From Tony Judt's Ill Fares The Land:
When imposing welfare cuts on the poor... legislators in the US and UK alike have taken a singular pride in the 'hard choices' they have had to make.Applied to our government, it would have been hard for Dave to have kept the 50p tax, not give away more corporation tax cuts, and provide a proper plan for jobs and growth. But he didn't. He has taken the easy way out by kicking the poor and making working people pay for a crisis not of their making.
The poor vote in much smaller numbers than anyone else. So there is little political risk in penalising them: just how 'hard' are such choices? These days we take pride in being tough enough to inflict pain on others. If an older usage were still in force, whereby being tough consisted of enduring pain rather than imposing it on others, we should perhaps think twice before so callously valuing efficiency over compassion.