Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) claims she is “sick and tired of being sick and tired of the criminalization of poverty,” especially when it comes to discrimination in the form of requiring those who receive federal assistance to pass a drug test to continue getting the assistance. Gwen Moore is a woman who grew up on welfare, and she wants to introduce legislation that would extend the drug testing requirements to another income bracket who receive federal assistance – the one percent. According to Gwen Moore, the rich receiving a substantial federal tax break is no different than someone receiving welfare.
“We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.”
Gwen Moore wants it to be known that while there very well may be a handful of people abusing the federal assistance programs in place to help families in need, cutting off a handful of people (including some of those who really need it) is not going to do anything about the federal deficit. Instead, the government should start at the other end of the income spectrum. Wouldn’t cutting off a few people who are getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks help the deficit more than someone who is getting $500-$600 in food stamps every month?
It would appear that even if the bill isn’t passed, Gwen Moore wants the one percent of the income bracket to see what it feels like from the poverty end to be told you have to pass a drug test to continue to get the money you are used to getting. The only difference is the one percent may be able to continue to survive without the tax break, while the individuals receiving welfare and food stamps may not be as lucky.
“The benefits we give to poor people are so limited compared to what we give to the top one percent,” Moore said. “It’s a drop in the bucket.”
“As a strong advocate for social programs aimed at combating poverty, it deeply offends me that there is such a deep stigma surrounding those who depend on government benefits, especially as a former welfare recipient.”
“Sadly, Republicans across the country continue to implement discriminatory policies that criminalize the less fortunate and perpetuate false narratives about the most vulnerable among us,” Moore said. “These laws serve only one purpose: stoking the most extreme sentiments and misguided notions of the conservative movement.”
The Huffington Post reported that republicans in dozens of states have been pushing for drug testing bills to test those in poverty receiving temporary financial assistance and those receiving food stamps which amounts to roughly 45 million Americans. Currently, the SNAP program does not allow states to use drug tests to determine eligibility. However, some of the republicans in congress think the law should be changed to let drug tests happen.
“As I’ve said time and time again, the notion that those battling poverty are somehow more susceptible to substance abuse is as absurd as it is offensive.”
Gwen Moore doesn’t understand why those battling poverty are more likely to be abusing drugs. Unfortunately for Gwen Moore, AlterNet reports there are several politicians who believe there is a direct connection between people of poverty and drug abuse.
Do you think someone who is poor is more likely to use drugs? Do you think requiring the rich to take a drug test before receiving a federal tax break would solve the deficit?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]