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McGrath has gone… October 20, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

And… ahemhe

He also signalled the possibility of the re-establishment of a technical
group in the Dáil,
comprising Sinn Fein, Tony Gregory, himself and Joe
Behan. He said he would be talking to Mr Behan tomorrow.

Of course, it takes seven to tango. And whether a good five of them will be in a forgiving mood is an interesting question…


1. Tomaltach - October 20, 2008

Wow. I welcome the fact that there seems to be an issue over which TDs will put their heads above the parapet. Yet something doesn’t feel right. If universal care is such a core value, why does it only apply to over 70s? Where have these wells of conscience been when the whole shape of health is being outlined in programs for government? I actually believe that Joe Behan is sincere. But many others who followed him are undoubtedly doing so for less noble reasons – JHR is surely playing to his gallery and many others are thinking not of principle but of the ballot box.

The other thing I’ve heard is that why target health and education. The answer is simple: that’s where the money goes. The only other significant chunk in the pie is social welfare, and of course it has been targeted in various ways too. That doesn’t mean the over 70s have to be targeted, but ultimately someone who is ill or needs care is going to have to do with a lesser service. (Or what is the alternative?)

I wonder does any single TD think that the main problem with the budget is that it is far too shallow (both the tax and cuts) to turn the current spending trajectory? I’ll be clear – it’s not that I want a low tax, low service society. The opposite, but it is not possible to start constructing otherwise from here.

The priority now has to be stabilization. But even within that, much more ambitious and indeed redistributary measures would have been possible. And that’s the real outrage of this budget – yes, it in terms of taxes it hits middle and high earners most. Essentially they have degressive taxation when we ought to have progressive taxation. When you look at the amounts involved for those on say over 150k, it will not affect their lifestyle in the slightest. They will just stuff a bit less into investment and savings. It is a pure lie on the part of government to say that the pain is shared anything like equally in the current budget. A lie.


2. Tomaltach - October 20, 2008

Correction in how third sentence in last paragraph should run:

And that’s the real outrage of this budget – yes, it in terms of taxes it hits middle and high earners most, but only nominally Essentially they have degressive taxation when we ought to have progressive taxation.


3. WorldbyStorm - October 20, 2008

That’s it. And the problem is that people buy that lie because it’s easy, and those who are hit most by the pain of it are often those who are least supported by a serious ideological or social champion whereas those on 150k or over are feted in the media, in economic and political circles.


4. CL - October 21, 2008

Should not Ireland as an advanced capitalist economy be able to apply the Keynesian solution just like any other free and independent country?

“The problems Keynes faced in the 1930s, such as the ineffectiveness of monetary policy and banking failures triggered by falling asset prices, again seem the most pressing. Keynes’ solutions, including greater public spending funded by borrowing, are becoming popular. The criticisms that this will fuel inflation and raise budget deficits are still heard but are increasingly seen as irrelevant.” FT.
“it’s politically fashionable to rant against government spending and demand fiscal responsibility. But right now, increased government spending is just what the doctor ordered, and concerns about the U.S. budget deficit should be put on hold…..
“The responsible thing, right now, is to give the economy the help it needs. Now is not the time to worry about the deficit.” Krugman

Or is Ireland not free to adopt this very necessary economic policy? And why not? Or does Germany and France have to become Keynesians before Ireland can follow?
Will this dependency affect the prospect of the Lisbon treaty passsing?


5. Wednesday - October 21, 2008

it takes six to tango

Seven, actually.


6. WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2008

Sorry, yes, blame it on my bad math.

Interesting questions CL. I’d suspect that the rule books are being torn up, what with the Fed going down that route. And the answer to your last question is yes… most definitely.


7. smiffy - October 21, 2008

Although, of course, the question of whether it will increase or decrease the prospect of Lisbon passing remains!


8. Jim Monaghan - October 21, 2008

I regret to say it but McGrath is a joke. Remember how FG wrongfooted him over immigration when they called a division when he was waxing eloquent pn the subject and then went into the Gov lobby with his tail between his legs.
Lemass dictum on the Labour Party wrestling with its conscience and always winning.
On Lisbon I think they will try a panic measure in the Spring. What abot the real rulers of Europe. I refer to Sarkops meeting with the G8 EU members who presumably speak fot the real members rather than the minor second league players who include Spain.
On the budget surely some head should roll for the overpayment to the GPs for the over 70s.
We live in a country where the socalled professional classes can charge what they like.If Britain is ruled by a inancial services elite surely qwe are rukled by doctors, lawyers, pharmacists etc. The real unions lie there niot with etc. ICTU.


9. Tomaltach - October 21, 2008

I have just been listening to Sarkozy speaking to the EU parliament in Strasbourg. He said that institutional reform is not the only subject in europe, but it is a subject. And he said he feels the recent crises, such as Georgia, underline the need for Europe to be more united externally and he went on to say that the rotating presidency was a major handicap.

I happened to be in Brussels last week and spoke to a number of Irish and non Irish officials in the commission and to the president of the EU parliament. Certainly they left no doubt that getting the reform process closed off is still high on the agenda.

There was a consensus in fact that the recent crises have bolstered the resolve to get Lisbon passed and put the decade long reform process to bed (and many speakers highlighted that this is definitely the end of the road in terms of institutional reform for at least a generation).

Hans-Gert Pottering left us believe that there is a real expectation on Cowen to deliver a plan in December which is more than a reflection and a list of ideas but which is an actual solid approach ready to roll in 2009. We asked Pottering if December is a deadline for Cowen. He wouldn’t use that word but repeatedly said “it is a very decisive point”.


10. Medical Cards…Progressive Taxation…and talking about a rebooted Technical Group… « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - October 22, 2008

[…] in the meantime… what was I thinking of? Given the chance of new Technical Group everyone who might be involved would jump at the […]


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