Gene Kerrigan: Anyone can get by on €80,000 a year
You want 'bold and unpalatable' ideas, Enda? Then set a maximum wage, writes Gene Kerrigan
It must be rough on Brendan Howlin, a man who's known for his thoughtfulness and compassion. His current job involves thrashing people's lives, and that must tear at his soul. Let's suggest one tough, forceful measure he can insist that his government implements -- one that may ease his distress. It won't solve the economic crisis -- but it would take some pressure from the worst-off.
For this is a bizarre, ruptured society over which Mr Howlin governs, as self-proclaimed Minister for Cuts. His government inflicts great hurt on the vulnerable, yet every day evidence of gross wealth and obscene waste is waved in our faces.
We know that Mr Howlin is thoughtful and compassionate because of his reaction in the Dail, on December 8 last, to the Fianna Fail budget. Mr Howlin raged against "the savagery" imposed "upon the beleaguered people of Ireland", by an uncaring Fianna Fail/Green regime. "The budget is simply unfair," Mr Howlin raged. He reserved particular scorn for the Universal Social Charge, which mugged the poor and reduced the burden on the highest paid: "What perverse thinking could come up with that?" he wondered.