Wednesday 21 February 2018

Politicians' puny pension cut is a calculated insult

A good start is not half the work. A little does not go a long way. Small things do not mean a lot. There is a rich irony in the fact that the Fine Gael/ Labour Government, an administration that seems slavishly devoted to conventional wisdom, should be doing so much to undermine the applicability of old proverbs to modern problems.

Last week's introduction of hopelessly inadequate cuts to the super-pensions of former public servants and politicians provided a perfect illustration of this curious trend. Brendan Howlin, the minister responsible for public spending reform, introduced the pension reduction legislation with a dramatic flourish, proclaiming that "those with the broadest shoulders must bear the greatest burden".

As scrutiny of the changes quickly revealed, however, the so-called burden being imposed is no more than a feather blow -- water off a duck's back. Broad shoulders are indeed the defining characteristic of the political class but their sole function appears to be the provision of support for their brass necks.

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