Budget brings out a silly season in some
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.