Wednesday 21 February 2018

James Fitzsimons: We must show the three wise men a sign of progress

Government is taxing the little people to death, while those that can pay more are unaffected, says James Fitzsimons

James Fitzsimons

When the three wise men of the Troika arrived last year, they sounded the death knell for Brian Cowen's government. While the prospect of change gave new hope, it failed to produce a shining star. We have turned a corner but someone needs to take control if we are to get out of the deep depression we are in.

Our banks are rotten to the core, but some of the European banks are worse. Our public services cost more than we can afford but the Troika is willing to fund them. For the first time since Hall's Pictorial Weekly, we have our own Minister for Hardship, Brendan Howlin. Michael Noonan may have made his first Budget relatively painless, but the worst is yet to come.

If you think the €100 household tax is bad, plans to bring in a full-blown property tax are now being brought forward to 2013. Last year, it was envisaged that it might yield €700 to €1,000 per house. That would add more than €1bn to annual tax revenue. It might be dressed up as a progressive tax, as it rises relative to property value. But it won't be fair and it won't be equitable. How can it be? It bears little or no relationship to household income, let alone the income of the owner. What we need is a short-term wealth tax until we recover from where we are now.

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