Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welfare state insanity

If this Washington Post article is any indication, the welfare state in the UK is completely run amok. Apparently for years the government has been providing literally thousands of dollars per month worth of rent subsidies -- in one case over $10,000 per month -- so that the poor can live in posh neighborhoods. Given the inconvenient fact that the UK government is running out of money (something our own politicians have been pretty adept at ignoring), the brakes are now being placed on this nonsense. Naturally, those receiving the money are aggrieved, bemoaning the fact  that economic reality will now dictate where they can live. Welcome to the rest of the world.  

Be sure to check out the accompaning photo essay profiling a "struggling artist" who receives $2,800 in rent assistance per month, and complains that its reduction (to over $2,100) will force her to move. Meanwhile, based on the photo essay she still has no problem affording two children, tattoos, hair coloring (green, natch) that may involve a trip to the salon, and stops at the coffee shop.

Also note that the article, while highlighting at least two families impacted by the cutbacks in an effort to humanize the story, fails to quote any UK taxpayers who help pay for this absurd arrangement. Another unexplored topic is exactly why rents in London are so expensive, which is in large part due to government building restrictions that reduce housing supply (note the relative dearth of tall buildings despite the huge demand for housing in this picture of the London skyline).

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