The Rich Get Richer; The Poor Get Drug Tested

Joe-the-Stock-Broker celebrated his $1 million bonus with a trip to Vegas. The tables in Nevada were not as kind to the broker as The Street in Manhattan, but no biggie. His gambling losses are a tax deduction. Thank goodness for those government benefits.

Laura-the-Laid-Off-Factory-Worker celebrated a successful application for food stamps. Furloughed for a year, her unemployment benefits had run out. She’d been unable to find another job in her small, rural town and had gone through all her savings supporting her two kids. In desperation, she applied for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.

Joe and Laura both use America’s benefit systems. Republicans don’t treat them as equals, though. They revere Joe. They smear Laura. They call her a taker and demand that she jump through hoops to receive her benefits, including drug testing. They want to screen her, monitor her, vet and investigate her in ways they would never subject Joe.

There’s a Democrat who wants to change that. It’s Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore. She says if the government tests the poor for their benefits, they should test the rich for theirs too.

Last week, Moore introduced the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016, a bill that would require drug testing for all tax filers claiming itemized deductions over $150,000.

“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,” said Moore, a former welfare recipient, in a press release. “These laws serve only one purpose: stoking the most extreme sentiments and misguided notions of the conservative movement.”

The bill has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress, but Moore’s core objective is to “engage the American public in a substantive dialogue regarding the struggles of working- and middle-class families.”

Republicans tend to wage a “war against the poor” with their views concerning those they deem “less than.” They eagerly hand out benefits to their rich buddies on Wall Street, yet push back when advocates promote providing assistance to the nation’s neediest citizens. Many of those in the GOP say they don’t want taxpayer money to “subsidize illegal behavior.”

Well, ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

Members of Congress and politicians at all levels have been abusing drugs and other substances for decades. In 2013, Rep. Trey Radal was busted with cocaine. Texas County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr. was arrested in February 2012 on federal drug trafficking charges. Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, a staunch drug war advocate, was arrested for a DUI in Arlington, Virginia in December 2012.

Aside from drug use, the list of illegal or downright unethical behavior committed by U.S. politicians is seemingly endless: General David Patraeus (providing classified information to a lieutenant), Dennis Hastert (illegally structuring bank transactions to conceal his bribes intended to silence a victim of his sexual misconduct), Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (using state money to pay for an extra-marital affair)…

This doesn’t even include all of the members of Congress who abuse their positions by accepting money from lobbyists like the NRA and big banks in exchange for legislation that serves special-interest groups.

Meanwhile, hard-working Americans pay taxes that fund the salaries of these crooks and quacks.

Whether it’s pure delusion or a complete disregard for those not as wealthy as themselves, it really doesn’t matter. It’s just plain wrong to place this judgment on welfare recipients, most of whom are working single mothers and the elderly.

By equating welfare recipients with criminals, the GOP continues their mission of dividing the American people by pitting the rich against the poor and falsely defining struggling Americans as delinquents.

So if the GOP wishes to go with this discourse and believes Americans must be drug-tested before receiving benefits, then they should be fine putting their money where their mouth is and they should pass legislation requiring Congress members to pee in a cup before receiving their taxpayer-sponsored paychecks.

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