The Fiscal Treaty files: How much will it cost?

While there are many questions to be asked and answered during the referendum campaign on the Fiscal Treaty, let’s start with asking about its cost. By Michael Taft.

The very first question that should be answered is how much more austerity the passage of the Fiscal Treaty will mean. After all, this is a ‘fiscal’ treaty. It is intended to have an impact on Government budgets. So the first question should be: what fiscal impact will this fiscal treaty have on Ireland’s fiscal policy.

The triumph of spin over substance

Job creation rates are weak, real wages are falling, and consumer spending remains in decline - putting even more pressure on businesses. How can it be said that austerity is 'working'? By Michael Taft.

Poorer and more unequal

While other EU countries have taken steps to prevent low-income groups from disproportionately suffering as a result of the recession, in Ireland we get poorer and more unequal. By Michael Taft.

At a meeting of Labour Party activists, Dr. Mary Murphy – a leading academic and activist – made the following statement:

“We may be a poorer country, but that does not mean we must be a more unequal country.”

The Finance Bill: To those that have...

The Finance Bill is a pretty grim affair all round. By Michael Taft.

The Finance Bill, running to nearly 300 pages, is out. There’s the odd sliver of good news – the 5% levy on the sheltered income from legacy property tax relief for those earning over €100,000, for instance. Otherwise, it’s a pretty grim affair, putting into effect a regressive budget.

But there are little stories that inform the broad narrative set down by the Government. Let’s run through four of them.

Working our way into the poorhouse

Though Richard Bruton uses the word “reform”, the reality is that the Government's legislation on Joint Labour Committees is intended to achieve a reduction in overall wage levels. By Michael Taft.

As the Joint Labour Committees legislation wends its way through the Dáil – a bill that will lead to less protection for workers in many low-paid sectors – it is timely to look at the growth in deprivation for an increasing number in the workforce; namely the low-paid. The CSO defines deprivation by reference to eleven categories:

Last night the Government signed up to €6bn more in austerity measures

The Government, in signing the Fiscal Treaty, has effectively committed itself to introducing up to €6bn more in tax increases and spending cuts in the medium-term, over and above what it has already planned. While the news in the short-term will, understandably, focus on whether a referendum will be necessary, once attention starts honing in on the details of the treaty, we will all come to understand why this agreement has come to be known as the “austerity treaty”.