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William Crandell: What’s next in the war on the poor?

Published 8:57am Thursday, May 2, 2013

By William Crandell

Recently the Republicans in the State House introduced legislation that would allow for the drug testing of state aid recipients, launching yet another attack on the poor of this state instead of addressing the real issues such as high unemployment, lack of proper health care and lack of education funding. This new bill is nothing more than a distraction and another blatant attempt to utilize stereotypical outrage towards the poor and punish the so called “welfare queens” here in Michigan.
Much like the Florida drug testing welfare law that was recently struck down by a federal appeals court this new law seeks to eliminate benefits for recipients who fail a drug screening regardless if that aid is supporting a family.
Even though the Florida law was only in effect for a few months, 98 percent of those tested passed and the law ended up costing more to enforce than it saved the state by throwing people off assistance. In Michigan this new law would require state workers if they suspect drug use to have the recipient tested but caseworkers have already expressed that they feel they have not received the proper training to make such a decision and worry that it will violate a citizen’s right to privacy.
Another recent attack on the poor is state Rep.  Al Pscholka’s Parental Responsibility Act that suspends the benefits of families if their children are truant from school. The PRA is another misguided and flagrant attempt by the GOP to throw families off welfare and demonstrates a willingness to use any excuse to do so. Should a younger sibling have to go hungry or risk the possibility of not having any heat because their older brother doesn’t want to go to school?
These state laws are being passed at a time when the effects of the recent sequester are just starting to take their toll. Berrien County currently has an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent and the sequester cuts have slashed long term unemployment funds for our county by 32,388. In Cass County they have an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent and are losing 6,277.
Overall Michigan will be losing 2.2 million in long term unemployment benefits and families are going to need government assistance but all the GOP are concerned with is whether or not recipients are smoking pot.
At a time when Michigan should be working together to fix our problems, the Republicans are doing everything they can to deny benefits and remove any kind of safety net.
Being poor in America should not be treated like a crime and those suffering from its affects should not have to feel shame.
These new laws will open up avenues to punish children because their parents make bad life choices and will lead to more crimes such as prostitution and drug addiction.
This law is an excellent example of the GOP’s lack of understanding of the issues and demonstrates their elitist attitude toward the less fortunate.
William Crandell is a community activist and active member of the Michigan Education Association and Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.

  • Samuel Taylor

    What a Great idea, Random drug testing, for anyone
    Receiving State Business Subsidies, Tax Relief,and or
    Corporate Welfare be also Subject to Random Drug
    and the Ministers enjoying Tax exemption, be also
    Tested, Lets stop Discrimination, and be fair about it.
    There must be a few Bentley Welfare kings in Commerce.

  • John Wolff

    This time I will have to disagree with Mr. Crandell on the drug testing law..Many people poor and with wealth take drugs.. The people with wealth can afford the habit.. Folks on the poor side can not..When we give them food assistance they continue their use of drugs, Just the other day a young man stoped me on the street and offered me a food stamp card for 50.00 that was suppose to have 100.00 credit on it..So it does go on..So I believe in the drug testing and putting those same people out to work for their food asistance..That is those that can work.. If Mexican nationals can come to this country and work, their should be work for those receiving assistance.. The least we should do that if they fail drug testing is to give them help for the addiction while offering any kind of assistance..John Wolff.

  • Rukidding

    Mr. Crandell, while you continue to wage your war and whine about hard working, income generating, people that supports your job through taxes we working people celebrate. The rare victory of reform to a corrupt and ineffective entitlement system. I’m in complete support of you giving every penny of your taxpayer generated income to drug users and pushers, but when it comes to the money I work hard for and earn, leave your damn hands off. Don’t tell me how I should or shouldn’t be spending my money, your money grubbing wealth redistrbuting president already does enough of that for all of us.

  • Rukidding

    Mr. Crandell, if you want to live as a socialist or communist, then why don’t you move to a place that already accepts and lives by your beliefs? You know like Russia, China, or even North Korea. I’m sure they would accept your views & thoughts with open arms. And I promise we Americans won’t miss you!

  • Samuel Taylor

    I Wouldn’t want to offend the poor, but We all like
    the Rich folk, andareahopein some of it rubsd off.
    It Never in fact does, butwejusta keep hopein.
    It are easy to pick on the poor, as they look
    so Guilty, dress shabily, and some even Smell.
    But on the bhright Side it gives usens a good
    excuse to mumble “there but the grace of G-D go I”
    and We can know at least We are like Rich folk

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