The Budget’s few crumbs won’t help most families
THE first casualty of Budget 2018 is Liveline, which has been knocked clean off the air on Tuesday because of Paschal Donohoe’s speech. Yes, the Minister for Finance has decided to bring forward his muchhyped first solo budget address to the prime lunchtime slot. It has never happened before, but now Liveline has been jettisoned to make way for the dulcet tones of the minister. I somehow doubt if it was deliberate, but the minister has guaranteed himself a much bigger radio audience that ever before.
The alteration to the radio schedule seems to be the only major change that we can expect on Tuesday given the lead up to the Budget.
Does any worker really believe there will be any significant change to their penal income tax rates?
It’s now the average worker who shoulders the massive tax burden in the State – the statistics are truly shocking.
The 50% of families who now earn over €33,000 pay 97% of the income tax take. In other words half of the workforce are paying nearly all of the income tax.
And it will come as no surprise in a world where almost all political parties insists every new charge is lumped onto ‘general taxation’, that income tax as a portion of the overall tax take has jumped dramatically, from 28% to 40%.
One third of the workforce is completely exempt from income tax, whereas anyone employed in a half-decent job finds themselves with a weekly income tax bill of over 50% at the margin.
How can political parties – both left and right – justify a tax on the profits of multinational companies of in reality less than 10% while the income of hard-pressed workers is taxed at least four times that rate? They argue that the low corporation tax rate is to incentivise companies – how about giving workers a boost on Tuesday?
One senior trade unionist this week described workers demands for income tax reductions as a ‘con job’. But any parent who has to sit in gridlocked traffic every morning as they battle to get their children to childcare before heading in for a long days work are conning nobody.
The Jam (‘just about managing’) Generation are now the economic backbone of this nation and their legitimate demands for an easing of the burden on them should not be so lightly dismissed. And of course the Jam Generation find that they have to pay for everything from hospital bills to crippling mortgages.
They also have to listen to well funded State and trade union sponsored ‘think tanks’ on the airwaves trying to tell them that they are not heavily taxed! Yet any international comparisons show clearly that the Irish income tax system is the most progressive in Europe – in truth any worker earning twice the minimum wage will pay many multiples of that in income tax.
By the way, have any of these economists any ideas on how to create new jobs instead of repeating their mantra that workers should be taxed more?
While the Liveline phone show falls by the wayside on Tuesday the phoney war between our two main political parties continues as they decide which table the few crumbs for hardworking families should actually fall from.