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Subject: The thorny issue of morality rss

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your handy propaganda glossary

immoral == I don't like it.

Human Right == give it to me.



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muntmeister wrote:
your handy propaganda glossary

immoral == I don't like it.

Human Right == give it to me.





I have quoted this for its truth value.
 
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London is expensive place but 500 quid weekly is already fairly insane - even for a family.
From everything I know there are large chunks of London, including north-west London where you would be able to live on that much.
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DCAnderson wrote:
LeeDambis wrote:
Hmm. Giving people less than $3000 a month in government benefits is immoral?


But isn't $794.10 excessively low?


A week !?!
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bramadan wrote:
London is expensive place but 500 quid weekly is already fairly insane - even for a family.


Surely that depends on the size of the family?

Here's an estimate for the cost of living in London for a student: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/downloads/london.pdf
 
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
bramadan wrote:
London is expensive place but 500 quid weekly is already fairly insane - even for a family.


Surely that depends on the size of the family?

Here's an estimate for the cost of living in London for a student: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/downloads/london.pdf


Families have economies of scale.
The link you quote says that two adult students should be able to live in London at 2000 quid a month.

For all the talk of "starving students" I know rough level of lifestyle that students tend to expect while at university and, while not lavish, it is definitively not poverty.

Now, take two adults, combine bunch of their food, entertainment and other expenses and you will be able to start adding kids to the budget even before you go below the "student" standard of living.
Sure, once you hit gigantic broods you may run into problems - but it does not strike me that rising half a dozen kids on government assistance is a sort of behaviour you want to encourage in a first place.

Daycare is an issue (particularly if looking for job is expected) - but if I remember correctly subsidies for that exist in UK independent of direct welfare payments.
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LeeDambis wrote:
How friggin' much does it cost to live in London?


And that of course is the question. And if you don't know the answer to that then you are just making a clueless comment.

So do I? Not well enough, and I live just tens of miles from London. I know enough to know private sector rents in London are very high, even in the poorer parts, and I believe possibly among the highest anywhere. But you need to know precisely where £500/wk fits in to make an intelligent comment. And no one here has done that yet.

(From local commentary, I think the issue is also one of family size. Properties large enough for large families are less common, which further drives the prices up. And those will be the outlier cases quoted. There are also more issues - pushing in different directions - such as whether the market is distorted, local authorities pushing costs onto other local authorities, and that this is a flat national cap on what is not a flat national market.)
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bramadan wrote:
Dolphinandrew wrote:
bramadan wrote:
London is expensive place but 500 quid weekly is already fairly insane - even for a family.


Surely that depends on the size of the family?

Here's an estimate for the cost of living in London for a student: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/downloads/london.pdf


Families have economies of scale.
The link you quote says that two adult students should be able to live in London at 2000 quid a month.

For all the talk of "starving students" I know rough level of lifestyle that students tend to expect while at university and, while not lavish, it is definitively not poverty.

Now, take two adults, combine bunch of their food, entertainment and other expenses and you will be able to start adding kids to the budget even before you go below the "student" standard of living.
Sure, once you hit gigantic broods you may run into problems - but it does not strike me that rising half a dozen kids on government assistance is a sort of behaviour you want to encourage in a first place.

Daycare is an issue (particularly if looking for job is expected) - but if I remember correctly subsidies for that exist in UK independent of direct welfare payments.


There are some economies of scale, but you will certainly need to be spending more on accommodation as a family, probably more than simply 4x as much for an individual for a family of 4, as space is a premium in London. It will certainly cost a lot more than student digs.

You also wouldn't be getting the savings of being a student. Most notably in London, that would be travel fees. But of course there are other things (cheaper entertainment, and the costs associated with education are probably less in total at university than for a school child).

I don't think 'gigantic broods' should be encouraged, but then I also think cutting benefits will far more likely result in child poverty more often than it will result in smaller families.

Besides, I think this is all silly because it's not talking about reducing benefits, it's talking about a benefit cap. Now, obviously this will reduce benefits somewhat if there are people over this limit, but I think it's the stupidest way to do it. Instead of having a closer look at where money can be saved, they take a one-size fits all approach and pick an arbitrary number out of the air.

Benefits should be on a per need basis, not a per family basis. If people think benefits are too much, then reduce the benefits. For example, reduce the benefits per child. Don't tell a family of 6 that they don't need any more money than a family of 4, because that's nonsense.
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chaendlmaier wrote:
Rents in London are ridiculously high. Of course a family of four should get by easily with £500/week, but not if they're paying £400/week for rent, which wouldn't be that an unusual rate in London. However, I do believe it's questionable whether the government should subsidise the ridiculous London rents that way. If a family is unable to support itself in such an expensive living environment, it is probably best for them to move.


A simple answer. And like many such, a simplistic answer. Apart from the social issues of uprooting children from schools etc., cutting off the family from all of its contacts and local support, the cost of moving, and that areas with lower rents often are ones with even lower chances of finding work, there is the issue that the people we are talking about don't have entirely free choice. If you are living in local authority X and move to local authority Y, local authority Y probably won't have an obligation to house you. There are cases where local authority X has purchased properties in the area of local authority Y and forced people to move there (to be more precise, told people to move or be homeless with no obligation to do anything - except take children into care, which makes housing costs look trivial). This leaves local authority Y to pick up all the other costs, such as education. And I believe legal issues might still be being argued in some such cases.

As usual, these issues are complicated, and not subject to simple answers. But note that doing nothing and letting things just carry on as they are may also be a simple answer.
 
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Dearlove wrote:

A simple answer.


As much as a leftist I am, I am also for a sustainable left.
If a family falls down into social hardship, it's normal that there are some problems the state cannot fix, if only to be able to continue helping people in need.

So yes, if you loose your income, you should accept to go and live in a place where the rent is less than 400£ a month.

And loose your subscription to paid tv channels and xbox life account, and eat less beef and more seasonnal vegetables. These stereotypes are maybe representative of a minority, but they are giving a bad look to the whole system.
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
Perhaps Christopher would like to ask whether the reason rents are so high may have something to do with the government subsidising people to pay them?


I have already mentioned the market being distorted as an issue. How distorted depends of course on what fraction of rents are so paid. And I don't have that figure. (Or figures, it will vary with location and property size.) And I mentioned it because it is a real issue.

Quote:
To be blunt, given the strain on londons infrastructure and council budgets, cutting peoples benefits (even if it means they have to move out of the city) would appear to be commonsense.


The problem with commonsense is that it frequently isn't. Note that I have carefully said I don't have the answers. But if you don't have all the facts, which clearly no one here has, then it's just hot air. You could even end up increasing costs, for example if you make people homeless. I'm not saying you will, just that if you can't prove that with numbers, your solutions aren't.

Quote:
Some people might be unable to commute to work and might end up unemployed, but given that they were already receiving the maximum benefits the government won't be paying out more than it was previously. As they weren't likely to be contributing much in the way of tax, the benefits on easing the pressure on London councils might be worth the cost.


So you might seriously affect some people's lives, for which you might save some money. It might be a good idea to quantify the latter, and work out what exactly what the alternative is, before considering the former.
 
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Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.


Reduces the number of rental properties available, increases house prices, creates a black market, raises demand way, way over supply and reduces the quality of rental properties available.


Agreed - rent control programs pretty much always fail, as it becomes completely unsustainable for property owners to make rooms available for less than it costs them to maintain the properties. It becomes more financially attractive to take the properties off the market entirely than to rent them for a loss (or, in some cases, completely stop maintaining the properties, allowing them to fall into extreme disrepair).

Of course, one could then decide to subsidize the property owners, or even have the government take over the rental properties, and certainly there are cases where this has been done. Now, if anyone has ever seen some of these public housing properties, you might decide that this is not a great course of action either, as at least with the ones I'm familiar with in my area, they are almost uniformly rundown, crime and drug infested dumps.

To Christopher's point earlier, there's no simple answer to how best to help the jobless. The best answer of course would be to find a way to re-energize the economy such that these people could find jobs, but that's certainly proving to be a challenge for every nation, not just England.
 
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slatersteven wrote:
Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.


OK, so you're not going to allow the Shard to charge hundreds of thousands a year for their prestige apartments.
Wait, that's not what you meant.
How are you going to have an objective way of distinguishing between the cases.

Lets assume you could.
Then the landlords of larger rental property are going to convert the 3-bedroomed house into 5 bedsits (3 up, 2 down) which will almost certainly command a greater rental income than the house as a whole. Thus further reducing the number of properties that are capable of providing non-slum accommodation for families of 4 or more.
Economics 101 includes the law of supply and demand which is one of the few economic "laws" that is mostly accurate.
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
To Christopher's point earlier, there's no simple answer to how best to help the jobless.


Yes, that's been my point. But I'd add two things, at an affordable cost, and that it's not just the jobless, it's the people in low paid jobs as well. We have a flat and low minimum wage, the same in high rent areas such as London (or lower rent but high travel costs if commuting) as in low rent areas, such as e.g. the north east (of England, though this is a UK issue, that's just geography). Of course many people earn more than the minimum wage, but still not enough not to need state aid. (In particular to try to make it worthwhile economically to work, even at lower wages, not a completely solved problem, but that helps.)
 
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HavocIsHere wrote:

And lose* your subscription to paid tv channels and xbox life account, and eat less beef and more seasonnal vegetables. These stereotypes are maybe representative of a minority, but they are giving a bad look to the whole system.


1) We may see Sky TV as a luxury that the {insert your inappropriate term for the jobless} should not have; but for many of them the cartoon channels are one of the cheapest forms of childcare available. I recognise this even though I could consider it child abuse.

2) Pretty much ditto (in both respects) for games consoles.

3) Big Macs and the like are actually one of the lowest cost sources of calories that are easily available to these people; perhaps too many calories!


* Spelling corrected - I get really annoyed by the frequency with which otherwise well-educated people spell "lose" as "loose". Look both up in a dictionary. Trouble is that both are in the dictionary so a spelling chucker won't recognise the misteak.
To be fair to the author, English spelling can easily confuse people for whom it is not their native tongue and too many Brits and USAians make exactly the same error.
 
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.


Reduces the number of rental properties available, increases house prices, creates a black market, raises demand way, way over supply and reduces the quality of rental properties available.
Why would it reduce the number of rental properties, most landlords rent to make money. If they are not renting but leaving it empty they will not make money. How will it create a black market, black markets exist because something is too expensive or not available. At the end of the day what we need is more council housing that is affordable and not massively inflated private rented accommodation.
 
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
andyholt wrote:
3) Big Macs and the like are actually one of the lowest cost sources of calories that are easily available to these people; perhaps too many calories!


Big Macs are not cheap living!

Aldi/Iceland is cheap. Asda is cheap if you want to actually cook.
Asda is not cheap.
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Euroncrowseye wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.


Reduces the number of rental properties available, increases house prices, creates a black market, raises demand way, way over supply and reduces the quality of rental properties available.


Agreed - rent control programs pretty much always fail, as it becomes completely unsustainable for property owners to make rooms available for less than it costs them to maintain the properties. It becomes more financially attractive to take the properties off the market entirely than to rent them for a loss (or, in some cases, completely stop maintaining the properties, allowing them to fall into extreme disrepair).

Of course, one could then decide to subsidize the property owners, or even have the government take over the rental properties, and certainly there are cases where this has been done. Now, if anyone has ever seen some of these public housing properties, you might decide that this is not a great course of action either, as at least with the ones I'm familiar with in my area, they are almost uniformly rundown, crime and drug infested dumps.

To Christopher's point earlier, there's no simple answer to how best to help the jobless. The best answer of course would be to find a way to re-energize the economy such that these people could find jobs, but that's certainly proving to be a challenge for every nation, not just England.
Well I live in social housing (at present) and the estate is not run down or crime infested. Maybe if social housing was properly maintained by the authorities (instead of wasting money on urban art) these estate would not get run down.
 
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andyholt wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.


OK, so you're not going to allow the Shard to charge hundreds of thousands a year for their prestige apartments.
Wait, that's not what you meant.
How are you going to have an objective way of distinguishing between the cases.

Lets assume you could.
Then the landlords of larger rental property are going to convert the 3-bedroomed house into 5 bedsits (3 up, 2 down) which will almost certainly command a greater rental income than the house as a whole. Thus further reducing the number of properties that are capable of providing non-slum accommodation for families of 4 or more.
Economics 101 includes the law of supply and demand which is one of the few economic "laws" that is mostly accurate.
Only if you do not cap rents based of the number of rooms. Also this situation only exists becasue of a ban on the construction of council houses.
 
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LeeDambis wrote:
A black market will exist because some prospective tenants are willing to pay more.


You've missed the context. The discussion is about people the state pays the rent for (directly or indirectly). No one is proposing a cap on all rents.
 
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
Big Macs are not cheap living!


Constantly downgrading your house and moving isn't either.
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
Dolphinandrew wrote:
Euroncrowseye wrote:
Big Macs are not cheap living!


Constantly downgrading your house and moving isn't either.


Actually, it's not that horrendously expensive. And it's hardly a 'constant' thing.


I don't know, I think you could get quite a few big macs for the cost of my last move, and I was just moving myself, didn't have to worry about finding a new job/school/etc.

And it might not be constant, but it could happen more than enough times to be a serious problem, depending on the situation.

Take a family of 4 with two working parents. One of the parents is fired, and they can't afford to live where they currently do. They move before their savings run out.

Suppose now the 2nd parent gets fired (perhaps they could only afford to move to somewhere that was a little too far from that parent's job, and it affected their performance). Do they move again? What if they can't afford it now?
 
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slatersteven wrote:
Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.


Capping rents is one of the worst possible ideas in this regard.

Rents are usually balanced in a way that would represent reasonable return on investment considering the price of the property.
If you cap rents then it becomes economically more sensible for the owners to sell units as condominiums and invest proceeds elsewhere.
All of a sudden you have no private rental market and have to rely on government to provide all rental housing with all attendant inefficiencies.

OR you by fiat start ordering people that they must rent their property rather then sell it and (aside from being unacceptable invasion of property rights) have to create a whole new bureaucracy to enforce this.

Finally, if you control rents to be below market price then you have to deal with the fact that more people will want to live in that area then there is units (supply and demand being what sets market price) so you need *another* bureaucracy to determine who gets to live there at the controlled price...
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slatersteven wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
Euroncrowseye wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Instead of capping handouts why not cap rents? hat way the rent cots will fall but no children will go hungry or families forced to move. Yes it's ridiculous that they get this much, but it's also ridiculous they have to pay this much.


Reduces the number of rental properties available, increases house prices, creates a black market, raises demand way, way over supply and reduces the quality of rental properties available.


Agreed - rent control programs pretty much always fail, as it becomes completely unsustainable for property owners to make rooms available for less than it costs them to maintain the properties. It becomes more financially attractive to take the properties off the market entirely than to rent them for a loss (or, in some cases, completely stop maintaining the properties, allowing them to fall into extreme disrepair).

Of course, one could then decide to subsidize the property owners, or even have the government take over the rental properties, and certainly there are cases where this has been done. Now, if anyone has ever seen some of these public housing properties, you might decide that this is not a great course of action either, as at least with the ones I'm familiar with in my area, they are almost uniformly rundown, crime and drug infested dumps.

To Christopher's point earlier, there's no simple answer to how best to help the jobless. The best answer of course would be to find a way to re-energize the economy such that these people could find jobs, but that's certainly proving to be a challenge for every nation, not just England.
Well I live in social housing (at present) and the estate is not run down or crime infested. Maybe if social housing was properly maintained by the authorities (instead of wasting money on urban art) these estate would not get run down.


Problem is that no one is properly incentivized to invest in/maintain government owned housing.

Sometimes you get "good tenants" and things are OK - but there is no institutional system of incentives to keep things running well most of the time. Career of the bureaucrat in charge of large swath of government housing is not going to lose their job (or suffer any consequence) over the conditions in any one of them - unless they are absolutely, newsworthy, horrible and will therefore invest only so much effort and money as is necessary to prevent that level of bad.
 
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