Has austerity failed in Ireland or was it even tried?
Running a deficit of 7.6% after five "austerity" budgets does not suggest that things have been austere for many. There have been cuts, some tax rises and reduction in services but there has also been:
- huge transfers of wealth from future tax payers to senior bond holders
- corporations paying an effective tax rate on their €70bn profits of around 6%
- retiring public sector workers retired early on the same day with tax free pensions subsidized by workers who are junior in the public sector (and therefore paying through the nose for their own) or by 1m private sector workers who have no pension
- €11bn of tax reliefs remain intact
- interest rates remain very low
- our politicians remain the highest paid in Europe
- the social welfare wedge has remained in tact administered through over 50 different schemes
- students will have to emigrate because we don't have any jobs for certain graduates but the State continues to pay third level fees across the board
- instead of adding €165 to the property tax a new utility charge will be set up with its own administration, collection costs, prosecution, advertising costs with the only beneficiaries being the bureaucrats
- Coillte, ESB, Bord Gais (with Nama and Irish Water to follow) are to be privatized and their prices are being kept artificially high to make it more investible (this country's record on privatization is very poor eg Eircom, Dublin's waste management)
- taxes remain low relative to GDP
- many people pay three health charges ie tax, insurance and charges on delivery
- fee paying schools receive capital grants and their teachers are paid by the state
- lotto grants are used as electoral slush fund to private clubs eg tennis (this stupid tax is also to be privatized)
- incremental pay increases are only now being discussed
- legal services bill remains a bill and the State pays half a billion in legal fees.
- Nama is paying huge fees to professionals
Who has been a winner from "austerity - Irish style"?
We know who have lost.