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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Slump Coalition’s greatest myths; Part 2 “We’ve all got to share the pain”

Equality of opportunity is something in short supply in our country but to be fair to our government when it comes to equality in misery we‘re sparing the rod. The latest mantra is that we've all got to share the pain. According to FF & The Greens there’s plenty of pain to pass around but the real problem is that for some people their sensory receptors are so overloaded with grief that they cannot see what is going on around them.
The 2010 budget certainly stuck it into anyone who is blind, needs a carer, wants to return to further education to upskill, has children, is on social welfare, works in the civil or public service or someone who relies on coal to heat their house. To numb the pain a small one has been made cheaper. The media, international bankers and business organisations generally welcomed the budget saying it was a dose of reality. The spin was that everyone was taking a hit, except in reality some were taking a greater hit than others.
First to fireproof themselves were cabinet ministers who took the same 5% pay cut as their cleaners. Next were the higher public servants who claimed bonuses as income foregone and hey presto their pay cut was reduced to 3%. When inflation is taken into account it’s a pay rise! After that the tax write offs for developments that are now surplus to requirements were shored up. This means that tax payers will continue to subsidise developments that there may not either be built or that there is no demand for. This type of development has been blamed by the hotel industry for surplus beds that are destabilising the hotel industry and causing job losses. The fig leaf suggestion from the 2010 budget that the wealthy who live outside the jurisdiction should pay tax on their incomes has floundered on the question of how can the state establish what part of their earnings was made in Ireland and what part abroad?

In Wexford we’ve another example of the double talk by the business sector. Fees for many Doctors, Solicitors, Dentists and other professionals have remained the same as before. Time was that doctors fees chased the A&E charge endlessly upwards. this seems to have plateaued out since the 2009 budget which sent the A&E charge skywards. For many public servants who do not qualify for either the doctor only medical card or for those who can pass a means test for a full medical card the trip to the doctor or dentist is now one that is increasingly putting a strain on pockets. Parents are thinking twice before they bring thier kids to the doctor and that is not what care should be about. The experts who should help reduce the pain are in fact adding to the pain rather than sharing pain there.
It pains me to say it but taxes and pay cuts are for suckers.

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