Lawmaker Wants to Drug-Test the Wealthy

If they want generous tax deductions, at least
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2016 3:35 PM CDT
Lawmaker Wants to Drug-Test the Wealthy
Rep. Gwen Moore drafted the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In many states, welfare recipients must submit to drug testing before they can get benefits. A lawmaker from Wisconsin says she wants wealthy Americans to get the same treatment before they can enjoy generous tax deductions, Yahoo News reports. Rep. Gwen Moore's "Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016" would require taxpayers with itemized deductions exceeding $150,000 to submit a clean drug test, according to a press release. If they refuse, they can take the lower standard deduction. "It is my sincere hope that my bill will help eradicate the stigma associated with poverty and engage the American public in a substantive dialogue regarding the struggles of working- and middle-class families," Moor says. According to the congresswomen, per the Guardian, the government spends $81 billion on poverty programs, while taxing capital gains at a lower rate than income costs the government $93 billion.

"We might really save some money by drug-testing folks on Wall Street, who might have a little cocaine before they get their deal done," Moore tells the Guardian. NPR calls her bill an "implicit counterpunch" to welfare drug testing laws backed by Republicans. Some 15 states have passed laws to that require people who receive state welfare benefits to take drug tests. Among them are Florida, Michigan, and Moore's own Wisconsin, which also requires drug tests for people in the federal SNAP food stamp program. (The feds have said that's a no-no.) Supporters say drug testing saves money and acts as an incentive to keep people clean. Critics say drug tests are a cure for a problem that doesn't exist, citing stats from Florida that just 2% of welfare recipients failed drug tests and 2% declined to take the test. (More Gwen Moore stories.)

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