The Irish Dream? Is that your dream or mine? January 6, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
The cost of the Irish dream is now €50,000 year. And that is just for the entry-level version. What we are talking about here is having a house, a partner, two kids and a car. Not included is private schooling, skiing holidays and all the other aspirations of the urban middle classes.
Is he talking about the working class? And is ‘middle’ class defined by private schools and skiing holidays? Clearly to a point, the latter.
In fairness he notes that:
Micheál Collins of the Nevin Economic Research Institute has done quite a lot of work in this area using data from the Central Statistics Office. The data is quite old – from 2011 – but things have not changed that much in the interim, which in itself is part of the story.
The key point from his research is that the average disposable income of an Irish family is about €40,000 a year, which is quite some way off the price of the basic Irish dream. In fact only the top 20 per cent of households have a disposable income in excess of €60,000 and can thus be said to be truly “living the dream”. In numbers terms, we are are talking about only 320,000 out of 1.6 million households.
And that points to how low wages are. He notes that:
A country where the modest aspirations of only one in five households are being met is not exactly what you would describe as a nation at ease with itself. Depending on which side of the €50,000-a-year line your household falls, it is a recipe for dangerous political instability or the harbinger of much-needed social change.
In effect, Ireland is not working for 80 per cent of families. This makes it a fertile breeding ground for those offering populist solutions á la Donald Trump and the Brexiteers. We have already had a taste of it in the amazing rehabilitation of Fianna Fáil at the last election on the back of nebulous promises about fairness.
But note this…
Right now, the key political battleground must be the 400,000 or so families who are in with a shout of the economy-class Irish dream. They are the families whose disposable income is somewhere between €35,000 and €50,000. They don’t “have it all” but they still have a good chunk of it. They have a car, but probably need to replace it. They have a house but can’t afford to extend it. They are also the sort of people who vote.
I’m always puzzled why there’s a lower limit. Why €35,000? And what of those below that level? How does McManus feel they should be addressed? Note how it comes down to what they ‘have’. Somehow that seems to me to be part of the problem rather than any sort of a solution.
And this dream he mentions. Has that any currency at all?