The Croke Park Agreement on public sector pay has spared us the whingeing and victimhood claims of public sector union reps on the airwaves but that will come at a high price in the coming budget-big tax increases and a total gutting of capital spending on infrastructure.
Recognising belatedly that the frenzy of tax increases in his budgets have crippled the economy, Finance Minister Lenihan promised no more tax increases. But how can he possibly find €3 billion plus in cuts?
Can he increase pension funding levies on gold plated public sector pensions to levels determined by pension actuaries? That would go a long way towards balancing the budget but take home pay would take a beating if the employees had to contribute fully.
I hope Lenihan isn't swayed by taxers like Garret Fitzgerald who claim that Irish taxes are relatively low by the standards of EU advanced welfare states. They fail to recognise that inferior Irish government services in health care,public transport,social housing and subsidised day care aren't worth paying for. Higher taxes should only be considered if the public sector is radically reformed over a decade and its recruitment system opened up to business talents in order to permit efficient delivery of services.