Wednesday 20 September 2017

'Progressive' tax isn't fair if we don't get value for money

Finance Minister Michael Noonan.Irish citizens pay more in tax than their counterparts in Spain, Sweden, Britain, Switzerland, the US and Singapore – but get little in return in terms of public services. Photo: Tom Burke
Finance Minister Michael Noonan.Irish citizens pay more in tax than their counterparts in Spain, Sweden, Britain, Switzerland, the US and Singapore – but get little in return in terms of public services. Photo: Tom Burke
David Quinn

David Quinn

Most of the time, Ireland doesn't really 'do debates'. There is no debate about the EU, for example. We react to decisions made by the EU, like the recent ruling against Apple, but we don't seem to have any vision about the kind of EU we want to be in because we never have a debate about that.

There is no debate about immigration. It's assumed that it is a good thing, full stop, end of argument. We are not allowed to have an opinion about how much immigration is a good thing, or about the kind of migrants we want (high skilled, low skilled, etc)?

There is only the barest of debates about whether it is better to cut taxes or increase public spending. The overwhelming weight of opinion that we hear on the airwaves favours increased public spending. It is 'virtuous' to want increased public spending and it is 'greedy' to want tax cuts.

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