Tuesday 23 January 2018

Brendan O'Connor: There's Big Phil -- in the middle of things, again

Phil Hogan threatens to be the Achilles heel in what should be the perfect government right now, writes Brendan O'Connor

ASK any kid who has studied Economics 101 about Adam Smith's principles of taxation, and they will tell you that one of the four guiding principles is that a tax should be easy and convenient for people to pay.

We can only assume that Minister Phil Hogan has not studied Adam Smith. Why else would he have taken a tax that people are reluctant to pay anyway, and made it very difficult to pay too? So in the last few weeks we saw an extraordinary situation where many people were trying despite the prevailing mood to pay an unpopular tax, but finding they couldn't. Even some members of the Government didn't seem clear on how to pay the Household tax.

I don't need to lead you through the catalogue of disasters that have brought Fine Gael, Big Phil, and the Household tax to this sorry pass. It has involved ineptitude, incompetence, arrogance, bullying, a lack of credibility (based on previous climbdowns on septic tanks and turf cutters), a lack of communication, complete confusion on the part of Phil and his colleagues, misinformation, and, at the root of it all, arrogance. Not to be a smartass, but this baby had all the hallmarks of the last administration.

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