Daniel J. Mitchell
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I’m not a big fan of welfare programs, in part because I sympathize with taxpayers (check out these outrageous examples of waste) but mostly because redistribution programs subsidize poverty and trap people in lives of despair.

But as I wrote in 2010, the most perverse form of welfare is when governments give handouts to Islamo-fascist radicals. This has happened in the United Kingdom and Germany, and the video at the link about the taxpayer-financed radical cleric in Australia is absolutely horrifying.

It seems like this foolishness is happening in France as well. In a story about the recent horrific murders by Mohammed Merah, the New York Post included this blurb.

All the while, Merah, a petty criminal on welfare, was ostensibly under surveillance by French intelligence.

And a New Zealand TV station included this tidbit.

Etelin said he knew Merah since he was about 17, and described his life as typical for many teenagers and young men in poor French housing projects who get involved in criminal activity. “His mother couldn’t control him, his father was totally absent, his sister … also told me that she couldn’t exercise any influence over him,” the lawyer said.

Isn’t that so typical. Not only welfare, but also government housing, and a system of handouts that facilitates an absent father.

I’m not saying – or even implying – that welfare programs cause terrorism. Millions of people live off government and never go out and murder others. And it may turn out that Merah and his family were low-level moochers, making this aspect of the story worthy of nothing other than an asterisk.

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Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.