Gwen Moore
Press Release

New House Bill Drug Tests Wealthy Americans

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) introduced the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016.

By - Jun 16th, 2016 03:24 pm

In the wake of several nationwide efforts by Republicans to drug test social welfare recipients, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) introduced the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016, requiring drug testing for all tax filers claiming itemized deductions in any year over $150,000.

Today, Congresswoman Moore released the following statement:

“As a strong advocate for social programs aimed at combating poverty, it deeply offends me that there is such a deep stigma surrounding those who depend on government benefits, especially as a former welfare recipient. Sadly, Republicans across the country continue to implement discriminatory policies that criminalize the less fortunate and perpetuate false narratives about the most vulnerable among us. These laws serve only one purpose: stoking the most extreme sentiments and misguided notions of the conservative movement.

“Such baseless attacks against the poor inspired me to draft the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016. My legislation would require taxpayers with itemized deductions of more than $150,000 to submit to the IRS a clear drug test, or take the much lower standard deduction when filing their taxes. 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.

“As I’ve said time and time again, the notion that those battling poverty are somehow more susceptible to substance abuse is as absurd as it is offensive. If anything, our nation’s opioid crisis continues to underscore how substance addiction knows no social, racial, or economic distinctions. The time has come to stop vilifying vulnerable American families for being poor and start focusing on the policies that will help create an economy that works for everyone.”

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20 thoughts on “New House Bill Drug Tests Wealthy Americans”

  1. The American culture of legal and other drugs is the main stay of our society. We recognize this in all levels of our society and professions. To change this culture will require the morals and values of families and laws with rehabilitation activities to facilitate a cultural shift for recognizing drugs have a negative impact for the individual, family, friends and community.
    Presently this is not clear in our society reviewing various states legally selling marijuana and other products such as vapor cigarettes and increasing the legal drug distribution outlets with health professionals.
    America is deemed as having the best health care facilities in the world.
    Amazing how America is advancing as one of the largest consumers of drugs and asking why health care costs are rising?
    The economics should be clearly showing the costs in human fatalities and maintance.
    The American laws should be reviewing an interesting quote displayed on a plaque at Harvard Law School.
    “Reasonable doubt at a reasonable cost.”
    Perhaps the Charles Darwin laws will soon become the main saying “The strongest survive”
    America’s future of upholding it’s values and core beliefs for evolving as an advancing civilization are being challanged.
    The Statue of Liberty maybe replaced with a new model.
    Perhaps when it may cost too much to maintain or restore. American comminities see other aspects of our country are challanged to be torn down, sold, and managed by other organizations and countries. We see this with park systems, water ways and other American exosystems we recognize as valuable up to a point.
    Let us start reviewing “Reasonable doubt at a reasonable cost.” More effectively and it’s long range implications.
    America wants to advance as the best civilization.
    Review the 3rd annual White House k-12 student film contest for making a better America.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/filmfest
    Due 7-15-2016
    Review the past contests to recognize there is only hope and desire to make a better America . No doubts.
    Share the future aspirations and let’s create an advancing civilization .
    Enjoy the 4 th.

  2. AG says:

    The assumption is not that all poor are doing drugs, the assumption they have is that if you’re doing drugs you likely will not be able to get off assistance. The left is always assuming the nefarious…

  3. WashCoRepub says:

    Always nice to read that Ms. Moore and her staff are hard at work on things that make a positive difference in the lives of her constituents.

  4. Donald George MacDonald says:

    “Gov. Scott Walker’s health secretary sued federal officials Tuesday in an attempt to allow the state to screen people with drug tests if they seek food stamps.”

    Governor Walker, I receive a pension as a retired State of Wisconsin Probation and Parole Agent and Corrections Field Supervisor. Do you plan to also require me, and others like me, to report and submit our urine for testing to determine whether we do, or to prove innocence if we do not, use illegal drugs? Do you plan to then take away my State of Wisconsin pension if I would test positive for marijuana?

    Governor Walker, I am over 65 years young and also receive Social Security and Medicare. If you are ever elected President of the United States, do you plan to also require me, and others like me, to report and submit our urine for testing to determine whether we do, or prove innocence if we do not, use illegal drugs? Do you plan to then take away my Social Security and Medicare if I would test positive for marijuana?

    Governor Walker, I sincerely invite you to visit me in our home in Milwaukee! You could take your tie off and we could sit back and discuss this issue and talk about much more. I’m sure we would get along very well although Michelle, my wife, would have to be temporarily locked in the trunk of our car parked in our detached garage.

    Governor Walker, I invite you to visit with me here at my favorite time…just before sunset when I like to sit in my living room and listen to the quiet and I see light starting to angle inside and I feel cool breezes that carry the music of summertime birds into to my open windows…into my open room. We could sit quietly, warmly remembering yesterdays and visualizing what we could gain tomorrow.

    You, Governor Walker, you would have to be here and dream with me to know just what I mean.

  5. Donald George MacDonald says:

    Coffee drinkers need help to try to feel more perky, instantly or slow-brewed, once again this morning.

    Tobacco smokers need help to try to feel more calm when the last fix subsides, hovering around office buildings on breaks and lunches, forming gauntlets of black-lung worshipers forcing death-smoke on others to breathe, once again this day.

    Alcohol drinkers need help to try to feel more social and smart as they suck their “dumb drug” into hard, pale livers and brains, stubbornly refusing to be weaned from mother’s milk as they drive their drunken death machines home, once again this night.

    Cocaine users need help to try to feel more thrilling and the rush of mover and shaker power pretended, only to return to the great depression of pushing the bolder back up the hill, once again tomorrow.

    Psilocybin mushroom searchers need help to try to feel more glowing, mystic visions as shortcuts to discover themselves and merge with their God and with everyone and with everything, everywhere, once again tomorrow.

    Opium users need help to try to feel more numb inside and roll into a fetus to silently relive the floating warmth of the womb, only for the rush to descend downward, into the void of desperate darkness once again alone, once again tomorrow.

    Marijuana smokers need help to try to feel more relaxed, creative, flowing thoughts and internal words and imagery, warmly remembering yesterdays and visualizing what we will gain once again today and tomorrow.

    ***

    Much drug use is public and much is private.

    Much drug use is encouraged and much is discouraged.

    Much drug use is legal and much is illegal.

    Many drug users are in our prisons, but many others may be any one of us who need help to try to feel more, or maybe to kill the pain more, once again today and tomorrow.

  6. happyjack27 says:

    This made slashdot.org – a big bottom-up news site for geeks. Their article was much more discursive.

    a brief summary of the format of slashdot articles – they’re usually a summarizing synthesis of a couple of related articles.

    slashdot summary: https://politics.slashdot.org/story/16/06/17/0431258/lets-drug-test-the-rich-before-approving-tax-deductions-says-us-congresswoman

    source1: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/02/26/3624447/tanf-drug-testing-states/

    source2: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/16/gwen-moore-drug-test-rich-for-tax-deductions

    if you read the summary and look into those sources, you’ll see that while gwen’s statement is certainly not without a big satirical element, it does actually make more financial sense to do that then what we’re doing now. as the saying goes: “it’s funny because it’s true.”

  7. M says:

    Gwen Moore matched absurdity with absurdity. However, some folks promote wasteful drug testing, in part because there is money to be made.

    Wisconsin’s drug-testing scam does not look quite as sleazy as Florida did when Gov. Scott stood to gain big bucks for his medical supply company, a source for the drug testing he signed into law. The drug testing revealed usage at lower rates than the public at large.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/gov-rick-scott-solantic-and-conflict-of-interest-whats-the-deal/1161158

    Some people think that if someone can get rich on the taxpayers’ dime (even if it’s a guv who’s company earlier paid huge fines for scamming Medicaid), then that’s just fine, especially if it shames and hassles poor people.

    We could use more funding for people trying to beat addiction, not for wasteful drug testing. Of course, the latest drug epidemic is opioid abuse in the suburbs. And alcohol is still the top drug of choice, especially in hard-drinking Wisconsin.

  8. AG says:

    M said “The drug testing revealed usage at lower rates than the public at large.”

    No, it showed that the rate of people dumb enough to go along with the testing even though they used drugs was at a rate lower then general drug use. Most people who know they’d fail the test just walk away.

  9. happyjack27 says:

    AG, So you’re suggesting that drug users who are poor are smarter than the average drug user?

    (since by your logic, the average rate of people dumb enough to go along with the test when they’d fail was 9x higher for the general case than for the poor people)

  10. AG says:

    No, I’m saying that the statement that “drug use is lower” is not accurate (or at least can not be proven based on the findings) because those who knowingly would fail the test tend to decide not to take it. When the positive test figures are given by those who oppose the testing, they leave out the fact that many people opt out of the test. That skews the data to make it appear there is lower drug use than the “average” population. I hope you knew that and were just being difficult.

  11. happyjack27 says:

    And this “opt out” effect only applies to poor people, and not the “average” population?

    It seems to me like the poor people have more incentive to risk a potential positive result than the “average” population does. After all, the “average” person doesn’t have their welfare check on the line.

    So by this consideration, the numbers for the “average” population is probably underestimated. So instead of 1:9 ratio it’s probably more like a 1:18 ratio.

  12. AG says:

    Seriously? Is this really your argument?

    Drug use estimates for the general population are not based on the number of random drug tests that come up positive.

  13. happyjack27 says:

    You’re right, poor people probably don’t want their food stamps.

  14. Vincent Hanna says:

    If drugs are a scourge and prevent people from being their truest and best self, let’s drug test everyone, for the benefit of society.

  15. BT says:

    This is a great example of yet another pol wrapped up in the left vs right paradigm (and YES, many on the right can be guilty of this too, although I think I see many more examples from the left, where they take it to extremes like this) where someone on either side just ASSUMES that ANYONE who’s showing one or some views from a left or right wing POV then MUST be all in on every last left/right POV, even far right/far left POVs and of course, they’re all just a bunch of mindless robots who’ll fall for anything promoted by their “programmers”.

    Now, while I have many right wing views, I’m still solidly pro choice (don’t want to see us go back to barbaric conditions for women who are in an awful spot and don’t have the $$$ to fly to another country for an abortion, but hope by promoting personal responsibility we can get the abortion #s eventually down to near zero) supported same sex marriage long before Pres Obama said he did, so I don’t fall into the assumed right vs left crap and I’ve got many problems not with the CONCEPT of requiring drug tests (hey you’re getting a handout and we’ve got WAY too many people who now live off of what was supposed to be a temporary safety net for those truly in need and we’re nearly $20 TRILLION in debt already, plus YOU CAN’T GET ALMOST ANY JOB IF YOU USE ANY ILLEGAL DRUGS, SO THEY’LL NEVER GET THAT JOB!) but I’ve got issues with the amount of cost and logistics of carrying this out, we already know the gov’t is the most inefficient mess to handle anything, it will be a likely disaster!

    What the hell is this all about though? Nothing! It makes no sense whatsoever and she’s so clueless, SHE’S TALKING ABOUT THE TOP 1%, WHO’S INCOME IS AROUND $400K+ YET SHE SAYS OVER $150K FOR TESTING? DO YOUR MATH AND RESEARCH BEFORE INTRODUCING YOUR ALREADY STUPID BILL! Over $400k, guess what, most of those deductions are already phased out, but I’m not surprised Rep Moore or whichever clueless staffer banged out this stupid idea!

  16. happyjack27 says:

    But BT, as AG points out, you can just “opt out” of the drug test.

  17. M says:

    Drug testing of poor people is just a colossal waste of tax dollars. It’s a hoop for some people to jump just to get food. Should people who smoke pot or battle opioid addiction not be given food? Especially if there’s little money for drug programs as well?

    It’s just another shaming tactic, and we have plenty in place already. The only ones it helps are medical companies selling the tests.

  18. Gary says:

    I was amazed to learn from reliable sources how for years drugs have flowed freely among the students of Milwaukee’s venerable and highly distinguished University School. So you should also check the kids of the 1% as well. But charge the parents anyway.

  19. AG says:

    Those who fail the drug test must comply with substance abuse treatment and a job skills assessment to remain eligible for benefits. They aren’t cut off from benefits, they are placed in a program to get them help and help get them employable.

  20. happyjack27 says:

    “Those who fail the drug test must comply with substance abuse treatment and a job skills assessment to remain eligible for benefits. They aren’t cut off from benefits, they are placed in a program to get them help and help get them employable.”

    Oh in that case, I can TOTALLY see why they would want to avoid that.

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