Friday 21 July 2017

Coalition must bring in a wealth tax to balance the books

The next Budget needs 
to tackle the €9bn a year in interest we pay on the national debt, says James Fitzsimmons

There are no complete statistics on how much the truly rich are worth and what they can afford to pay
There are no complete statistics on how much the truly rich are worth and what they can afford to pay

James Fitzsimmons

The economy is improving, but we are awash with debt and it is dragging us down. In the six months to the end of June, the Government spent almost €5bn more than it took in, and this is added to the national debt. According to the CSO, the gross amount is now about €200bn. That works out at about €90,000 for every worker in the country.

The interest alone was €4.3bn for the six months to the end of June and is approaching €9bn in a full year. That's over 20pc of everything we collect in tax, just to pay the interest.

The economy may be recovering, but we have a long way to go before we get out of the hole the Government has dug for us; €9bn could be spent on education or health if we didn't have the interest bill. No matter how much the economy recovers, the financial crisis left us paying €9bn a year in interest - that could have paid for essential services. An elite few reaped the rewards, but everyone else will pay the price for decades to come.

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