate regarding the optimal size and scope of the various programs, millions of Americans concede that some level of welfare should be available for the neediest among us. Unfortunately, leftist politicians have increasingly used the promise of such benefits to attract new voters.

This has not only created a class of citizens dependent on the federal government for its survival; countless recipients have successfully defrauded the welfare system in a variety of ways. One state is now implementing a system meant to combat those abuses, even if some critics might contend it doesn’t go far enough.

According to recent reports, Mississippi will force welfare recipients to complete a questionnaire regarding potential drug abuse. State authorities will require certain applicants, based on their responses, to undergo drug testing before receiving assistance.

Positive results will lead to responses ranging from drug abuse treatment to a one year suspension from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

There have been numerous welfare reform proposals that would require all welfare recipients to be tested for the use of illicit substances. Proponents of such policies suggest that, since many employers require potential hires to prove they do not abuse drugs, those receiving government funds should be held to the same standard.

While Mississippi’s new welfare model does not go quite that far, Gov. Phil Bryant contends it is a fair system for both taxpayers and the state’s needy families.

“The TANF program is a safety net for families in need,” he said, “and adding this screening process will aid adults who are trapped in a dependency lifestyle so they can better provide for their children.”

State estimates put the cost of this testing at a very modest $36,000 per year.

Mississippi is the 10th state to approve some level of drug testing for those receiving welfare. More than half of the remaining states, however, are currently considering such bills.

Even as a leftist federal government continues to mire the U.S. in corruption and debt, individual states acknowledge the need to address this exceedingly wasteful program. Accountability will benefit both the taxpayers being forced to fund the welfare system and those who legitimately need assistance being squandered by frauds.

–B. Christopher Agee

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Photo Credit: Cbalentine (Creative Commons)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

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