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Dude

Richmond, VA

#83 Feb 21, 2012
CvilleGordo wrote:
<quoted text>
Ok, sorry; I'll lay off the insulting silliness in your case - it's just me flaming for a response.
But let's break down the diminishing returns concept by using some estimated costs and savings. Let's use 1,000 welfare recipients as our test baseline.
Cost of test:$300 (very high, can be much cheaper)
Annual cost of $12/hour equivalent, and using a 40-hour work week (equivalent amount of total benefits, according to Cato Institute) in Virginia per person:$25,000.
Total cost of testing 1,000 persons:$300,000
Total award, 1,000 persons:$25,000,000.
Assume 5% positive results (low) and assume positive results stops all payments (one can dream): annual savings is $25m - 5% or $1,250,000 based on our 1,000 person test.
If your positive results stay the same, your outcome will stay the same per 1,000. If the test scares people away (i.e. they no longer apply) and we have fewer positive results then we save in total outlay of benefits. Concomitantly, if the test scares people straight, literally; we stand to save billions in drug program costs over the long run.
So explain, please anyone; how each additional test would at some theoretical point reach the point of diminishing returns.
No worries, I know what you, huck, and liberalace are all about. I try not to be reactive, it deminishes the debate.

Did you read the links that I provided? Only 2.5-3% came up positive. It's actually costing FLA more than it is saving.

This isn't the first time that FLA tried this program. They dumped it 10 years ago, citing fiscal concerns.

Here is a quote from a local station, and in one of the links that I provided:
Just six weeks after Florida began drug testing welfare applicants, WFTV uncovered numbers which show that the program is already costing Central Florida taxpayers more than it saves. 9 Investigates’ reporter George Spencer found very few applicants are testing positive for drugs. The Department of Central Florida’s (DCF) region tested 40 applicants and only two tested positive for drugs, officials said. One of the tests is being appealed.

Governor Rick Scott said the program would save money. Critics said it already looks like a boondoggle.“We have a diminishing amount of returns for our tax dollars. Do we want out governor throwing our precious tax dollars into a program that has already been proven not to work?” Derek Brett of the ACLU said.

DCF said it has been referring applicants to clinics where drug screenings cost between $30 and $35. The applicant pays for the test and the state reimburses [the applicant] if they test negative. Therefore, the 38 applicants in the Central Florida area, who tested negative, were reimbursed at least $30 each and cost taxpayers $1,140. Meanwhile, the state is saving less than $240 a month by refusing benefits to those two applicants who tested positive.

Take from that what you will.

On the surface, to those who aren't concerned about a Constitutional slippary slope, it seems like a good idea. If you take into account lessons learned from other states, not so much.

I don't think this is the answer for other reasons as well. I'm not saying that I don't think we are in desperate need of welfare reform, but I don't believe this is the way to go about it...

If you've followed my posts, you'll know what's coming next:

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. "~Benjamin Franklin
Dude

Bumpass, VA

#84 Feb 21, 2012
CvilleGordo wrote:
<quoted text>
Ok, sorry; I'll lay off the insulting silliness in your case - it's just me flaming for a response.
But let's break down the diminishing returns concept by using some estimated costs and savings. Let's use 1,000 welfare recipients as our test baseline.
Cost of test:$300 (very high, can be much cheaper)
Annual cost of $12/hour equivalent, and using a 40-hour work week (equivalent amount of total benefits, according to Cato Institute) in Virginia per person:$25,000.
Total cost of testing 1,000 persons:$300,000
Total award, 1,000 persons:$25,000,000.
Assume 5% positive results (low) and assume positive results stops all payments (one can dream): annual savings is $25m - 5% or $1,250,000 based on our 1,000 person test.
If your positive results stay the same, your outcome will stay the same per 1,000. If the test scares people away (i.e. they no longer apply) and we have fewer positive results then we save in total outlay of benefits. Concomitantly, if the test scares people straight, literally; we stand to save billions in drug program costs over the long run.
So explain, please anyone; how each additional test would at some theoretical point reach the point of diminishing returns.
FYI, while I like Cato; I went straight to the US Welfare website:

http://www.welfareinfo.org/payments/

It shows that it's $900/Mo+$500 in food stamps for a family of four and $300/mo+$200 in food stamps per individual. That doesn't quite match the $25,000 per person. I would imagine that other services like medicade or medicare are added in.
heh

Charlottesville, VA

#85 Feb 21, 2012
CvilleGordo

Charlottesville, VA

#86 Feb 21, 2012
Dude wrote:
<quoted text>
FYI, while I like Cato; I went straight to the US Welfare website:
http://www.welfareinfo.org/payments/
It shows that it's $900/Mo+$500 in food stamps for a family of four and $300/mo+$200 in food stamps per individual. That doesn't quite match the $25,000 per person. I would imagine that other services like medicade or medicare are added in.
Yes, Cato's numbers represent total benefits. Most who qualify for food stamps for example have other benefits - food stamps are one of the more difficult to qualify for (based on income restrictions.) By using those totals, I am just extending the drug testing concept to what I see as its logical end: testing for all benefits. You probably see that as a slippery slope, I see it as optimism.

The logic is that if drug testing disqualifies one for need-based welfare benefits, it means anything. But even splitting out SNAP payments, per person, I still don't see the diminishing returns.

Use your figure:$500/year (individual.)

So, cost of testing 1,000 persons:$300,000.
Cost of welfare to 1,000 persons:($500 x 12 months) x 1000 =$6,000,000.

$6m - 5% positive results = savings of $300,000. Wow! I think our drug testing costs are self-maintaining. But realistically, 5% is low; way more than 5% of welfare recipients are gong to test positive for drugs; and then all the other factors I mentioned already come into play. Fewer applicants, lower costs. CLEANER applicants, lower drug-program related costs. One could even dream, perhaps, that a cleaner welfare system might eventually reduce - by some infinitesimal amount - drug demand! Could it be? Nah, probably not, but there is hope.

So again; someone, anyone, make a case for that diminishing returns concept.
CvilleGordo

Charlottesville, VA

#87 Feb 21, 2012
And using the Florida numbers of only $35 per test? Big savings based on 5% positive.(And yes, 2 out of 40 is in fact 5%.) I don't see how valid conclusions can possibly be made based on such small samples though.(2 out of 40? Really?) The next 40 might be 90% positive!
Dude

Bumpass, VA

#88 Feb 21, 2012
CvilleGordo wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, Cato's numbers represent total benefits. Most who qualify for food stamps for example have other benefits - food stamps are one of the more difficult to qualify for (based on income restrictions.) By using those totals, I am just extending the drug testing concept to what I see as its logical end: testing for all benefits. You probably see that as a slippery slope, I see it as optimism.
The logic is that if drug testing disqualifies one for need-based welfare benefits, it means anything. But even splitting out SNAP payments, per person, I still don't see the diminishing returns.
Use your figure:$500/year (individual.)
So, cost of testing 1,000 persons:$300,000.
Cost of welfare to 1,000 persons:($500 x 12 months) x 1000 =$6,000,000.
$6m - 5% positive results = savings of $300,000. Wow! I think our drug testing costs are self-maintaining. But realistically, 5% is low; way more than 5% of welfare recipients are gong to test positive for drugs; and then all the other factors I mentioned already come into play. Fewer applicants, lower costs. CLEANER applicants, lower drug-program related costs. One could even dream, perhaps, that a cleaner welfare system might eventually reduce - by some infinitesimal amount - drug demand! Could it be? Nah, probably not, but there is hope.
So again; someone, anyone, make a case for that diminishing returns concept.
First off it's 2%, so let's refigure

So, cost of testing 1,000 persons:$300,000.

Cost of welfare to 1,000 persons:($500 x 12 months) x 1000 =$6,000,000.

So, cost of testing 1,000 persons:$300,000.
Cost of welfare to 1,000 persons:($500 x 12 months) x 1000 =$6,000,000.

$6m - 2% positive results = savings of $120,000.

So,$300,000-$120,000 = a saving of ($180,000)

Pesky brackets

http://cjonline.com/news/2012-02-17/leaders-w...

Just so you know, again, FLA did this once and scrapped it due to fincancial loss.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Dude

Bumpass, VA

#89 Feb 21, 2012
CvilleGordo wrote:
And using the Florida numbers of only $35 per test? Big savings based on 5% positive.(And yes, 2 out of 40 is in fact 5%.) I don't see how valid conclusions can possibly be made based on such small samples though.(2 out of 40? Really?) The next 40 might be 90% positive!
2%

Of course, you completely ignore the fact that this is another government program that has to be funded, and that it has been done before and scrapped due to financial loss. Never mind the constitutionality of it.
Accountability

Stafford, VA

#90 Feb 21, 2012
How about drug testing for teachers. That is as close as you get to welfare.
buyerbeware

Charlottesville, VA

#91 Feb 22, 2012
Accountability wrote:
How about drug testing for teachers. That is as close as you get to welfare.
It's already done as part of the employment process...

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