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Too taxing for a self-declared social democrat? April 13, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Pat Rabbitte’s a puzzle and no mistake. For example discussing the current government he writes in the SBP that: 

There is business and jobs in the huge necessary undertaking to refurbish our water system. Continuing to play politics with water is simply destructive. The unedifying spectacle of SF following the lead of the Trotskyist left and FF following the lead of SF is doing nothing to encourage confidence in politics. 

And…

If there is to be no charge for wasting water, people will pay for water in their income tax.

And this is bad, why? He mutters about widening the tax base but frankly it seems to me he is unwilling to raise income and or other taxes (as against being comfortable with charge regimes beloved of the centre right) which is curious for a self proclaimed social democrat. I’m very tempted to collect and collate comments like this from similar sources…

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1. Alibaba - April 13, 2017

As usual we get a jaundiced and misleading view from Rabbitte. He indulges in one of his common tactics – that of attributing to the left some supposed stance which he then proceeds to criticise. He refers to ‘no charge for wasting water’ as if that was a desired outcome. The Committee’s proposals is to charge for ‘excessive usage’. This is something that cannot be calculated in the absence of data on individual household usage, which they don’t have. Instead, a figure is plucked out of the air and averages are worked out. All mention of ‘district metering’ is nonsense. And who knows what will be stitched in come the actual legislation. And don’t we know, any charge whatsoever for water is a ruse to ensure that it could revisited in times to come? Rabbitte’s comments smack of sour grapes to me because of the successful campaign and the way in which the battle for taxation provision was won, especially by those who were foremost in arguing for non-payment and convinced the masses to do so.

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WorldbyStorm - April 13, 2017

Great analysis Alibaba. I think you are right re the evasionary aspect.

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2. Mick 2 - April 14, 2017

Where’s that election leaflet in which he brags about “leading” the anti-charges campaign of yesteryear when you need it?

Funny, the LP’s transition from vehemently opposing domestic water charges to “not supporting” them (in the phrasing of the 2011 manifesto, IIRC) to outflanking FG in their rabid enthusiasm for charges now.

I suspect deep down true believers like Rabbitte have no great feeling one way or the other on the substantial policy matter. It’s more sour grapes + a way to set themselves in total opposition to the Trots + extreme face-saving + a desire to present themselves as “the sensible party” to that fraction of the electorate that still listens to them, namely (to be crude about it) middle-class liberals… in the Phil Ochs sense.

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3. RosencrantzisDead - April 14, 2017

It really is difficult to understand why FG and Labour have stuck so hard to the ‘water charges are right’ line. Could it be they have just doubled down on it because they are now so closely associated with it? I can understand some politicians being desperate not to lose face — we all have a good idea who they are. But are Labour and FG really so lacking in creativity they cannot develop some solution that saves face and placates the populace? Why are they leaving this to FF, the independents and the Left?

To be clear, I am not advocating for water charges or a cynical ploy to quieten the ‘plebs’. But if they are going to be a cynical, opportunistic and meretricious why do they do it so poorly?

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Alibaba - April 14, 2017

Yeah, ‘being desperate not to lose face’ is a factor in it. But the answer, surely, lies in the fact that FG in particular is ideologically committed to commodifing water and they can do so via getting people to pay for excessive usage (pushing out charges re-introduction to a later stage). They believe they will get away with it, under the guise of the notion that 92% of the public won’t get bills. And, as another commentator put it here, FG thinks it has lost all the voters on this it’s going to.

It seems that a 2007 Water Act will be amended to ensure that excessive water users will face fines or levies, and maybe even the possibility of a District Court prosecution. Both the Labour party and Green party voted against the Water Committee report citing objections to these grounds, allegedly because this was not “an efficient way” of resolving the matter; whatever that means. It will be interesting to see what happens when legislation comes before the Dáil for a vote. FF won’t pull the plug on water. That’s why I suggested previously, they could abstain. Labour’s response is anybody’s guess, although I’m tempted to see it genuflecting to its middle class adherents.

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