Monthly Archives For December 2012

Why Some People Will Get Hit Very Hard

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Whatever about the leaks, the underlying thinking in much commentary and policy analysis shows why some people will get hit very hard.  Yes, those on social protection should look out –especially around secondary benefits and eligibility.  And pensioners – many of their programmes will be sliced if not totally jettisoned.  If you’re unemployed, don’t expect much help from the budget (it will end up destroying jobs – especially through investment cuts).

What struck me most is the proposition that Child Benefit should be taxed.  This featured on RTE’s This Week (the weblink to the programme is unfortunately not available).  The Minister for Social Protection claimed her preferred position was to tax Child Benefit since this would protect the most vulnerable.  The ESRI’s Professor John Fitzgerald made a similar statement – that those on high incomes would be taxed while the vulnerable would be spared.   This view shows a lack of appreciation of what can happen to hundreds of thousands of households struggling on modest incomes.

Of course, Child Benefit will not be taxed in this budget; apparently, the computers in Revenue and the Department of Social Protection still can’t ‘talk’ to each other.  And here’s another thing:  taxing universal benefits does not undermine the principle of universality.  Taxation can introduce a progressive feature in payments that are granted to all, regardless of income or employment.

But the emphasis on ‘protecting the vulnerable’ ignores the fact that people at work are also vulnerable.  Yet it is this crucial group that would be hit in the ‘preferred option’.   It underlines a view that social protection is for the poor, rather than for protecting the social.

What would happen if Child Benefit were taxed?  How would some income groups be hit?  Those on social protection would be protected – but low and average paid should watch out.

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New LookLeft Magazine Out Now

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Ireland’s leading magazine for progressive news, views and solutions – available in Easons stores and good independent newsagents across the country – 48 pages for just €2/£1.50

In the latest issue of LookLeft:

The New Frontline – Trade unions are re-forging their links with working class communities and building new alliances in the fight to defend vital local services, Dara McHugh reports

No More Victims – Ireland’s abortion laws have been claiming victims for decades, writes Stephanie Lord

Where’s the left? – The left of centre received its highest vote ever in the Republic in February 2011, but the country has since been run on unwaveringly right-wing lines without the political upheaval evident in other EU States. Kevin Brannigan asks what has happened to the Irish Left.

Beyond the Law: the US Military at Shannon Airport – In opposition, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore repeatedly committed himself to dealing with the US military’s use of Shannon Airport. But in Government what has he done? Paul Dillon reports

The Attack on Public Transport – The push towards privatisation at Dublin Bus is part of a wider strategy of undermining public transport in the name of profits. Harry Stoneman reports.

The Ideals Remain – Aleida Guevara, a Cuban paediatrician and daughter of revolutionary leader Che, visited Ireland in October and talked to Paul Dillon

A Stranger in Her Own Land – Palestinian politician Haneen Zoabi talks to Francis Donohoe about how Israel’s apartheid policies forced her to take a stand.

Eric Hobsbawm: Revolutionary Historian – Ultán Gillen looks at the life of the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, and how he helped transform our understanding of the history of the working class.

Plus much much more…

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