Thursday, January 2, 2014

Governor Bryant's Hypocrisy Strikes Again

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Governor Bryant was pressed on his views that poor families which receive benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program should be subjected to a drug test. Notwithstanding the fact that a George W. Bush-appointed judge in Florida recently found such tests to be in violation of the Constitution, Bryant offered a hypocritical argument as to why the state should proceed with such testing.
AP: You mentioned drug testing for TANF recipients. Is there some reason to believe people on the program are disproportionately troubled by drug problems, compared with the rest of the population?
Bryant: “I don't have evidence to indicate that that population would be more likely. What I do have is a great concern that single mothers are not abusing drugs or other substances and try to maintain a family.”
AP: If the public policy concern is to make sure children are being raised in homes where people aren't addicted to drugs, why not test all parents?
Bryant: “I'm not responsible for an individual or his actions unless he violates the law and then we will certainly put into effect the responsibility that we have to enforce the law for substance abuse. But when someone is taking tax dollars I think we have the right to determine whether or not that individual is abusing a substance and then how we go about treating them.”
AP: Why not test corporate leaders whose companies get state tax money? Or why not test public employees, like yourself?
Bryant: “If I was receiving any federal or state benefits to help raise my family, I'd be glad to take a drug test. I think that would be something that would be acceptable to me if I was receiving tax benefits. I work hard for my money. The federal government or the state government has a right, I think, to merely ask people who are receiving benefits through TANF to submit to a drug test so that we can identify if you're abusing a substance and then how we go about treating you for that.”
Something that stands out about this interview is that Bryant does not suggest companies which do business with the state of Mississippi should submit to a drug test. We know Bryant has buddied up with the French to help them store nuclear waste in Mississippi; no doubt is he prepared to ask French businessmen and women to take a drug test should they receive a tax benefit. Additionally, should his plan prevail, we as taxpayers should expect a drug test report from business executives from Yokohama Tire, Nissan, and Toyota thanks to all the tax incentives provided to them. Fair is fair.

Bryant noted that he would be glad to take a drug test if he was receiving state benefits to raise his family. Someone please hand the governor a cup; he has been in state government for nearly 20 years and was a county employee before that. With his government salary and health benefits in hand, he certainly raised his family with the tax dollars of hardworking Mississippians.

In Bryant's mind, his positions in public service does not justify needing to take a drug test. By his own claim, he works hard for his money, suggesting that those who are not our state's governor do not work as hard as he does and should be held to a different set of standards. He must believe that he is the hardest working person in state government and everyone else employed by the state is a mooch. Giving tax incentives to business is fine because it is not a net loss to the state because they will produce more than they cost, yet the poorest among us receiving TANF benefits enjoy no such luxury in Bryant's world.

In yet another example of hypocrisy from Governor Bryant: exceptions for me but not for thee.

1 comment:

Bill Dees said...

If we are going to test TANF recipients because they receive federal benefits, then we should drug and alcohol test rich folks who receive huge federal subsidies for the flood insurance premiums on their waterfront property. If they test positive for alcohol, then we should kick them out of the flood insurance program.