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Someone is channeling the 1990s… July 26, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

The Hibernia Forum, home of Eamon Delaney has the following analysis from earlier in the year relation to unemployment benefit. An article by Brendan Burgess of Askaboutmoney.com which originally appeared in the Sunday Independent. This can be summed up by the headline ‘dole payments should be cut, not increased’. And it argues that payments are higher than in the North. And so:

Despite the very low levels of tax and PRSI on low-paid employees in Ireland, it’s simply not worth their while to get a job. With almost-free housing, free health care and extraordinarily generous levels of dole, they would lose money by going out to work, especially if they can supplement their dole through working in the black economy.

This is amusing for a number of reasons, and irritating for many more. But let us note that unemployment, even in the self-serving fashion it is counted by the state, has been declining in the last number of years. So clearly it simply is ‘worth ‘their’ while getting a job’. The more jobs available the more people will take them.

And we know from the experience of the 2000s boom that precisely the same dynamic was evident, that when work was available workers worked. Indeed this state achieved a level of employment that was effectively technically full employment during that period.

If such a basic fact is missing from an analysis one can reasonably assume that the analysis in total is incorrect, and that as employment increases workers will be employed contrary to the assertions otherwise by the author.

Yet from there the writer spins a tale which because all else is incorrect becomes more and more fantastical. Not least with this:

If you have worked continuously for 30 years and have paid PRSI for 30 years you will get €193 per week dole – the exact same as someone who has sat at home watching daytime TV for 30 years. Despite the fact that it is called “pay-related social insurance”, it is neither pay related nor insurance in any normal understanding of the word. You get no extra dole for contributing to the social insurance fund. And in retirement, a person who has paid PRSI all their lives gets €10 a week more than someone who has lived on welfare all their life.

So what is to be done to bring a bit of sense and fairness into the system? The level of non-contributory dole and pension must be cut, and cut significantly. If people choose not to work, then they must be poorer than people who get out of bed in the morning and go to work and contribute to society.

Always with the punitive. Always. And the line that contributory pensions should be higher is unconvincing. Better by far to increase all pensions. Because again, we know that a very small minority may indeed prefer to stay at home – and many more who do so are unable for entirely legitimate reasons to work. And that is simply a cost that society must carry. Some people are chancers, or work shy, but again we know that when employment is widely available the numbers of same are minimal.

But the assertions keep coming:

In any event the current ridiculously high levels of social welfare are totally unsustainable for the national finances. Everything is going in our favour at present. Our exports are booming. Our tourism is booming. We have artificially high Corporation Tax receipts due to US multinationals diverting their earnings through Ireland. And although our national debt is huge, the cost of servicing it is low because interest rates are so low.
Despite all this, we are taking less in tax than we are spending to run the country. When interest rates rise, when Britain leaves the EU and when Trump demands that US companies pay tax to the US government rather than to the Irish government, we will be in trouble. We should fix this now under our own control, rather than have it fixed for us under another bailout.

Are welfare payments genuinely the problem? Are they going to torpedo our national finances? He himself states that ‘everything is going in our favour at present’. How can that be true if welfare payments are ‘totally unsustainable’? And more to the point how does he think matters will proceed if there is a further crash?


1. irishelectionliterature - July 26, 2017

How many of these clowns have ever been on the dole? It’s not exactly a life of luxury.
If he knew his stuff he’d know that those with stamps are entitled to full unemployment payment for a year or so without means tests. So there is already a difference.
Surely too if his solution of where the long term unemployed were paid less and those short term unemployed were payed more, then it would likely cost more too as there are more short term than long term unemployed on the register.
So there would be no savings but increased expenditure.

Liked by 1 person

2. roddy - July 26, 2017

very view up here are aware that benefits in the south are higher.I really don’t know how some people survive on what they get here.


EWI - July 26, 2017

You have the NHS. That’s how.


3. An Sionnach Fionn - July 26, 2017

I like the Hibs take on the impossibility of implementing certain forms of water charges in the face of public opposition:

“This is cowardly talk and, with such defeatism, how could a State ever collect for dog licences, car tax or a TV licence?”

Er, because the citizens of the State see the sense in certain types of licence or taxation, however much they may grumble, and are willing to accept them. It’s called democracy.


4. Jonathan - July 27, 2017

Brendan Burgess, the money expert, in September 2008: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2q7bBVAo74


5. Colm B - July 27, 2017

CLRers might be interested to know that the bould Eamon was a member of the Workers Party in UCD in the early 1980s. I know this as I was the organiser of the party group there around 1983-84.

Not the first stickie to end up being a neo-con but, to be fair, despite the similarities with the Harris factions ideological trajectory, I believe that he made his right-ward journey all on his owneo.


WorldbyStorm - July 27, 2017



6. roddy - July 27, 2017

Many of these people were attracted to the WP because it best represented their hatred of SF.


WorldbyStorm - July 28, 2017

Yeah but people shifting left to right and winding up in unexpected places is not a dynamic unknown to other parties and doesn’t have to be intrinsic to WP members or ex members – though clearly for a good cohort in WP hostility to SF was part of the approach (and given the histories not surprising). There is another point. It wasn’t one way, it’d not as if we can write a ballad of the gentle shinner whose unrequited affection and comradeship to WP members was unrequited! That said the only person who ever cut me dead in a conversation in person on learning i was once in WP was a CPIer who was ex official. Not one SF member was ever less than engaged and grand in the last twenty years or more.


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