Gingrich: Drug Test Everyone

Newt Gingrich’s latest authoritarian idea is to drug test anyone who receives any kind of aid from the federal government — as long as they’re poor people, of course.

I think that we need to consider taking more explicit steps to make it expensive to be a drug user. It could be through testing before you get any kind of federal aid. Unemployment compensation, food stamps, you name it.

It has always struck me that if you’re serious about trying to stop drug use, then you need to find a way to have a fairly easy approach to it and you need to find a way to be pretty aggressive about insisting–I don’t think actually locking up users is a very good thing. I think finding ways to sanction them and to give them medical help and to get them to detox is a more logical long-term policy.

Wanna bet on whether this would include executives from corporations who receive tax subsidies? Or of defense contractors and other corporations that get federal contracts for things like housing and homeland security? Or how about to all politicians, including Newt? I bet it won’t.

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  • For a party that claims to be tough on crime, Republicans sure seem to be intent on driving more and more people to committing crimes.

  • Randomfactor

    Drug tests for social security recipients, Newt?

  • Yes, because that whole “test everyone on welfare” plan in Florida had such stellar results.

  • Chiroptera

    <a href=""Tabby Lavalamp, #1: For a party that claims to be tough on crime, Republicans sure seem to be intent on driving more and more people to committing crimes.

    Which will give them an opportunity to show how tough they are. It’s win-win!

  • jamessweet

    Newt’s not an idiot, he knows this plan is stupid and impractical. And he knows it could never be implemented at the federal level, not least of which because you’d potentially get into constitutional issues.

    This just gives him a politically correct way of saying “Fuck the poor”, without any remote possibility that he’d have to follow through with such a lame-brained scheme. If you have are perfectly amoral (as I believe we’ve already established with Newt), it’s actually a rather nice play. Good for him, I’d say — except for the part about being an amoral fucktwist, of course.

  • AsqJames

    Wouldn’t you have to extend it to anyone who has money in a bank account insured through FDIC? Surely anyone who owns shares in those banks at least…which would include anyone who has a pension or any other kind of mutual fund.

  • Paul from VA

    Actually Ed, government contractors (including defense) are required to be drug tested, and there was recently a Supreme Court decision supporting that requirement.

    NASA vs. Nelson

    It’s still stupid, but the stupidity is fairly evenly distributed throughout all levels of government….

  • gshelley

    The second part, that getting medical help rather than locking them up seems almost reasonable

  • slc1

    Re Paul from VA

    Is that all all employees of government contractors or just those employees who require a security clearance?

  • John Hinkle

    Sounds like Newt is for bigger government and more spending. Oops.

  • barry21

    First time home-buyers should DEFINITELY get tested. As should all beneficiaries (biological/adoptive parents, child) of the tax credit for dependent children.

    Let’s also see to the testing of federal judges, secretaries, clerks, administrative staff bailiffs, custodians, and interns.

    How about faculty and staff of any school that receives federal funds? Let’s not forget the students! Fuck it – throw in the state departments of education that benefit from Fed. DoE largess.

    How about the guys who pave interstate highways? And John Holdren, the President’s science adviser.

    Ooh! The federal government has a fuckload of webpages. I hear web designers like weed. Test ’em.

    And do it all in the name of small government and freedom.

  • Modusoperandi

    It’s the Republican job creation program.

  • eric

    Paul @7: the case you cite is about whether the government can ask about prior drug use on an application form. Its not about testing for drug use (unless you consider asking the question a test).

    Second, I don’t think anyone is arguing that specific types of government positions can’t require drug tests. The issue is whether the government ought to request drug tests from people receiving welfare; what’s the benefit they hope to acheive, is that benefit worth the cost of doing the testing, and why should this group be somewhat arbitrarily selected out of all the groups receiving government money to be the only ones to undergo such testing?

  • What about drug testing all those people who put their money in an FDIC-insured bank account? Or all those people who get help from the national guard? Or all those people who get farm insurance or flood insurance? What about all those people receiving a tax deduction on their home loans?

    All of these are types of federal aid, too…

    Drug test to enter a national forest or national park? Drug test to get veteran benefits? Drug test to get Medicare? Drug test to get oil subsidy?

    Color me skeptical, but methinks that “federal aid” is a dogwhistle word meaning something else.

  • I think that we need to consider taking more explicit steps to make it expensive to be a drug user.

    It was already expensive thanks to the lack of regulation for black markets. IIRC, that expensive nature is why welfare recipients have an addiction rate below the national average. No job means no disposable income.

  • Skip White

    Depending on one’s level of drug use, it can already be incredibly expensive, what with the cost of the drugs themselves, the damage to your home when jackbooted thugs tear down your door and shoot your children, pets, TV, guitar, and anything else you may be hiding the drugs in, and the 1,500 years in prison you’ll get for that tiny bit of marijuana residue. Unless, you know, you’re a rich jackass. Then you’re golden!

  • Skip White

    Oops. Clearly I need to work on my HTML skills.

  • Unless, you know, you’re a rich jackass. Then you’re golden!

    You know, I’m starting to think we should encourage a new media trope: The rich, legally untouchable, well-connected addict who staunchly advocates for drug testing the poor people who can’t afford drugs.

    …Was it Gingrich or Limbaugh who got addicted to painkillers? I get those two mixed up a lot.

  • Limbaugh.

    But I’m beginning to think Newt should be tested too. And he should drag Bachmann, Perry and Cain in with him. Someone clearly has been nibbling on the mushrooms.

  • scienceavenger

    I think we should drug test anyone who is still supporting Cain, Bachmann, Perry or Santorum for President. These people are clearly high.

  • barry21

    Newt is supposed to be the intellectual luminary, a historian so brilliant that even Freddie Mac saw fit to pay him $1.6 million. But somehow, he doesn’t understand the sentence:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons…shall not be violated…but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    How’s your shitty doctorate, Newt?

  • vmanis1

    Back when Reagan was proposing this, I supported the idea. I still do, so long as it’s done uniformly.


    [President steps up to the lectern, pauses, smiles at audience.]

    [There is a soundof a zipper coming down, followed by a tinkling sound]

    [The red light stays off, and the green light goes on. The Special Forces snipers lower their weapons.]

    `My fellow Americans…’

  • JustaTech

    And what about all the false positives in those tests? (True story, my husband once came up positive for opiates due to a everything bagel.) Or the people, like me, who take a legal, prescribed medication that will show up on a drug test like meth? People who have taken cold medicine? Something tells me that the kidn of testing Newt wants would never have any kind of follow-up test nor make any exceptions for over-the-counter or prescribed medication.

    It’s stupider than denying people security clearance because they are treating a mental illness. (Not treating your mental illness? That’s fine. But seeing a doctor and/or taking medication? Spy!)

  • D. C. Sessions

    Cain, Bachmann, Perry or Santorum for President. These people are clearly high.

    Only for five weeks, one at a time.

  • Aquaria

    I think we need to test those old geezers on Social Security.

  • Pinky

    Aquaria I am an old geezer on Social Security; why do you think I should be drug tested?

    Sounds a bit like stereotyping.

    However it’s too late, the DE-fucking-A now requires all patients who visit pain clinics to have at least two unannounced urine tests a year.

    I apologize if I derailed the fun you might have had thinking of othering all those “old geezers on Social Security”.

  • dingojack

    I’m sure The Amphibisn will lead by example, right?


    Colour me shocked, shocked I tells ya!

    🙂 Dingo