Labour and inequality

Posted: May 1, 2012 in Inequality, Labour

Fintan O’Toole and Brendan Curran had an interesting exchange in the Irish Times last week on the issue of the Labour Party and inequality. Below is a letter I wrote to the Irish Times on the discussion.

A chara, Brendan Curran (letters 27.4.12) fails to deal with the central issue in Fintan O’Tooles article (Opinion, April 24), namely that budget 2012 took more from the poor than it did from the rich.

An ESRI report on the distributional impact of recent budgets published on February 24 of this year (Callan et. al.) concluded that, “Budget 2012 involved greater proportionate losses for those on low incomes; reductions of about 2 to 2 1/2 per cent for those with the lowest incomes, as against losses of about 3/4 of a per cent for those on the highest incomes.”

The ESRI blames indirect taxation hikes (VAT & carbon tax) and cuts to social welfare payments for the unequal distribution of the cuts in Fine Gael and Labours first budget.

Page 49 of the report includes a startling graph that shows how Budget 2012 was the first since the start of the recession that actually took more from the low paid than from the high paid.

The clear conclusion from the ESRI report is that the Fine Gael Labour budget is more regressive that all of the Fianna Fail austerity budgets combined.

That Fine Gael would act to protect the rich is hardly a surprise. That the Labour Party would support such an unfair budget is deeply shocking.

Is mise, Eoin Ó Broin, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

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