• Learned Helplessness

      That's a phrase I first learned from Charles Murray. I assume he invented it when writing about the unintended consequences of the Welfare State.

      Working at ABC, and living in Manhattan, I never imagined American welfare "reform" would pass.  My neighbors fervently believed subsidies should only increase.  "No one can live on welfare," was a typical comment.  "The poor barely scrape by. We must increase subsidies for education, health care, housing, etc., to give people a decent shot at life."

      When a Republican Congress persuaded President Clinton to sign welfare reform, my neighbors predicted riots and widespread misery.  They have been largely silent about the resulting decrease in the poverty rate.

      Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Britain’s deficits have forced Britain to rethink its welfare state.

      The 21-year-old's mother hasn't worked in more than 20 years and last attended a job interview five years ago, and Ms. Sussock's step-grandfather has been receiving incapacity benefits since suffering a heart attack more than 20 years ago.

      Many of the people she knew growing up were welfare claimants, and she wasn't spurred to work at school or look for a career. She says has worked just one day, behind a nightclub's bar, since leaving school at 16.

      "A system that was originally designed to help support the poorest in society is now trapping them in the very condition it was supposed to alleviate,"  ...

      "We have been sleepwalking our way to an economy that is unsustainable, unstable, unfair and, frankly, uninspiring,"

      “Uninspiring” is a good word.  Now the English may have finally learned that a generous Welfare State breeds helplessness.