The national economy has been on a roller coaster ever since the financial crisis of 2008, and while there has been some progress, many states are still struggling.
Despite Republican opposition in congress and a historic use of the filibuster, President Obama has been able to pass enough of his plans to get the economy moving in the right direction, though slower than anyone would like. The national unemployment rate is 7.6 percent, the lowest rate in over four years, but the reason for the lower rate is mixed. The private sector has added jobs for 37 straight months, but with many people dropping out of the workforce and spending cuts hurting public sector jobs, the economy is at a stand still.
One state that is floundering in their economy is Pennsylvania. The state unemployment rate is 7.9 percent, slightly higher than the national average, but private employment has been stagnant for over a year and over 14,000 jobs were lost in March alone. Fingers of blame can be pointed in many directions, but Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has a controversial explanation for the lack of job growth in his state. Appearing on a local radio show, Gov. Corbett blamed drug use for businesses not hiring.
Corbett: The other area is, there are many employers that say we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them. And that’s a concern for me because we’re having a serious problem with that.
Corbett is following the Republican party line of using drug use as an excuse, not just for lack of businesses hiring, but also for cutting government programs. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) implemented drug testing for unemployment benefits in 2011, resulting in only 2 percent of unemployment recipients failing, costing Florida taxpayers millions of dollars.
Following the Florida lead, a bill was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania State Senate that would require a drug test to receive assistance from the “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” program.