Welfare Queens, St. James, Trump, Francis, and Recent Polls

Welfare Queens, St. James, Trump, Francis, and Recent Polls July 27, 2015

These guys need to learn how to work for a living and not go around expecting society to provide for them. I say they be forced to pee in a cup and have it analyzed–preferably on a weekly basis. Then we can talk about some kind of community service they can do at minimum wage to *earn* their keep. And no seafood for them.


Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah — are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to ferret out very few drug users. The statistics show that applicants actually test positive at a lower rate than the drug use of the general population. The national drug use rate is 9.4 percent. In these states, however, the rate of positive drug tests to total welfare applicants ranges from 0.002 percent to 8.3 percent, but all except one have a rate below 1 percent. Meanwhile, they’ve collectively spent nearly $1 million on the effort, and millions more may have to be spent in coming years.

The clear takeaway from this is that money is no object in subsidizing the wealthy and in going out of our way to humiliate the poor. Smart. It is something James remarks on with rather sharp words:

My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name by which you are called? (Jas 2:1–7).

All of which brings us to two recent news items:

Gallup: American Conservatives Turn On Pope Francis

Trump Approval Rating at 57% Among Conservatives

Hamlet tries to talk sense to this subculture that has completely lost its mind:

Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
Hyperion’s curls; the front of Jove himself;

An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man:
This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like a mildew’d ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for at your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it’s humble,
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would step from this to this?

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  • Chris W

    Interesting take Mark,

    It’s also interesting and timely that the reading from Morning Prayer this morning is from 2 Thessalonians 3:10b-13. No… I’m not going to point to the portion that says, “Anyone who would not work should not eat.” I think we should look at the last line, “You must never grow weary of doing what is right, brothers.”
    Liberal/ conservative doesn’t matter.
    The result of the decades long ‘war on poverty’ has been (and is) the secularization of faith through a benevolent big brother.When we give to Ceaser to do the work WE are called to do by our Lord, we have opened a door for the government to intervene on our behalf and with secular government rules.
    Peace Brother and let us continue good works in HIS name.

    • virago

      55 years since LBJ’s Great Society and we don’t seem to have made much progress.

      I don’t mind toiling in the field but on the part of the people we are suppose to help, they deserve better. They deserve more than a life lived on subsidies; they deserve a life they can lead not one driven by federal regs.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    The national drug use rate is 9.4 percent. In these states, however, the rate of positive drug tests to total welfare applicants ranges from 0.002 percent to 8.3 percent, but all except one have a rate below 1 percent.

    If that doesn’t set off your B.S. Detector, then you are the most credulous person of all time. You could hypothesize that poor people use fewer illegal drugs than the general population because they have less money to spend on illegal drugs. Alcoholism rates are actually lower among the poor, so the same might be true for illegal drugs. But 0.002%? Only 1 in 50,000 welfare recipients recently used illegal drugs? That’s lower than the false-positive rate for a urine test.

    You know how these states “tested” these folks for drugs? You probably think they had them pee in a cup. That’s how I’ve been drug-tested. That’s how most of us have been drug-tested. Nope. They asked them written questions. I am not effing with you right now.

    Under the take-them-at-their-word methodology, Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with that woman, O.J. was innocent, Bruce Jenner is a woman, and Rachel Dolezal is black. Fortunately we have other tests.

    • Pete the Greek

      Considering the sheer amount of drug paraphernalia that I see discarded as trash in the neighborhoods we owned D class apartments in, and all the bags of seeds and stems and small, burnt end metal pipes with pinched ends we toss during cleanouts, yeah, I call BS on those numbers too.

      But what do I know? I only deal with this every day. I’m not a white collar elite like Oliver or Mark who hardly ever leave the lily-white suburbs who obviously know all about this in so much more depth than I ever could. Oh sure, what I see in experience may be one thing, but the REAL question is: How does it work in Shea and Oliver’s theory? That’s what really matters.

      Don’t get me wrong, the middle and upper class do lots of drugs too, just different types. Also, having a doctor prescribe you speed doesn’t mean you aren’t still doing speed.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Yeah, when you use methodology other than “do you use illegal drugs? (y/n),” you find that illegal drug use is a little higher among welfare recipients than the general population. But the rich use drugs, too. As you note, they can afford to get them through legal channels. Like I said, abuse of the legal drug alcohol goes up with income. My hypothesis on that is that the rich see themselves as having more to lose from a drug arrest, so they stick with legal drugs when they want to self-medicate. But you can’t get fired from a job you don’t have, so the poor probably worry less about getting arrested for illegal drugs.

        • Pete the Greek

          “My hypothesis on that is that the rich see themselves as having more to lose from a drug arrest, so they stick with legal drugs.”
          – I would disagree here. Rich do lots of pot and coke and other things, but in general tend to stay away from the hideous crap like meth and crack.

          I’ve dealt with a lot of cops in our business, and have quite a few that are friends I compete against in local shoots. Things is, they KNOW where the drugs are.

          The rich, and their kids, usually don’t get busted for drugs unless they’re being stupid or made an example out of. Else a lot of shiny white kids in Harvard and Yale would get up getting busted for drug raps, as well as lots of equally shiny white kids in upper scale highschools for X, illegal Ritalin use and various opiates, pot, etc.

          Why are the poor, particularly poor blacks, singled out in the farce we call the ‘drug war’? Several reasons, I think. No, I don’t have quotable stats, but they make sense given the data we have:

          1. The poor, and yes, particularly poor blacks, who serve as the major distribution network for hard drugs in major cities are rather obvious about it, so they’re easy to spot.
          2. Short of a celebrity OD’ing, no one really cares about upper/middleclass drug use. If a dorm room full of 20 Y/Os zone out watching Spongebob and eat five boxes of Cherrios, one can ague that they are wasting time, endangering their health, etc, but they aren’t killing anyone or chewing homeless people’s faces off thinking they are zombies. Drugs in the inner city barrios/ghettos OTOH result in lots of gunplay and dead bodies splashed on the news. THAT is not allowed.
          3. Much like how the Democrat party views gun owners (or rather, MOSTLY used to view gun owners, that’s changing now) the government in general views poor blacks and hispanics: They are a safe target to attack. There’s no political backlash.

          When it comes to drug enforcement, they’re easy to catch, their business results in dead bodies, and as the last several elections prove, you can do absolutely anything to them you want and their voting patterns don’t change. Who cares? What do they really contribute, the unspoken thinking goes. You try to do real enforcement on the middle class and elites, HOLY CRAP MAN, that’s you’re tax base. You don’t do that. Political suicide.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            I’ve never thought of Cheerios as stoner food.

            • Pete the Greek

              I didn’t either. Then I had a roommate back in college… 😛

              • virago

                40 years ago in college back into 70’s, when I was determined to “experience large aftercare12 years of Catholic education,” I found chocolate ice cream and barbeque chips to be a real delicacy. As well as frosted flakes and chocolate milk. Full fat. It was the chocolate that made me do it.

                • Pete the Greek

                  Reading that gives me heartburn.

                  • virago

                    Yeah, me, too now that I’m 60!

          • Andy

            I might argue that the well-off can afford good lawyers who know how to plea-bargain and use a wide range of tactics; while the poor are frequently stuck with public defenders who there it seems to make sure that no one can the defendant was denied counsel.

            • Pete the Greek

              That’s a very good point, and I’d would agree that that also plays into it.

      • AquinasMan

        I’m increasingly awestruck by the intellectual credentials accorded to the John Olivers and Stephen Colberts of the world. Turns out I’m laughing for all the wrong reasons.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      It reminds me of the mandatory drug testing at the fast food chain I worked at in high school. The franchise agreement required all new hires be administered a drug test, but didn’t specify parameters at all.

      I was given a ‘find a word’s puzzle with the names of 10 illegal drugs buried in it. GM said anyone who wasn’t high should be able to find all 10 by end of shift.

  • Robert

    Regarding the Gallup Poll on Pope Francis’s decreased popularity, here’s the main factor that causes American conservatives to distrust him: http://www.mondayvatican.com/vatican/pope-francis-a-church-200-years-out-of-date

    Of course, Monday Vatican has been heretofore one of his biggest defenders.

  • Pete the Greek

    One thing I have noticed is that it seems like a lot of the same people who are horribly offended by the idea that welfare recipients pee in a cup to qualify for benefits seem to have no problem with me being forced to pee in a cup in order to qualify for a job.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Our experience differs greatly. And I’m not including public safety jobs like mine, just everyday jobs. (Even the most hardcore libertarians I know generally agree ambulance jockeys and firefighters ought to peer in cups. I don’t know that it really makes us safer, but moderns love them some technological fixes!

      • virago

        As a nurse, who has to pee in a cup when I ever I’ve applied for a job, it can and does make for a safer environment for patients and staff. And I would have no problem peering in a cup when asked randomly at work to do so. They pay my salary they have right to expect me to work clean.

        Would you prefer your nurse to be high on weed or strung out on the morphine you were suppose to get?

        • Pete the Greek

          For certain professions? Nope, no problem with that at all.

          I’ve worked quite a few jobs where it would have made zero difference. Still a requirement. Probably just a way to try to skim off the deadbeats at the start I guess.

          We refuse to rent apartments to people with drug convictions either. Not the same, but similar reasoning, I’d guess.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          It doesn’t actually have that effect though. As years of observation in EMS has demonstrated, while marijuana, which is detectable in urine for weeks after use, is hardly touched by my colleagues, plenty of other recreational drugs which don’t linger so long, get picked up and used by a minority precisely because they and their metabolites don’t remain in the system .

          Frankly, if you’re relying on random whiz quizzes to ensure nurses don’t divert patient meds, you’ve already lost the battle.

          This doesn’t even touch how easy it is to defeat even stringent civilian urinalysis programs . Now the military process is a whole other ballgame.

          • virago

            Frankly, we aren’t. To even go there we have to have reason to be worried already. Still,my experience has shown urine tests to be helpful.
            And those stringent urine tests that are easy to defeat sometimes m rd. They can part and parcel of a bigger process.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              So if I think urinalysis isn’t effective, it doesn’t mean I prefer my nurses strung out oxycontin? I thought you just offered those as my options?

              • virago

                We don’t rely on random urine tests, if someone appears to practicing while impaired, a urine test is part of the investigation.

                A urine test as a requirement for employment doesn’t bother me at all.
                And, interestingly enough, the hospital I currently work for does a urine test every time someone goes to employee health for any job related incident.And people have flunked those.

                Maybe my post was unclear. Sorry about that.

                • virago

                  So, with that in mind, I guess urine tests required whenever someone has to go to employee health is random testing.

                  I work in King county/Washington state. 10 years ago when I was working in Oklahoma urine tests weren’t administered whenever someone had to go to employee health.

    • jroberts548

      Because making welfare recipients submit to drug tests costs more than it saves. If I were your employer, and drug tests were costing me more than they saved, I would have the same objection to testing my employees.

      One thing I have noticed is that the same conservatives who can normally do math forget as soon as it’s convenient to justify ripping off the poor.

      • Joseph

        Simply playing the devil’s advocate here. But what purpose does his employer have for making him pee in a cup before hiring him?

        • jroberts548

          I guess depending on the nature of his work, the employer could be concerned that drug users are more likely to either steal or expose the company to liability. There are probably only a few positions where those concerns outweigh the cost of drug screening. Even with drug screening, any business dealing with lots of cash or valuable items is going to invest enough in cash and inventory control that off-hours drug use shouldn’t matter that much.

          But when it’s a private employer doing it, we’re talking about one private, innumerate fool wasting his money. When it’s the state doing it, we’re talking about millions of innumerate taxpayers wasting their money. If Pete’s boss wants to waste money collecting Pete’s pee, who cares? If Pete wants to waste money that the coercive power of the state collects from every citizen, that’s a completely different issue.

          • Pete the Greek

            “the employer could be concerned that drug users are more likely to either steal or expose the company to liability”
            – That is the official explanation, yes.

            ” If Pete wants to waste money that the coercive power of the state collects from every citizen, that’s a completely different issue.”
            – Wha? No, I actually do not support the welfare state.

            • jroberts548

              That’s fine if you don’t support the welfare state. I don’t know what that has to do with the question of whether the government should waste money on drug-screening programs that cost more than they save. “We should screen poor welfare recipients* for drugs” isn’t an argument against the welfare state; it’s an argument for a wasteful welfare state. Whether you want there to be a welfare state and whether you want to be efficient are independent questions.

              *You never hear calls for screening middle-class and rich subsidy recipients for drugs. I wonder why.

              • ManyMoreSpices

                You never hear calls for screening middle-class and rich subsidy recipients for drugs. I wonder why.

                Well, you kinda do. You can’t get subsidized student loans if you have a drug conviction.

                As for the idea that drug screening costs more than they save, what evidence do you have that it’s true? Because as I posted earlier, the primary reason that we’re not catching anyone is because the current “test” is the honor system.

                • jroberts548

                  And the honor system program you criticize cost Missouri $336,000. So there’s a screening program that costs more than it saves.

                  • LFM

                    I just finished responding to an earlier post of yours in this thread, but my comment now is simply, “Wow – this must be the first time I’ve seen you estimate money-saving in itself at such a high value.”

                    • jroberts548

                      This is always how I feel about welfare programs. I’m in favor of scrapping everything and replacing it with a negative income tax or guaranteed income with no strings attached at all, administered through existing IRS infrastructure.

              • Pete the Greek

                Calm down, Frances. I was being a smartass. 😛

                “You never hear calls for screening middle-class and rich subsidy recipients for drugs.”
                – You’ll never hear that from me either, but that’s mainly because I don’t think they should get them at all.

          • LFM

            Do you seriously think that there are so few positions today that make drug-testing, etc., worthwhile to employers? Worse yet, do you really think that the cost is greater for public employers than private ones, so that the former really ought not to bother with such tests except in “a few positions”? Are you, begging your pardon, nuts?

            What about bus/train/plane/taxi drivers? Childcare providers at daycare centers? Teachers? Pharmacists? Care-givers to the elderly? Doctors? Log-cutters? Public utility employees? (Do you even know how many public and private low-wage employees are doing such work nowadays?)

            Sigh. Your notions of how little individual actions matter strike me as belonging to the “cog-in-a-machine” type of employee who is used to thinking of himself and his work as ineffectual, and assumes that everyone else is doing work that is equally unaffected by one person’s actions.

            There are all kinds of jobs – some bureaucratic, some public, some private – where the mistakes of one person who is drunk/high/hungover, could cause tremendous damage to other people. Whatever your own sense of futility may be (and you may well be mistaken, too!), try not to forget that fact.

            I don’t have strong feelings about drug-testing for or against “welfare queens” etc., but there’s more at stake than wasting taxpayers’ money. Perhaps those who demand such tests are actually anxious to discover whether the said ladies are actually feeding their children with the money they receive, or not.

            • jroberts548

              Have you ever met someone who has smoked pot? Most people who smoke pot aren’t impaired 24 hours a day. If someone in an occupation you’re talking about gets high at home and isn’t impaired at work, it isn’t clear why the employer would care. If you’re looking for impaired workers, you should look for impaired workers, instead of using a drug test that will pick up evidence that someone smoked a joint a month ago and ignore alcohol use.

              There’s an enormous difference between occasional use and addiction. For most positions, even very sensitive ones, drug testing is the bluntest possible instrument for screening out addicts.

              And no one wants a doctor or pilot, etc. who is constantly drunk, high, hungover, or suffering from withdrawal. Hopefully no one is stupid enough to want to forbid doctors, pilots, etc. from blowing off a little steam. I’d rather have a doctor or pilot who goes home and has a nightcap every night than one who is stressed to the point of breakdown.

              • LFM

                I know lots of people who smoke pot, including some to whom I’m closely related. I know, too, that there’s a real difference between occasional use and addiction. Two observations on that score: first, how can companies employing people for sensitive jobs distinguish between the two? Are they supposed to wait until the employee makes a deadly mistake and *then* make their judgments about how fit he/she is? Second observation: people need not be addicted to a particular substance, or even be merely “occasional” users, to cause great damage because they’ve overestimated their capacity for absorbing it. Novice drug and alcohol users tend to have serious problems with this; that’s why young people – whose reflexes, senses, etc., are so much keener than those of their elders, still get into more accidents. Yes, they have less experience of driving (or whatever), but they also have less experience of drinking (etc.), and don’t know how they will handle it.

                I don’t mind if people indulge in occasional stimulants, soporifics, and inebriants, but without long knowledge of an individual, it’s hard to be certain whether he/she indulges only occasionally – and only when h/s won’t be on duty for the next 24 hours – or often enough to threaten those in their care. How do you think employers ought to handle this problem, especially in a nation as drug-happy, and as litigious as yours? You disagree, it seems, not with the principle of drug-testing but with various details of why and how it is carried out, and because you think it a “blunt instrument”. Well, yes, but in some situations that’s the best we can do. There are probably *practical* ways to get around these issues – ways that allow for legitimate caution but don’t make people’s lives miserable – but that would require imagination, thought and careful execution.

  • Elmwood

    the stadium scam is classic, just shows how our society has its priorities all messed up.

  • Peggy

    Journalist Eifel on the plane back to Rome from Latin Am, hit the nail on the head. “What about the middle class” is what is happening in the US as well. If a more “appropriate” candidate can come out and address their concerns that would be great. But right now, it’s Trump who’s saying what people care about.


    Ludwig Ring-Eifel, (CIC): Holy Father, on this trip,
    we’ve heard so many strong messages for the poor, also many strong, at
    times severe, messages for the rich and powerful, but something we’ve
    heard very little was a message for the middle class – that is, people
    who work, people who pay their taxes, “normal people.” My question is
    why in the magisterium of the Holy Father are there so few messages on
    the middle class. If there were such a message, what would it be?

    Pope Francis: Thank you so much. It’s a good
    correction, thanks. You are right. It’s an error of mine not to think
    about this. I will make a comment, but not to justify myself. You’re
    right. I have to think a bit.

    The world is polarized. The middle class becomes smaller. The
    polarization between the rich and the poor is big. This is true. And,
    perhaps this has brought me not to take account of this, no? Some
    nations are doing very well, but in the world in general the
    polarization is seen. And the number of poor is large. And why do I
    speak of the poor? Because they’re at the heart of the Gospel. And I
    always speak from the Gospel on poverty, no? It’s not that it’s
    sociological. Then on the middle class, there are some words that I’ve
    said, but a little in passing. But the common people, the simple people,
    the worker, that is a great value, no? But, I think you’re telling me
    about something I need to do. I need to do delve further into this

  • Re_Actor

    Unflattering photographs aren’t always a sound basis for spiritual discernment. That’s Tradition in Action’s stock in trade.