If the point of drug-testing welfare recipients is to save taxpayers money, it's not working.
According to state data gathered by ThinkProgress, "the seven states with existing programs — Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah — are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to ferret out very few drug users."
The politicians who support these programs think they'll save money by eliminating the benefits of recipients who use drugs. They also believe they can steer drug users towards treatment programs.
"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 one percent. Meanwhile, they've collectively spent nearly $1-million on the effort, and millions more may have to be spent in coming years."
With stats like that, Time magazine's Darlena Cunha is right: the tired image of the welfare queen with six kids, driving around in a Cadillac, watching soap operas on an expensive television and eating junk food on the couch has had its day.