Removing rioters’ benefits will cost taxpayers more

Following the signature of over 200,000 onto an e-petition that demanded that looters should ‘loose [sic]‘ their benefits, Conservative Party ministers in the UK are considering the same according to Financial Times.

The spelling of the petition should have been indicative of how sloppy the thinking in it was. ‘No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them,’ it stated. An implicit intention of the petition, then, is to minimise tax expenditures on looters. Yet cutting benefits would likely do just the opposite.

Proven looters would be incarcerated, and held in incarceration at great expense. Upon release, they will find it hard to find jobs because of their criminal records. Without benefits to fall back on to survive, they will have every incentive to commit crime to pay their bills or / and to potentially be sheltered and fed in prison at even greater expense to the taxpayer.

The better solution is to fine looters for damages and theft, and fine them within their means. Then give those without prior convictions (and who did not hurt people) amnesty conditional on their excelling in government sponsored courses aimed at reintegrating them into society and making them useful to the economy, defined as employable by companies (that the government may be supporting) within their region.

A longer term solution for the government should be to look into how to sponsor entrepreneurship in economically depressed areas, and to look into how to avoid ghettos that promote failure.

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