Thursday 21 November 2019

Cut from the top

•As promises of more austerity measures are looming come next December's Budget, we can expect that those who are already on the breadline or on low income will be hit hardest.

There is something sinister in this economic philosophy.

Here is what should be done, instead, if the Government had the balls and honesty to do it.

They should start seriously cutting from the very top.

Cutting from the top means reducing by 50pc the number of political representatives, between TDs and senators. In Ireland, there is one representative per 18,000 citizens. In other European countries, the ratio is one per 62,000. Reduce their pay packages by at least 35pc to 50pc according to their level of income.

Reduce by 30pc the pay of those who work in the public and semi-state sector earning between €50,000 and €100,000.

Reduce by 50pc salaries over and above €100,000.

The advantages of these measures would be tangible.

Firstly, at least €1bn would be saved straight away. Secondly, if our politicians had to set such an example, trade unions, which are still deluding themselves that the level of salaries in Ireland, among the highest if not the highest in Europe, "must" be protected, will be silenced, thus sparing the country strikes and social unrest.

By exempting from further cuts those on low income, who represent the main bulk of the working population, be they low-paid workers or legitimate social welfare recipients, the economy may have a chance to recover. On the other hand, a further impoverishment of the main bulk of the working population -- who, with their spending, sustain the economy -- will result in further economic recession.

Concetto La Malfa
Dublin 4

Irish Independent

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