Thursday, June 06, 2013

Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity Off in Conspiracy Theory Land

The state of Florida was caught denying the unemployed benefits. First it was with the drug test that would not save the state money as Gov. Rick Scott claimed. U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven found that Florida making people take drug tests, in order to receive unemployment compensation, does not save the state money.

And about that arithmetic: "These 'non-testers' cannot be reasonably counted as providing twelve months of savings, or so-called 'annualized savings,' because they are otherwise eligible and can begin receiving benefits at any point during the year by submitting a new application and a negative drug test," Scriven wrote. "Even as to those 2 percent of applicants who are known drug users, 'annualized savings' calculations inflate the claimed savings because those applicants do not have to forego an entire year of TANF assistance but may reapply after 6 months."

Scriven concluded the state "has not demonstrated any financial benefit or net savings will accrue as a result" of the law.

In April of last year, the Miami Herald found that the state was losing money because the vast majority of unemployed were passing the drug tests.

The numbers, confirming previous estimates, show that taxpayers spent $118,140 to reimburse people for drug test costs, at an average of $35 per screening.

The state’s net loss? $45,780.

We now see the state's new online testing system. It is not required the you pass the online test of 45 math and reading questions. However, you must take the test to receive unemployment benefits. This is nothing more than creating red tape for the unemployed. If you have a disability or speak Spanish then forget about passing this test.

The new system, it found, was nearly impossible for people with disabilities or limited English skills to navigate. Testers discovered that while the state claimed to have a multilingual telephone hotline to help people who couldn't figure out the online process, virtually no one could get through to a live person—and when they did, they couldn't get an interpreter. Calls were frequently disconnected after playing a recorded message telling people to apply for benefits online. Despite a requirement that the phone line provide a message to people in their native language, testers who selected "Spanish" still got a message in English. One tester speaking Punjabi was told by a hotline operator, "I don't speak gibberish, so call when you learn English."

The Dpartment of Labor rightly cited Florida for violating the civil rights of the unemployment. Scott has the state's Department of Economic Opportunity claiming that the Department of Labor is only picking on Florida out of political bias.

"Rather than serve as a neutral arbiter," DEO wrote in a letter to federal lawmakers, "USDOL appears to have collaborated" with the complainants "to reach a predetermined result."

The DEO is claiming the the Department of Labor has gotten into black helicopters with the unemployed to hatch a conspiracy. The evidence the DEO is citing is an online bio of a Department of Labor employee.

And it accused an official with the Labor Department's Civil Rights Center of political bias, citing a biography posted on a website unrelated to labor issues or government work. The bio, which appears to have been written in 2005, identifies the official as a website contributor.

It says, "In her paying job, she's an attorney working underground (read: within the system) to keep the evil overseers of the Bush administration from dismantling U.S. federal civil rights laws."

"In other words," DEO concludes, the official has acknowledged "she brings a political and ideological agenda to her civil-rights enforcement role in the federal government."

The DEO is going to get laughed out of court. I hope the DEO can come back from their trip in Alex Jones Land soon.

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