Monday 23 October 2017

Economic policy needed to tackle inequality - think tank

Workers' share of national income fell from 65pc in 1990 to 56pc in 2009
Workers' share of national income fell from 65pc in 1990 to 56pc in 2009
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

The Government needs to dramatically change its economic policy and taxation system or risk Ireland moving to "US levels of inequality" according to a left-wing think tank.

A new report from the think tank for Action on Social Change (Tasc) claims that, on average, the top 1pc of earners in Ireland make €373,300. The bottom 90pc average €27,400, the report claims.

Workers' share of national income fell from 65pc in 1990 to 56pc in 2009, Tasc added.

Tasc research director Dr Nat O'Connor, who co-authored the report, said the levels of "economic inequality in Ireland were not inevitable".

"Addressing economic inequality is important because we know that more equal societies perform better on a whole range of indicators such as crime, health and educational attainment," he said.

"More equal societies are also more stable and have better chances of stronger and sustained economic growth," he said.

"High concentrations of wealth and income can lead to disproportionate political power, and so more equal societies are better able to promote democracy and ensure the public interest is safeguarded in public policies," he added.

Co-author Cormac Staunton said that the notion that economic growth would tackle inequality is a "myth".

"The instability of Ireland's growth in the 2000s and the unequal distribution of benefits of our current prosperity show that growth alone will not reduce inequality.

"We need policies that will ensure prosperity is more widely shared."

Irish Independent

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