TEXAS LONE STAR FORUM
By F. Scott McCown
As part of legislation to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits through 2012, Congress is considering a very bad policy idea: encouraging states to drug test every applicant for unemployment insurance and deny compensation to any who fail. It's such a bad idea that it has twice failed to make it through the Texas House of Representatives, as conservative a legislative body as they come.
The whole thing is really a ploy. The proponents of drug testing are trying to undermine public support for UI by associating UI applicants with drug users. They want the public to think about UI like it does welfare, blaming the unemployed-rather than the economy-for their plight.
Unemployment insurance is not welfare. By definition, people who qualify lost their job through no fault of their own. They are typically men and women who have worked steadily, often for years or even decades, and have largely covered the cost of their employer's UI tax indirectly through reduced wages.
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