@jacindaardern the role of drug addiction in poverty and unemployment

Jacinda Adern does have a point that the Prime Minister overplayed the role of drug dependency in child poverty, but he is not completely off the mark. A whole bunch of self-destructive behaviours play a role in family poverty.

Source: Minister of Social Development Cabinet Paper on Pre-employment Drug Testing Requirements.

Too many children have irresponsible parents. Caplan along with Charles Murray point out that a number of pathologies are particularly prevalent among poor:

  1. alcoholism: Alcohol costs money, interferes with your ability to work, and leads to expensive reckless behaviour.
  2. drug addiction: Like alcohol, but more expensive, and likely to eventually lead to legal troubles you’re too poor to buy your way out of.
  3. single parenthood: Raising a child takes a lot of effort and a lot of money.  One poor person rarely has enough resources to comfortably provide this combination of effort and money.
  4. unprotected sex: Unprotected sex quickly leads to single parenthood.  See above.
  5. dropping out of high school: High school drop-outs earn much lower wages than graduates.  Kids from rich families may be able to afford this sacrifice, but kids from poor families can’t.
  6. being single: Getting married lets couples avoid a lot of wasteful duplication of household expenses.  These savings may not mean much to the rich, but they make a huge difference for the poor.
  7. non-remunerative crime: Drunk driving and bar fights don’t pay.  In fact, they have high expected medical and legal expenses.  The rich might be able to afford these costs.  The poor can’t.

Caplan is disputing that healthy adults who are poor are victims. That is central to the poverty is not a choice movement: the poor are victims.

The New Zealand experience with work testing of beneficiaries for drugs is most of them quickly stopped using dope. Many jobs have tests for drug-taking.

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