Bud­get brings out a silly sea­son in some

The Argus - - OPINION -

THE silly sea­son is now well and truly with us.

For­get the tra­di­tional silly sea­son of Au­gust when news­pa­pers and tra­di­tional me­dia had to scratch about look­ing for news with the po­lit­i­cal and le­gal pro­fes­sions closed for the month.

An Ir­ish silly sea­son is the weeks prior to the bud­get, a time when kite fly­ing be­comes one of the most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties of TDs and lob­by­ists.

We woke up on Mon­day morn­ing to the lat­est kite, which was that pen­sion­ers should be ex­empt from prop­erty tax. This par­tic­u­lar kite came from the sta­ble of the in­de­pen­dent mem­bers of gov­ern­ment.

Ear­lier in the sum­mer, we had other in­de­pen­dent TDs fly­ing the kite of a grant of €1,000 per an­num for grand­par­ents who look af­ter their grand­chil­dren. Oh, don’t fret, if you are an aunt and un­cle pro­vid­ing child­care and look­ing af­ter nieces and nephews the grant wasn’t con­fined to grand­par­ents, you too, could avail of this grant. The maxim of ‘ there’s one for ev­ery­one in the au­di­ence’ clearly ex­tends be­yond the Late Late Show, in the eyes of some.

Some TDs re­ally do get in­ven­tive at this time of year in the way in which they are give some­thing to their vot­ers.

Cer­tainly the wel­fare of the older voter is the con­cern of politi­cians from ev­ery quar­ter. No one wants to of­fend them, for the risk of not get­ting their vote.

It is not that the par­tic­u­lar kites are not wor­thy or have merit, but it all comes down to af­ford­abil­ity and fair­ness.

As a na­tion we sim­ply can­not af­ford many of the schemes sug­gested.

Free health­care for the un­der 6s, bet­ter child­care sup­ports and ben­e­fits, im­proved pen­sions, tak­ing low paid work­ers out of the tax net, no wa­ter charges and no change to the cor­po­rate tax rate. All wor­thy and have merit.

It seems we want it all and we want it now and politi­cians are sim­ply afraid to tells us that we can’t have it all and they pan­der to vir­tu­ally ev­ery in­ter­est group out there.

We have choices to make and while of course there are thou­sands of pen­sion­ers hard pushed to pay the prop­erty tax, sta­tis­ti­cally pen­sion­ers are one of the bet­ter sec­tors of so­ci­ety.

Yes they have worked hard and earned their pen­sion and ben­e­fits, but the taxes they paid dur­ing their work­ing life were not a nest egg for their re­tire­ment. That tax rev­enue was used to pay the pen­sions of their par­ents and grand­par­ents, just as tax rev­enues to­day are used for pay for to­day’s pen­sion­ers.

It is not a them and us, but we re­ally can’t af­ford such ill con­ceived schemes and we shouldn’t be en­cour­ag­ing these kite fly­ing ex­er­cises.

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