North Dakota GOP Proposes a Fee to Get Welfare

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, February 7, 2013 9:51 EDT
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I’ve seen a lot of liberals protest drug testing people seeking welfare, but rarely if ever has it been discussed as what I suspect these bills are intended to be: A ban on welfare through back door means. Just as abortion bans are smuggled under feigned concern for “women’s health” and bans on large swaths of Democratic voters are smuggled in as “voter ID” laws, I suspect that people who push for drug testing welfare recipients thought that would end welfare. “They’re all just a bunch of druggies who want money to lay around smoking crack all day,” Republican legislators thought. “No way will welfare recipients pass a drug test.”

Unfortunately, their brilliant plan was rooted in bigotry and not reality, and they soon learned that it doesn’t work. It turns out very few recipients of welfare use drugs. This makes sense to the reality-based community. Of course people subsisting on welfare don’t use drugs like, say, middle class white people do, because drugs cost money.  Single mothers raising kids on welfare don’t have, you know, money. Derp de derp.

Well, now legislators in North Dakota have taken this realization—people who need welfare don’t have money!—and figured out how to use it to make that back door ban on welfare work.

Several Republican lawmakers are pushing the measure, which also would require applicants of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to pay for the drug testing themselves before getting assistance.

Drug tests cost money. People who need welfare don’t have money. Forcing people to pay to get welfare means they won’t get it. It’s basically a poll tax on welfare.

I bet a lot of Republicans are kicking themselves right now. “Of course that’s how you starve needy children! Charge their mothers a fee to get welfare! Why didn’t we think of that?!”


Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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