Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) is not here for drug testing those on welfare as a means of withholding benefits from vulnerable communities. So she is flipping the script and has introduced a new bill that would require the “one percenters” to be subjected to drug tests if they want to continue getting tax breaks through the IRS.
According to Think Progress, Moore’s “Top 1% Accountability Act” would require anyone claiming itemized tax deductions of over $150,000 in a given year to submit a clean drug test. If a filer doesn’t submit a clean test within three months of filing, they can say goodbye to their lofty tax deductions such as their mortgage interest deduction or health insurance tax breaks. Instead, they would have to make use of the standard deduction, the website noted.
For Moore, this is all about calling out the unfair double standard that the poorest Americans are subjected to.
“On the one hand, poor people…are entitled to things like Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps),” she said. “People who take tax deductions and particularly those in the top one percent…are not entitled to anything.” But they still benefit from a large pot of government money. The government loses about $900 billion in revenue to tax expenditures every year, which mostly flow to the wealthy.
She also stresses that when it comes to drug addiction, “there are no boundaries with regard to class or race.”
“If these poor people who are entitled to SNAP for survival are required to be drug tested, then certainly those people who claim $150,000 or more in tax deductions should be subjected to the same in order to receive this benefit from the government,” she added.
It’s also important to point out that Moore understands what it means to have to depend on benefits.
“I am a former welfare recipient,” she explained. “I’ve used food stamps, I’ve received Aid for Families with Dependent Children, Medicaid, Head Start for my kids, Title XX daycare (subsidies). I’m truly grateful for the social safety net.”
Moore isn’t alone. Millions in this country – mostly White folks – have needed this safety net to put food on their table and raise their families. But thanks to President Reagan and the “welfare queen” stereotype, there has been a persistent belief that people, especially African-Americans, on public assistance are “lazy” drug addicts who want to “milk” the system, which over the years, studies and reports have proven that just isn’t true. But that hasn’t stopped ten states from forcing applicants of their cash welfare programs to undergo a drug test, Think Progress noted.
Time will tell if Moore’s ingenious bill will pass, but even if it doesn’t, it has helped call out the racial and classism hypocrisy around who is allowed to use drugs and who isn’t.
“I would love to see some hedge fund manager on Wall Street who might be sniffing a little cocaine here and there to stay awake realize that he can’t get his $150,000 worth of deductions unless he submits to a drug test,” concluded Moore.
We would, too.
SOURCE: Think Progress | PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter, Getty