George Osborne has not just been bashing the rich, he has also had a go at the poor. Another of the cuts revealed at the Tory Party Conference was a decision that no-one should receive benefits worth more than the average wage - this is about $40,000 a year. It would be unfair - it is unfair - that someone earning $40,000 a year should be paying taxes to fund a non-worker living on payouts worth more than this.
Another outcry - what about the children?
The biggest element of the benefit culture is housing benefit. This is to be capped at a maximum of $750 a month.
One of the daytime TV programs that I watch (along with all the old detectives) is 'Homes under the Hammer' The format is the same every day. Three homes are bought at auction and we then get feedback on what has happened to them. What is remarkable is how run down property is transformed in a few weeks. Typically, a Victorian terraced house that sells for $150,000 will have $30,000 spent on it and come out as a luxury home with UPVC double glazed windows, gas-fired central heating, new kitchen and bathroom, totally redecorated and carpeted and worth $230,000. What amazes me is that they can command a rental income of $750 a month. That is a 5% return on investment when the banks are paying 1%. Some people are managing 14% return. Why isn't everybody doing it?
However, when it comes to central London we are talking about several hundred dollars a week. On family of Somali immigrants with 7 children were placed in a mansion in St John's Wood near Lord's Cricket Ground at $2000 a week. They complained that their previous accommodation was in a poor area. Yes, I know this is the Daily Mail's worst example, but the principle is that unemployed people on benefits are currently living in very expensive areas, while people who work in central London are facing 2-3 hours of commuting because housing in unavailable near their work.
There is no reason not to be unemployed in Doncaster if you are going to be unemployed in central London. A couple of years ago you could buy a whole street in Doncaster for a quarter of a million dollars. Because there was no demand the houses were pulled down. Instead some of these property developers could refurbish houses for Somali immigrants and the indolent poor.
William Booth talked about the deserving and the undeserving poor. The Bible says, "He who will not work; neither shall he eat." We ought to be talking about responsibility not what we deserve. As a Calvinist I can see that we deserve punishment. Grace spares us that and modern society is very gracious. But benefit recipients are taking the mickey.
They protest that they are not being allowed to have as many children as they like; that it's just like the Chinese one-child policy. As far as I am concerned they can have as many children as they like. But not on my dollar.