March 27, 2007

Hoist by their own petard

A minister says (reports the FT, in a piece not indexed on its website) that benefits will never lift a lone parent and two children above 60% of median earnings.

It's important there are incentives for people to stop relying on benefits and get into work.

The government's problem is their definition of poverty, which is 60% of median income. Hence the minister is saying that benefits alone will not lift families out of poverty. So these sensible comments were "greeted with consternation by anti-poverty campaigners".

These woolly do gooders should say what they mean by "poverty" and explain how working taxpayers will pay for their policies.

If you define poverty as a percentage of others' income, rather than an absolute level, then indeed the poor will always be with us and anti-"poverty" campaigners can be comfortably assured of a cause that will never disappear.

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