However, seven states who implemented drug testing for tax benefit program recipients spent $1m on drug testing from the inception of their programs through 2014. But the average rate of drug use among those recipients has been far below the national average – around 1% overall, compared with 9.4% in the general population – meaning there’s been little cost savings from the drug testing program. Why? “Probably because they can’t afford it,” say Moore.
“We might really save some money by drug-testing folks on Wall Street, who might have a little cocaine before they get their deal done,” she said, and proposes a bill requiring tests for returns with itemized deductions of more than $150,000.
“We spend $81bn on everything – everything – that you could consider a poverty program,” she explained. But just by taxing capital gains at a lower rate than other income, a bit of the tax code far more likely to benefit the rich than the poor, “that’s a $93bn expenditure. Just capital gains,” she added. Why not drug-test the rich to ensure they won't waste their tax benefits?
She is “sick and tired of the criminalization of poverty”. And, she added: “We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off Snap. But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.”