Cor­po­rate wel­fare queens, donors need drug test, too

Austin American-Statesman - - BALANCED VIEWS - From the left Mon­day Tues­day Wed­nes­day Thurs­day Long­time Texas news­pa­per­man John Young lives in Colorado. jy­oung­col­umn@ gmail.com. Read the Ar­lene Wohlge­muth com­men­tary and the coun­ter­point by Terri Burke of the Texas ACLU at states­man.com/opin­ion. Fri­day

This

is bril­liant. And to think it came from the folks who made the mess in the first place.

The mess is the buy­ing of our government. I can’t be­lieve that Repub­li­cans in Texas and Florida have come up with the so­lu­tion. That so­lu­tion: urine sam­ples. This may take some ex­plain­ing, be­cause what th­ese politi­cians really want is for sub­hu­man re­cip­i­ents of food stamps to aim at a Dixie Cup.

The bril­liance of this idea was con­tained in a com­men­tary pub­lished in the Amer­i­can-States­man on Nov. 26 from Repub­li­can Ar­lene Wohlge­muth, former Texas state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, who wrote, “Re­quir­ing peo­ple who re­ceive tax­payer-funded wel­fare ben­e­fits to be drug-free” will guide them on the straight and nar­row path.

Good idea, said a reader of this col­umn, who imag­ines that other re­cip­i­ents of wel­fare — cor­po­rate wel­fare — could use said guid­ance.

“How about the state drug-test the of­fi­cers and direc­tors of the cor­po­ra­tions that re­ceive pub­lic largesse like the Texas En­ter­prise Fund and the Ma­jor Events Trust Fund?” I sec­ond the mo­tion. Surely peo­ple like Wohlge­muth would em­brace this for the same rea­sons why they want to flag wel­fare moth­ers’ bod­ily flu­ids.

And that — test­ing cor­po­rate wel­fare re­cip­i­ents — takes us to how we bring an end to the per­ni­cious mat­ter of cor­po­ra­tions buy­ing government.

For you see, when government sub­si­dizes big busi­ness, so do the busi­nesses sub­si­dize peo­ple in government. Tex­ans for Pub­lic Jus­tice re­cently found that nearly half the com­pa­nies awarded $439 mil­lion in Texas eco­nomic-devel­op­ment funds gave al­most $7 mil­lion to Gov. Rick Perry’s cam­paign or the Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion.

Nice ar­range­ment. Tax­pay­ers pay cor­po­ra­tions, which pay the gov­er­nor to keep his job se­cure.

OK, you may not see this as nice. You might see it as sim­ple graft. You’d like to see it stopped. Here’s how we do it: urine sam­ples.

Re­mem­ber New­ton’s third law of po­lit­i­cal physics:

“For ev­ery ac­tion in the po­lit­i­cal sphere, such as a cam­paign gift or ob­se­quious perk, is an equal re­ac­tion, such as the kiss­ing of a con­trib­u­tor’s ring fin­ger (or other ex­trem­ity), fol­lowed nec­es­sar­ily by out­right tax­payer sub­si­dies.”

Know­ing this to be a law, we can

Scot Le­high

Paul Krug­man

Dana Milbank

Mau­reen Dowd fi­nally end the prob­lem.

In ad­di­tion to re­quir­ing drug tests of in­dus­trial wel­fare queens who get some­thing from government, we re­quire a drug test from ev­ery­one who do­nates to a politi­cian ex­pect­ing some­thing. Ev­ery time.

And we re­quire a drug test for ev­ery law­maker who re­ceives th­ese gifts. Ev­ery time. This is go­ing to work. Un­der­stand, great en­deav­ors be­gin with small steps.

In Florida, test­ing of wel­fare re­cip­i­ents de­tected drugs in only 2.6 per­cent of them. Hey, it’s all dol­lars and hu­mil­i­a­tion well-spent, say pol­i­cy­mak­ers.

Texas knows where they’re coming from. Though it has cut back on vir­tu­ally ev­ery other school en­deavor, it has spent mil­lions test­ing prep ath­letes for steroids.

It has caught al­most enough vi­o­la­tors to field a six-man team.

Texas loves tests, whether they be in a cup or in the op­pres­sively stan­dard­ized minds of Pear­son Ed­u­ca­tion Inc (an­other big po­lit­i­cal con­trib­u­tor).

Some will say that test­ing Pear­son cor­po­rate of­fi­cers for drugs is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, since they al­ways show up for work, and you can’t say the same al­ways about re­cip­i­ents of Tem­po­rary As­sis­tance for Needy Fam­i­lies.

All we are say­ing is, give drug test­ing a chance — to prove its worth on the po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion front.

A donor will think twice if when buy­ing a politi­cian he has to spill ev­i­dence of what was fu­el­ing his sys­tem the night be­fore. The same for a politi­cian who ac­cepts his gifts.

And any­way, as Wohlge­muth ap­peals, don’t we want our elected of­fi­cials and their lob­by­ing bene­fac­tors show­ing up sober for work ev­ery time the gavel sounds?

She ob­serves that the Texas Mo­tor Trans­porta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion sup­ports drug tests for drivers.

“If you want to get a job driv­ing trucks in Texas, you can. But you have to pass a drug test first,” she wrote.

My thoughts ex­actly. That’s why we must start drug-test­ing po­lit­i­cal donors and those who ac­cept their gifts.

We don’t want elected of­fi­cials driv­ing our government un­der the in­flu­ence.

Gail Collins

John Young

Leonard Pitts

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.