Tuesday last I addressed the Independent Senator group in Leinster House. Here’s some of the things I said to them;
Perhaps this time, as the anaconda from the depression wraps another coil around us in December’s budget, the scales will finally lift and public will more clearly see the direct connection between the cost of carrying the protected species of The Croke Park Agreement, to cuts to social welfare, child benefit and higher Vat. Just how many nightmares about lavish pension payouts and fantasies about reform are we prepared to swallow before roaring that enough is enough?
Well here's a few suggestions that maintain the promises given but lance the growing boil of injustice. Course I know some of them have all the attraction of a concrete kite to those tasked with formulating policy;
BIK Job Insurance
In a depression the most valuable perk is security of tenure aka job insurance, so tax it as a Benefit in Kind. Consider a rate of 20% on the excess gross income over €30 grand. That protects the low paid but means the average public earner on €52 grand pays about €1,500 a year for their job insurance policy to 2014 and higher still for bigger earners. This extension of BIK would bring in well over a billion Euros each year and gets progressively more from the large numbers earning over €80 grand a year.
Super Tax High Pensions
Apply the same rate of super tax to secure public sector pensions in excess of €40 grand a year as that which applies to risky private sector pension funds that might yield over €60 grand. That means taxing the excess over forty grand at a rate of at least 70%.This would not affect public sector workers on salaries under €80 grand a year but Brian Cowen and co would pay back €70 grand in tax on a hundred grand of pension.
Wealth Tax or Altruism
Introduce a wealth tax of 1% pa on global investable assets in excess of 200 times average wages that’s means no tax on the first €6.6m. Exclude homes and working assets that generate jobs and economic value like trading companies and farms but tax non-productive assets like financial investments, works of art,and multiple homes. To discourage asset flight and encourage integrity, allow for a full reduction if an amount equivalent to two thirds of the assessment is voluntarily paid into a fund administered and operated by Irish charities that finance vital social support services like Simon, Jack & Jill, St Vincent de Paul, The Samaritans and AWARE. This route alleviates strain on scarce State resources, is naturally administered more efficiently, gets the cash to the most vulnerable fast, satisfies the left, recognises that wealth tax is notoriously costly and difficult to implement and grows altruism.
Ready Plan B
Draw up Plan B to prepare for the worst case scenario, a Eurozone rupture, a return to the punt and a lock out from further borrowing that would instantly force spending within revenues greatly reduced by the chronic global recession that would inevitably accompany such an event. That means having a detailed plan ready to roll, one that applies triage to spending by beginning with a hefty cut in public sector pay, raises exchange controls to prevent capital flight and puts emergency plans in place to feed the most vulnerable. Plan B needs to consider a new economic strategy for an island no longer part of a functioning European Union and facesinto a new economic era.