Priceless Politics

Among the many rationales used to defend the welfare state, the most powerful is that it is necessary, in order to take care of the poor and the downtrodden. But the amount of money required to bring every poor person in the country above the official poverty line is a fraction of what is spent by government on the welfare state.

Put bluntly, the poor are in effect being used as human shields in the political wars over government spending, which extends far beyond anyone who could even plausibly be called poor.

Politicians will spend money wherever that is likely to increase their chances of getting re-elected. Of all the things that governments spend money on, none is further removed from fighting poverty than municipal golf courses.

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