A friend of mine on facebook "liked" one of the groups or threads or whatever that tied together welfare and drug-users, basically complaining that our tax dollars are subsidizing drug abusers. And that pushed a button--my rant button.
I am no expert on welfare, but I did have to teach about it for several years at Texas Tech, so I did try to find some stuff out along the way. I may not be entirely accurate here, but as I understood it then (and I doubt it has changed much), the single most common event leading someone into poverty and onto welfare is .... divorce. Becoming a single mom is the event most associated with needing some sort of welfare program. One of relatives got a divorce from an exemplar of a deadbeat dad, and she needed help from her state to get by. Food stamps made a difference until she was no longer eligible (I have to say that limit of eligibility was mighty, mighty low) once her deadbeat ex was required to pay child support of around $165 a month. The good news about this low assessment* is that it was small enough not to be missed that much when he didn't pay. Anyhow, so she got food stamps for a while, she got free counseling for her kids, her kids still are on Medicaid, and she has gotten subsidized day care and day camp so that she can continue to work.
Now that she has an hourly job, she is making too much money to get as much assistance from the state. What she could really use would be housing subsidies, but that does not seem to exist, I guess, in her state. She, of course, is also getting assistance from her family (her mother, us), and her deadbeat husband occasionally kicks in the $165 or so that he owes her but not regularly, not monthly. And so far, he has gotten away with that. We may have had a cultural shift in attitudes about deadbeat dads, but the actual enforcement is blunted when counties facing budget problems want to keep their prisons clear of folks who merely default on their financial obligations to their families.
Good times. So, pardon me if I do not really care if some tax dollars make it into the hands of folks who use drugs. I care more that some of this money actually does make it into the hands of single moms (and single dads, too) that have incredible responsibilities, difficult choices, and few options.
* The lesson is not to marry someone who owns their business because they can easily hide/deny their income.