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23 June 1998
1998 Ron Paul 63:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3853, The Drug-Free Workplace Act. Certainly there are many things the Federal Government can do to minimize the negative impact illicit drug users have upon society. Further expanding a philosophically bankrupt national drug war policy with the creation of yet another costly federally-funded program is not the answer.
1998 Ron Paul 63:2
Specifically, this bill authorizes $10 million in fiscal year 1999 thus further shifting the cost burden from the irresponsible drug user to the taxpayer. Allowing the cost of drug use to fall on the irresponsible drug user rather than allowing that user to socialize his or her costs upon the innocent taxpayer would be a worthwhile step in the right direction. The dangerous socialization of costs is a consequence of various Federal actions.
1998 Ron Paul 63:3
A Federal Government which reduces the cost of drug use by supplying free needles is one example. But this practice is but a minor example of exactly how the Federal Government has made matters worse by lowering the costs and encouraging the expansion of risky behavior. We must, once and for all, expose the fallacy that problems can be solved simply by cost spreading — in other words, that all risky behavior should be socialized by the government. A Federal Government that accepts responsibility for paying the rehabilitation costs and medical costs of its citizens who act irresponsibly is certain to do only one thing — increase the number of those who engage in such behavior.
1998 Ron Paul 63:4
If we lower the cost of anything, we necessarily increase the incidence. But this is not only true when we are dealing with drugs. It has to do with cigarettes, alcohol, and all risky behavior. The whole tobacco legislation controversy is the natural consequence of the same flawed policy. That is, because government must pay the health costs of people who get sick from dangerous behavior with cigarettes, government must also regulate the tobacco companies and deprive all citizens of liberties which may at times involve risky behavior. Once the taxpayer is called upon to pay, costs skyrocket.
1998 Ron Paul 63:5
Moreover, the Federal Government further makes matters worse by imposing employment regulations which make it difficult to terminate employees who engage in drug or alcohol abuse. Such a regulatory regime further socializes the costs of irresponsibility upon innocents by forcing employers to continue to pay the salaries and/or health benefits of unsavory employees during rehabilitation periods.
1998 Ron Paul 63:6
Private employers should already be free to require drug testing as a condition or term of employment. This legislation, however, unnecessarily brings the Federal Government into this process. The threat of liability law suits will dictate that drug testing will be prevalent in jobs where abstinence from drug use is most critical. However, setting up taxpayer-funded federal programs here are not only unnecessary but ill-advised. The newspapers are replete with examples of various lawsuits filed as a consequence of false positives resulting from both scientific and human errors. This legislation involves the Federal Government so far as to require drug testing be completed by only a few government-favored drug testers. This bill also requires those small businesses who participate to mandatorily test employees for drug and alcohol abuse. This proposition treads dangerously on grounds violative of the fourth amendment. While the bill of rights is a limitation upon actions by the Federal Government, it does not restrict the voluntary actions of private employers and their employees. The case becomes far less clear when the Federal Government involves itself in what should simply be a matter of private contract. In fact, government involvement may actually constitute a hindrance upon employers ability to adequately test those employees for whom they feel testing may be a necessary job component.
1998 Ron Paul 63:7
It should never go unnoticed that, as is so often the case in this Congress, constitutional authority is lacking for the further expansion of the Federal Government into the realm of small business and the means by which they hire reliable employees. The Report on H.R. 3583 cites Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 as the Constitutional authority. This clause reads To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Office thereof (emphasis added). The authority cited requires a foregoing Power which not only is missing from the authority cited for this bill but in my close examination of Article I, Section 8, simply seems not to exist.
1998 Ron Paul 63:1 federally-funded probably should not be hyphenated: federally funded.
1998 Ron Paul 63:6 However, setting up taxpayer-funded federal programs here are not only unnecessary but ill-advised. probably should be, However, setting up taxpayer-funded federal programs here is not only unnecessary but ill-advised.
1998 Ron Paul 63:6 fourth amendment probably should be capitalized: Fourth Amendment.
1998 Ron Paul 63:6 bill of rights probably should be capitalized, Bill of Rights.
1998 Ron Paul 63:6 a hindrance upon employers ability probably should have an apostrophe: a hindrance upon employers ability.
1998 Ron Paul 63:7 The Report on H.R. 3583 cites Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 as the Constitutional authority. This clause reads “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Office thereof” (emphasis added). There is no emphasis on any part of this text in the Congressional Record.