This is brilliant. And to think it came from the folks who made the mess in the first place.
The mess is the buying of our government. I can't believe that Republicans in Texas and Florida have come up with the solution.
That solution: urine samples.
This may take some explaining, because what these politicians really want is for subhuman recipients of food stamps to aim at a Dixie Cup.
The brilliance of this idea was contained in a commentary in the Austin American-Statesman from Republican Arlene Wohlgemuth, former Texas state representative, who wrote, "Requiring people who receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits to be drug-free" will guide them on the straight and narrow path.
Good idea, said a reader of this column, who imagines that other recipients of welfare — corporate welfare — could use said guidance.
"How about the state drug-test the officers and directors of the corporations that receive public largesse like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Major Events Trust Fund?"
I second the motion. Surely people like Wohlgemuth would embrace this for the same reasons why they want to flag welfare mothers' bodily fluids.
And that — testing corporate welfare recipients — takes us to how we bring an end to the pernicious matter of corporations buying government.
For you see, when government subsidizes big business, so do the businesses subsidize people in government. Texans for Public Justice recently found that nearly half the companies awarded $439 million in Texas economic-development funds gave almost $7 million to Gov. Rick Perry's campaign or the Republican Governors Association.
Nice arrangement. Taxpayers pay corporations, which pay the governor to keep his job secure.
OK, you may not see this as nice. You might see it as simple graft. You'd like to see it stopped. Here's how we do it: urine samples.
Remember Newton's third law of political physics:
"For every action in the political sphere, such as a campaign gift or obsequious perk, is an equal reaction, such as the kissing of a contributor's ring finger (or other extremity), followed necessarily by outright taxpayer subsidies."
Knowing this to be a law, we can finally end the problem.
In addition to requiring drug tests of industrial welfare queens who get something from government, we require a drug test from everyone who donates to a politician expecting something. Every time. And we require a drug test for every lawmaker who receives these gifts. Every time.
This is going to work.
Understand, great endeavors begin with small steps. In Florida, testing of welfare recipients detected drugs in only 2.6 percent of them. Hey, it's all dollars and humiliation well spent, say Sunshine State policy makers.
Texas knows where they're coming from. Though it has cut back on virtually every other school endeavor, it has spent millions testing prep athletes for steroids. It has caught almost enough violators to field a six-man team.
Texas loves tests, whether they be in a cup or in the oppressively standardized minds of Pearson Education Inc. (another big political contributor).
Some will say that testing Pearson corporate officers for drugs is counterproductive, since they always show up for work, and you can't say the same always about recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
All we are saying is, give drug testing a chance — to prove its worth on the political corruption front.
A donor will think twice if when buying a politician he has to spill evidence of what was fueling his system the night before. The same for a politician who accepts his gifts. And anyway, as Wohlgemuth appeals, don't we want our elected officials and their lobbying benefactors showing up sober for work every time the gavel sounds?
She observes that the Texas Motor Transportation Association supports drug tests for drivers.
"If you want to get a job driving trucks in Texas, you can. But you have to pass a drug test first," she wrote.
My thoughts exactly. That's why we must start drug-testing political donors and those who accept their gifts.
We don't want elected officials driving our government under the influence.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org