by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

Here’s a thought.  If someone wants to get unemployment, they should have to be able to pass a drug test.

Why do I bring this up?  I bring it up because Indiana actually has a worker shortage.  Contrary to what you might think, the Hoosier state does not have enough skilled workers and it’s only going to get worse.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce recently published a study revealing that 45% of employers were leaving positions unfilled because they couldn’t find workers to fill the spot.  And while some of that is lack of skills, a lot of that is individuals not being able to pass a drug test.

This week the Indy’s West Side Chamber of Commerce will hold a job fair with 70 employers.  I wonder how many applicants will be turned down because they can’t pass a drug test?

So here’s one way to address that.   If you want unemployment benefits, you have to agree to random drug testing.  Or if you apply for a job while on unemployment and you fail your drug test, you lose your benefits.

Federal regulations already allow states to tie unemployment benefits to drug testing in certain cases, so there’s no reason why Indiana couldn’t promulgate rules to make that happen.  In fact, there was legislation introduced a few years ago that would have done just that.  However it didn’t pass.  I would assume that because unemployment was much higher lawmakers weren’t too thrilled about creating a barrier to getting benefits.  

However, in a universe where unemployment is not only low, but there’s a worker shortage, there is no reason why we shouldn’t tie these benefits to drug testing.  

If you want to stay home and get high, that’s your right.  But the conservative-libertarian in me says you should do your dime bag on your own dime.

Abdul-Hakim is the editor and publisher of Indy Politics.