I can describe my political convictions in a nutshell, Save Jerseyans, by asking you to read the The Newark Star-Ledger Editorial Board’s ramblings and then assume that your Blogger-in-Chief holds the complete opposite opinion!
The latest absurdity? The thin-skinned Tom Moran (the board’s editor) is slamming a bill by Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R) that would require random drug testing for certain citizens receiving public assistance. You can read the text here. I don’t expect the Ledger to side with taxpayers over tax dollar dependents. But in slamming this bill, Moran made an unbelievably incorrect critique of the logic underpinning Chiusano’s bill:
“They’re spending taxpayers’ money on drugs,” he [Chiusano] maintained of many people on public assistance. “This is common knowledge.”
In fact, it’s not. Much like former President Ronald Reagan’s bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen, statements like that are highly disputed by experts. There’s no evidence that many people on welfare are buying drugs with taxpayer dollars. And they don’t use drugs at a significantly higher rate than the general population, according to the research of Harold Pollack, a professor of public policy at the University of Chicago.
Wrong again, Tom.
A 2000 federal report from the Department of Health and Human Services, titled “Substance Use Among Persons in Families Receiving Government Assistance,” found that “past-month illicit drug use was higher in assisted families than in unassisted families among persons aged 12 to 64.”
A more recent 2009 academic report sheds some doubt on the prevalence of welfare-receipient drug usage, but it still found “that approximately 20 percent of TANF recipients report that they have used an illicit drug at least once in the past year.”
Is Tom Moran entitled to his own opinion? Sure.
Is he entitled to his own facts? No.
Here is Chiusano’s Sparta office number: (973) 300-0200. Give him a call, Tom, and offer an apology!