The latest Republican attack on the lower and middle class is the ugliest and most degrading one yet, hoping to justify low wages for everybody not lovably wealthy.
First, you have to believe the poor and middle class aren't interested in showing up for work every day. And they wonder why they’re getting minimum wages.
Second, you have to believe their drug habit is keeping them from getting a higher wage job.
Enter Scott Walker, who’s running for president on these two important divide and conquer points, highlighted below:
Governor Scott Walker: “As I traveled my state, I hear employers, small business owners say, overwhelming: ‘We have jobs. We just need workers. And we need two things: people who know how to show up every day for work, five days a week, and gimme someone who can pass a drug test.'”
But I challenge anyone who believes this, to rationalize away the the example below, which is a typical situation for most low income workers:
For Wisconsin workers who currently depend on public assistance, like 21-year-old Milwaukee waitress Peyton Smith, the burden of the law would be much more personal.
“For [Governor Walker] to put another barrier in front of us is like saying we’re guilty, but we’re not guilty,” Smith told ThinkProgress. “It’s already hard to go down there and file for government assistance. We have to report in every day, fill out papers. Now I have to take the time out of my busy schedule to take a drug test? Come on!”
Smith, who has a three-year-old daughter and another baby due soon, works about 20 hours a week at Denny’s — though she has repeatedly requested full-time employment. Because it’s a tipped job, she makes just $2.33 an hour, and currently relies on food stamps to feed her family.
“I’m willing to work. I’m not lazy at all,” she said. “But the jobs we can get are horrible, low pay, and we can’t get the hours we need. As a parent, it just sucks. I want things that are healthy for her, but the fruits and vegetables she needs to grow as young child are expensive.”
Jennifer Epps-Addison with Wisconsin Jobs Now ... accused the Governor of “stigmatizing the hardest working people in our economy. "There were times even I couldn’t navigate the process, as a law student with a college degree. The system is set up to disempower people and make them frustrated enough to give up before receiving the help they need.”
Courts have ruled that similar mandatory drug testing programs imposed by other states and the federal government were unconstitutional.