Friday, August 26, 2011

welfare cadillac boogeymom! beware! booooooooohhhhhhhoohohohohohoh!

i understand that some want to blame the poor during economic hard times. everyone's watching their dollars and it's quite easy to make a boogeyman out of the "welfare cadillac mom".
reality is quite different.
even though welfare fraud cases get tons of attention when they are discovered [they do exist, i will not deny that], they only make up a very low percentage of ALL welfare benefits handed out by city/state/federal governments.
for instance, here's a report by the House Ways & Means committee from 2002:
it shows the results from an investigation on Unemployment Insurance benefits, and finds that only about 1.9% of UI benefits are attributed to fraud.
today, there have been at least two re/posts in my facebook feed about drug testing welfare recipients. these posts include the token reasoning "It's OK to drug test people who WORK for their money but not those who don't?"
i don't personally know people who "...are crying and calling this unconstitutional." i'm sure there are some, but the more substantive reason to be against drug testing of welfare recipients is that it doesn't make ANY financial sense.

let's just take the study quoted above:

total UI benefits: $29,878,048,780.49
2% fraud: $597,560,975.61
a: cheapest drug screening= $49 []
b: # of unemployed individuals= 13,339,398 []
a * b: 1 time cost of drug testing= $653,630,502
c: average weeks an individual stays on UI benefits= 12 []
let's say drug testing is done once per month.
(a*b) * (c/4): $1,792,682,926.83

[these are all approximate 2001 numbers]

in conclusion, it doesn't make sense to spend $3 to find $1 worth of fraud.
we have to accept that SOME fraud is bound to happen, but we should find cost effective ways to curb it.

drug testing ≠ cost effective.

my numbers are off, but the basic premise of my argument is still right.

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