Tuesday 22 August 2017

Why raising taxes in Ireland would be good for everybody

People queue for social welfare. Picture: Mark Condren
People queue for social welfare. Picture: Mark Condren

Nat O'Connor

Irish society is split between those with 'good jobs', full-time with decent pay, and those with low-paying, part-time or irregular work. As the National Economic Social Council (NESC) has just reported, Ireland has the highest level of jobless households in Europe, at 23pc – namely households where no one has a job or is likely to have a job. This is not only far higher than the EU average of 11pc, but higher than the second highest (UK and Belgium) at 13pc. This points to severe inequalities of opportunity in Ireland, and inequality of outcomes.

The material divide between those with good jobs and those without also distracts attention from the rise of the top 1pc who have extraordinarily high levels of income compared to everyone else, and who are the major champions of Ireland's current economic model.

Professor Thomas Piketty's meticulous examination of tax records demonstrates income inequality's rise in Ireland since the 1980s. Wealth inequality is likely to follow a similar pattern, with even greater concentration at the top.

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