Tuesday 20 February 2018

It's unfair: USC hike is both cruel and crude

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

THE hike in the rate of universal social charge (USC) for those with a medical card on modest incomes is crude and cruel.

It will hit families on less than €60,000, and pensioners in particular.

It means pensioners with debilitating conditions, those with special needs children and others will pay even more for the follies of our bankers and wretched regulators.

Pensioners will argue that although the basic state pension has not been cut, they have lost out elsewhere.

Cuts in the household benefits package, which pays a contribution to electricity and telephone costs, have hit hard.

A tripling of prescription charges for those with medical cards have also cost them, as have changes to medical card eligibility and cuts in the likes of respite care grants and nursing home supports.

The ratcheting up of health insurance premiums has been costly for pensioners.

That comes as a study concludes what we have known all along – the middle classes have been pulverised during the six-year long downturn.

Those on social welfare have been hit, but not to the extent that some feel, and the wealthy have got away with it.

In contrast, the aspirations and the expectations of a comfortable life are shattered for 'Middle Ireland', as tax hit after tax hit and cuts in benefits have shot incomes to pieces.

The people who pay their way, fend for themselves, try to educate their children, pay their own health insurance and provide for their pensions have seen their incomes assaulted from every direction. A thousand cuts and tax attacks have left household finances in intensive care.

And all to restore the banks to health, keep high-earning public servants in the style they are accustomed to, and to finance the myriad lawyers and consultants who are making off like bandits.

Too heavy a price is being paid by ordinary taxpayers.

Irish Independent

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