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Poll
Question: Should we drug test those getting unemplyment benefits?
Yes. - 6 (13.6%)
Yes, but only if they ask for an extension past the 26 weeks. - 2 (4.5%)
No, never. - 36 (81.8%)
Total Voters: 44

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Author Topic: Should we drug test those getting unemplyment benefits?  (Read 38790 times)
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« Reply #15: February 17, 2011, 06:09:43 pm »

It's a slippery slope, and I don't think anyone in this country wants to go down it...

You are far more optimistic than I.
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« Reply #16: February 17, 2011, 06:41:31 pm »

Unemployment is also something we pay into while we work - it's not welfare.  We HAVE paid into the system. 
I'm not 100% sure of how unemployment works. I know it varies by states. My government teacher told me that unemployment checks come from the government's unemployment insurance fund, which comes from your Employer's tax. And that you as an employee never pay any significant money to the government's unemployment fund, unlike social security or retirement.
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« Reply #17: February 17, 2011, 06:56:20 pm »

I'm not 100% sure of how unemployment works. I know it varies by states. My government teacher told me that unemployment checks come from the government's unemployment insurance fund, which comes from your Employer's tax. And that you as an employee never pay any significant money to the government's unemployment fund, unlike social security or retirement.

Ok, In illinois, it is a benefit of working, and a protection for workers from arbitrary layoffs.  The employers who have higher turnover tend to pay higher rates.  And if you think that X% of my wages that is sent to the government is not included in the employer's calculations of my pay rate, you have another think coming.  It is not welfare.  It is a benefit of employment that I have to work for, before and while I'm getting it, and I'm lucky if I actually get it.
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« Reply #18: February 17, 2011, 07:45:26 pm »


As for legalizing pot, I'm for legalizing (and taxing) all drugs. This would turn off the "war of civil rights" called the "war on drugs", save taxpayers lots of money (fewer LE officers needed, less prison space needed, no court time wasted on drug cases), reduce organized crime, And generate money through the taxes placed on the legalized drugs.

Too many people are making, too much money off of "illegal drugs".  Look on the legal side, what would happen to the jails, courts, and the DEA?
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« Reply #19: February 17, 2011, 08:10:25 pm »

I'm not 100% sure of how unemployment works. I know it varies by states. My government teacher told me that unemployment checks come from the government's unemployment insurance fund, which comes from your Employer's tax. And that you as an employee never pay any significant money to the government's unemployment fund, unlike social security or retirement.

What Mandrina said - it's been included in the documentation of 'total compensation' that I got at various points. (Along with the "We feed you lunch" benefit cost amounts, and a bunch of other stuff, as well as the more obvious employer's social security taxes, etc.)

It's not a very large amount per employee normally - the federal tax is only on the first $7,000 earned, and Minnesota only taxes up to the amount "Each year, a taxable wage base is set that is 60 percent of Minnesota's average annual wage. Unemployment insurance tax is paid on only the gross wages paid to each employee up to the taxable wage base for that year." (examples at http://www.uimn.org/tax/hdbook/wg_rt.htm - the taxable wage is usually in the mid/upper 20K range, apparently.)

I'll also be blunt: it's not a lot of money. My last year of work, I was making in the mid-40s, which is fairly low for a librarian (though as a 10 month school-year contract, not unreasonably so). My income from unemployment is half what I was taking home from my paycheck, and it does not include withholding for federal or state taxes. (For those doing the math at home, that means $1700 a month or so, except in months with five Mondays, when it's about $2150. There aren't lots of those).  I'm not supporting a spouse, or kids, but I could be.

Even though I live pretty frugally (I live in a 400 square foot tiny little house, with all the cheapness of rent, heating, and other such things that implies, drive an 11 year old inexpensive car not very much, etc.). I also have to pay for health insurance out of pocket. Because my previous employer had a good plan, that's expensive ($500 a month - or nearly as much as my rent) - but I can't afford to let it slip, because I have four well-managed but chronic conditions I can't afford to lose coverage for.

(And particularly where two of them *might* if everything went wrong, mean an ER trip or substantial testing - the thyroid and vitamin D are cheap to treat and easy to pay for out of pocket if I have to, but the asthma and the migraines while currently under excellent control with no regular medication, could change fast if I hit triggers/major allergens/etc. in the wrong combination. Or, y'know, got flu that turned into pneumonia, which the asthma predisposes me to. Or hit by a car.)

The only way I make my budget work is that my mother's helping me - it's her money that's letting me pay my health insurance costs (everything else I can manage) and make trips for interviews out of state when I need to. (And has done other things, like make sure I have multiple interview-appropriate outfits, since sometimes interviews are a multi-day thing in academia.)

I'm *really* lucky that she's willing and able to. Otherwise, I'd be facing some incredibly hard choices. I did luck out in a couple of ways: I made some stupid choices around finances during my marriage, (which ended in 2007 after 5 years), and had been in even less well paying jobs before that (so not a lot of chance to put savings away) but I'd just finished paying off that debt before losing my job. And that while the health stuff was an issue in the job ending, by the time my contract ended, I was in fact back to a point where I could reasonably actively seek work, as opposed to being too sick to job hunt or work - which would have meant (and probably failing to get) disability with no money coming in at all to support myself.  

I am being this blunt because so often people aren't. There are certainly places I wish I'd made different choices in hindsight. (Not marrying the ex among them: would have changed vast parts of the financial picture). On the other hand, they were largely reasonable choices at the time, given my available health, considerations, and commitments. I think that's all we get.

I see unemployment as a way to help me - a person who's worked full time (barring school-year contracts) for 12 years (since I graduated college), contributing not only to the economies of the places I live, but also to the lives, educations, and opportunities of our next generation - get to a point where I can continue to do that, and use my very real skills to do some more of that, rather than having to take a job that will place much greater stress on my body, financial stress on my psyche, and not use the skills and education and experience that I think are a good thing in the world. I'm glad of that option - but I think it's an exchange of resources, not a "Oh, government handout I didn't earn."

We're just starting the educational hiring season in earnest, and I fervently hope, pray, do magic, and send out lots of resumes with the best possible quality I can to help ensure that someone will hire me in my field. If they don't by June, I'll start looking a lot more seriously at other options outside my preferred field/education. (I'm also doing lots of stuff to both keep my skills sharp *and* demonstrate to employers that I am, which includes running a professional blog, picking up free and low cost seminars/web conferences/local events when I can, etc.)
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« Reply #20: February 17, 2011, 08:16:31 pm »


No, I do not think people getting unemploymet should get drug tested. The cost is huge but there are also meds that can show up as drugs on a test. It would be horrable if someone on a required Rx got turned down because of a faulty test. Then if testing for drugs that leads to the question of drugs that are legal. Are they going to test for ETOH, what about nicotine, ohh don't for get the number one legal addictive drug caffeine? I know I just had my first coffee fix.

As for legalizing drugs, I think they should all be HEAVELY taxed, prescribed, distributed at a clinic, and taxed again.
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« Reply #21: February 17, 2011, 11:18:10 pm »

No, I do not think people getting unemploymet should get drug tested. The cost is huge but there are also meds that can show up as drugs on a test. It would be horrable if someone on a required Rx got turned down because of a faulty test. Then if testing for drugs that leads to the question of drugs that are legal. Are they going to test for ETOH, what about nicotine, ohh don't for get the number one legal addictive drug caffeine? I know I just had my first coffee fix.

As for legalizing drugs, I think they should all be HEAVELY taxed, prescribed, distributed at a clinic, and taxed again.

If you have a prescription for a drug that shows up on a drug screen, you still get a clean drug screen card.
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« Reply #22: February 17, 2011, 11:25:56 pm »

If you have a prescription for a drug that shows up on a drug screen, you still get a clean drug screen card.

Yep. I had to take hydrocodone for a few days while being treated for an infection, and they cleared me--just had to show the prescription bottle.
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« Reply #23: February 18, 2011, 12:31:41 am »

I'm interested in what people have to say. Some say it violates their privacy. I believe an unemployment benefit is a privilege, not a right. I might be wrong but that's what I believe. Also, should we exclude Marijuana? Do you support the legalization of it?

I can't live with the potential of a child going hungry because a parent is an addict.

Health and human services/ social services/unemployment are not equipped to investigate every case in which a parent cannot pass a drug test seeking criteria to remove the child from the home because the parents can't feed them.  

Those that make the straw man argument claiming those on food stamps mismanage their funds rather than lack funds would be disappointed that removing children from the home because the parents can't afford to feed them costs more than feeding them.

As for pot, it's a *recommendation* not a prescription.  You can be "legal" according to your state and employers will still adhere to their zero tolerance policies.  I would much rather see an actual prescription, dosage and regulation, making monitoring and true abuse easier to spot and treat in this case.  Sheltering recreational use under "medical" terms just casts illegitimacy on the true medical users.  In Ca if you've got $150 and had a sprained ankle once you can get a card.

Until there is an on the spot test for driving while intoxicated by pot, I couldn't truly support legalization.  
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« Reply #24: February 18, 2011, 05:55:58 am »

I'm interested in what people have to say. Some say it violates their privacy. I believe an unemployment benefit is a privilege, not a right. I might be wrong but that's what I believe. Also, should we exclude Marijuana? Do you support the legalization of it?

I'm curious as to what you feel drug testing would accomplish, why you feel it's necessary.  "privilege not a right" doesn't really say much about that.  Do you feel that there's some sort of problem drug testing would address?  (Facts and figures to back it up would be appreciated.)

I ask because I have to say, all the anti-testing response in this thread is really convincing to me.  They make a good case.  I'm inclined to agree--but I haven't really heard the pro-testing side yet.  I'm willing to listen to your case and see if it's as convincing...  But you haven't presented it.
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« Reply #25: February 18, 2011, 06:02:54 am »

I'm curious as to what you feel drug testing would accomplish, why you feel it's necessary.  "privilege not a right" doesn't really say much about that.  Do you feel that there's some sort of problem drug testing would address?  (Facts and figures to back it up would be appreciated.)

I ask because I have to say, all the anti-testing response in this thread is really convincing to me.  They make a good case.  I'm inclined to agree--but I haven't really heard the pro-testing side yet.  I'm willing to listen to your case and see if it's as convincing...  But you haven't presented it.

Personally I concur with the anti-testers. Unemployment is insurance as has been said, we pay into and when we get laid off or the companies we work for cease to exist we've earned and need that assistance. It's not a free check we're required to work for it by looking for a job etc. All drug testing will do is cost an S-ton of money.

Here's a question though, if it *does* find persons collecting unemployment that test positive (assuming it's not a false positive) what then? Do they go to mandatory recovery programs? Who pays? Are they simply kicked off the roles? What happens when they or their families are evicted? What's the ultimate goal? To find and treat persons with addictions or to punish them?
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« Reply #26: February 18, 2011, 06:35:14 am »

I'm not 100% sure of how unemployment works. I know it varies by states. My government teacher told me that unemployment checks come from the government's unemployment insurance fund, which comes from your Employer's tax. And that you as an employee never pay any significant money to the government's unemployment fund, unlike social security or retirement.

and criminalizing (Because that's what this is) people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own is changed by this HOW?

Why on earth would you do this to people?
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« Reply #27: February 18, 2011, 08:48:15 am »

Personally I concur with the anti-testers. Unemployment is insurance as has been said, we pay into and when we get laid off or the companies we work for cease to exist we've earned and need that assistance. It's not a free check we're required to work for it by looking for a job etc. All drug testing will do is cost an S-ton of money.

Here's a question though, if it *does* find persons collecting unemployment that test positive (assuming it's not a false positive) what then? Do they go to mandatory recovery programs? Who pays? Are they simply kicked off the roles? What happens when they or their families are evicted? What's the ultimate goal? To find and treat persons with addictions or to punish them?

since I'm pretty sure the only thing that will happen is they get kicked off the rolls, so it'll be punishment, I'm far more concerned with the percentage of false positives.  NOrmally the only result of a false positive is you don't get the job (cause if you have the job and it comes up positive, you can ask for a better test and it is required (at least in our employee handbook) for the company to give it to you.  All of this is more and more and more expense, and then the next question is, how often?  Every week, every month, etc.
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« Reply #28: February 18, 2011, 08:52:15 am »

since I'm pretty sure the only thing that will happen is they get kicked off the rolls, so it'll be punishment, I'm far more concerned with the percentage of false positives.  NOrmally the only result of a false positive is you don't get the job (cause if you have the job and it comes up positive, you can ask for a better test and it is required (at least in our employee handbook) for the company to give it to you.  All of this is more and more and more expense, and then the next question is, how often?  Every week, every month, etc.

It strikes me as a thoroughly pointless, costly, needlessly punitive (as in my state at least getting fired for cause - rare as we're a right to work state - such as drug abuse makes getting unemployment a long term and costly journey with a big fat no at the end of it) and draconian idea. What possible good could come of it? For the small number of persons abusing the system or that have given up after not being able to find a job in months and take a day off with a joint - you're going to spend how much to ferret out their actions? Why? There are so many more problems and legitimate costly issues in our nations and communities that deserve funding. An exercise in pointless cruelty.
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« Reply #29: February 18, 2011, 09:41:28 am »

I'm curious as to what you feel drug testing would accomplish, why you feel it's necessary.  "privilege not a right" doesn't really say much about that.  Do you feel that there's some sort of problem drug testing would address?  (Facts and figures to back it up would be appreciated.)

I ask because I have to say, all the anti-testing response in this thread is really convincing to me.  They make a good case.  I'm inclined to agree--but I haven't really heard the pro-testing side yet.  I'm willing to listen to your case and see if it's as convincing...  But you haven't presented it.
In my perfect la-la world, where the government has unlimited money, yes, I would drug test. In my perfect la la world, marijuana would also be legalized,and medical marijuana would be excluded from drug testing. However, I think its highly unrealistic to do so. Not because it violates their privacy (I really don't care about that), mainly because I don't think our government could fund it. Now, if drug testing were to cost $0.01  then I would be all for it. But even then It would still be unrealistic. What if the addict has children?
I just wish we could at least try it for a month or two to see what actually happens.
Hopefully we can all agree that doing drugs while on unemployment is morally wrong.

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