Budget 2012 – ideology hiding as necessity

December 11, 2012 at 10:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Following the budget we now at least know, if there was ever any doubt, where we stand. We know what the horizon of possibility / impossibility now is as understood by the government. Three matters of importance indicate this clearly.

First, the wealthy cannot be taxed any further. This was asserted by the Finance Minister in unambiguous terms. Further tax increases for the wealthy would cause them to leave the country and/or would ‘dis-incentivise’ them from job creation and/or would discourage foreign corporations from coming to Ireland. In any event, for whichever of these reasons, further tax increases for the wealthy (+€100,000) are now defined as impossible.

Second, corporation tax as we have long known cannot be increased. Nor will there be a financial transactions tax. Nor will the oil and gas corporations be subjected to any additional taxes, levies or royalties. These are impossible also.

Finally, in response to the proposal that the wealthy have a 3% increase in USC, Fine Gael proposed a corresponding 3% reduction in social welfare payments. They sought to establish a political and moral equivalence between these two proposals. Thus, it was not for economic or social reasons, but entirely for political ones that they suggested that if the rich must pay more then so too must the poor.

Meanwhile, huge transfers of wealth from poor to rich continue with bank bailouts, bond repayments, welfare and social care reductions and increased regressive charges on middle and low income people. This is considered possible and necessary. Taxing the wealthy and corporations is however impossible.

This is the systemic situation we are now in. This is the logic involved in maintaining our crumbling and dysfunctional system. It could not be clearer. Defining what is possible and impossible is an act of ideology not of rationality. Seeing through this allows us to see clearly the nature of the dominant system itself and whose interests in really serves.

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