But the money given to the poor is supposed to serve a certain purpose—that is, to allow them to stay alive. Even Beveridge maintained that benefits should only be at a "subsistance level".
If there is a social contract, it is that those of us who work agree to be taxed to ensure that those who have no work are not lying about, starving in the streets. This is a cost of living in a society, and it also answers the demands of basic humanity.
But the money does not belong to the poor to do what they want with it, it is not provided to give them "choices": it is there for a specific purpose—to ensure that they can stay alive. If they want "choices" then they must go out and earn their own cash.
This morning at Breakfast Mrs Tomrat and I discussed the insanity that is out education system; she relayed a story her student teacher told her about one of our youth group members, who's first placement had been at their school- they told us they were one (of many) who was provided with a PE kit whilst the teachers washed and dried their school uniform and any other clothes they had brought. Another needed to be provided with sanitary towels.
In neither case was this a result of financial poverty; were it, the parents could have asked a half dozen agencies for help; no, this was a result of parents not caring- the former being sent in with dirty clothes by work-shy wasters, the latter by a parent telling their daughter to use school toilet roll.
What have we become? I cannot conceive in my head using my child as a meal ticket*. Nor can I fully comprehend the sheer level we have debased ourselves to for a few scraps from our leaders tables, filled ironically from our own pantries.
I've an alternative suggestion that I've mooted before: make the individuals tax free allowance exchangeable, tax-interchangeable and set no minimum/maximum pricing for it's sale (unfortunately requiring an income tax for obvious reasons).
So married couple want to have a stay at home parent/part time worker; this is made easier to achieve by transfer of all/part of their tax credit, leaving more money for them to make more choices.
A NEET uses his to subsidise training and work placements, bartering for accommodation and a living wage whilst doing so via his company, who use it to lower their corporate tax take.
An unemployed middle-aged man cashes his piecemeal at a negotiated rate to a private friendly society who sell it as a commoditised corporate tax subsidy - charities and business alike shoot up to thrive in this environment; businesses carry charity and friendly-society logos on their websites stating they give competitive rates of exchange/services in return for their tax credits.
Their is a natural cyclical nature to how the subsidy works: in a recession the tax take goes down as does the costs of maintaining the unemployed, carried by those surviving businesses building up the necessary capital to be profitable, invest and create jobs. As more people are laid off there is more tax credits competing for less money, incentivising the owners to seek the best use of their voucher, whether by work or by exchange.
You will not fix the problem of worklessness, faux-entitlement and children-abuse with schemes encouraging sucking at the teat of the state; they need to take charge and see the consequences of their actions - that needn't be starving children because of greedy, frankly evil and conceited parents, nor do we need to put them in such an impoverished state they have few places to turn, merely getting people addicted to responsibility and the freedom it affords will be enough.
* = yes as a father I do claim tax credits and child benefit and I do so with a straight face- as far as I'm concerned this is a tax rebate and would swap it tomorrow if I could for a smaller state, lower taxes and less fanning around.
Whilst I'm sure folks like the Popular Front of Judea would balk at the prospect of taking the man's money so regularly I am perfectly content - I become more or less tax neutral at my current salary and I have no problems with the waste coming out of other peoples pockets, after all, if you don't like it, stop voting the twerps in.