I consider myself liberal, but when I read this Ezra Klein pass-on of a Timothy Noah column, I seem to have a conservative knee-jerk reaction. The issue is a Republican proposal to allow states to require a drug test for and enrollment in a GED program for recipients of unemployment insurance.
Noah sees them this way: "Their purpose is to make people who receive unemployment benefits
understand that they are losers, and must be stigmatized and harrassed
[sic] until they prove themselves worthy."
Whatever the motives of the Republicans who are pushing them, and I suspect them, my bottom line is I've got no problem in requiring the recipient of taxpayer dollars (technically it's "insurance", not taxes, but it's using the authority of the government) to do something. In my dream world I'd encourage those who don't have a job and don't have a high school diploma and have time on their hands (i.e., no pre-school kids) to work on their GED. And I'd have no problem with a drug test, provided there's a program available to help those who are using drugs. So I could buy a deal where the Republicans extended unemployment insurance payments and paired it with a drug testing/treatment program and a GED training program. Of course, the Republicans I assume are including the requirements without the programs.