"So there is, as far as I can tell, no constitutional protection against requiring drug screening for welfare eligibility."
Consider this regarding the protection against unreasonable searches.
That article tells me two things:
- Blanket drug screening may be considered unconstitutional (it has not reached the US Supreme Court)
- It's not cost effective in saving money, or reducing the purchase of illegal drugs.
I still think the best solution is to just legalize the drugs in the first place. Then I don't care if they use welfare money to buy them, just like they might with cigarettes or alcohol. Then we don't have to worry about passing these laws to begin with.
"If it were up to me, welfare recipients would be required to do X hours of community service per week..."
Punishing welfare recipients with community services in addition to their workday (some hold two or more jobs), before showing probable cause is in violation of the Constitution, as well, and costs more than the return.
If someone reports an income to the IRS and is on welfare, then I would say they should not be doing community service. If they are on long term or short term disability, they should not be required to do anything either. If they are physically capable of working, and are just hanging out collecting a welfare check then they might as well make their neighborhood look nicer. Instead of welfare we can just call it a JOB. If they have kids to take care of, we can hire some licensed child care providers to help them with the kids while they do their work. In this case it has nothing to do with saving money, but in building peoples self respect and appreciation for their community. I would rather spend extra money and have these people do something with their lives, even if its pick up trash on the side of the road, than to sit at home playing WoW all day. And yes, I knew a family on welfare that had two parents capable of working that just played WoW all day. I'm not saying that they are the typical welfare recipient, but I do know that these people did not respect themselves.