Saturday 16 December 2017

Coalition in la-la land as taxpayers pushed to limit

Harsh fiscal policies will only target those already on the edge, warns James Fitzsimons

While AJ Chopra is here from the IMF to make sure that we do not baulk at our financial commitments to the Troika, he has endeared himself to the Irish public. Last week he spoke of the outrageous price we pay our doctors and lawyers. Maybe he is here to make life more affordable for everyone. It's a pity he wouldn't run for President. He has more to offer than the 'Magnificent Seven'. And if he can't have a room in the Aras I'm sure Nama could set him up with one of their cosy little units. But don't be complacent. Mr Chopra is here to bleed us dry. Meanwhile, the Government is in la-la land, deluded into thinking they have negotiated a better deal, and expecting us to believe it.

The Government claims that tax revenues are ahead of target. Hopefully that means they will cut tax in the Budget for those who are struggling to pay. After all, they were opposed to the Universal Social Charge (USC) before the election. But eight months on and the USC is going strong. In fact it is probably the only reason why the Government collected more tax than planned. While we have been given no real insight into the Budget this Government has shown it likes to make life easy for itself irrespective of how it affects others.

While it reneged on easing the tax burden, it savagely attacked private sector pensions with its 0.6 per cent levy. Last summer 257 Tara Mines pensioners were told that their pensions would be cut by 10 per cent for four years or 2.5 per cent for life to cover the levy. Micheal Martin highlighted this issue in the Oireachtas. Meanwhile, public servants are not only protected from this charge, but are being offered outrageously high pensions and redundancy payments to give up jobs that we cannot afford.

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