Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

If it’s bad today – it was bad on Saturday

March 3rd, 2009 · 4 Comments · Elections, Irish Politics, Recession

Several times on Saturday at the Ard Fheis I wondered aloud and online about the absence of news. Ok so there’s no money available to announce anything new but that shouldn’t stop a bit of “makey uppey re-announcing previous new news” if you understand me.

I did hear that everything was being put into the Taoiseach’s speech. So it came and went with a nod towards new, better, longer lasting, deep cleaning, financial regulation preceded by Dempsey’s call to arms and denial of crime, sleaze and wrongdoing.

There were some admissions that tax was going to go up but nothing specific. Brian Lenihan told the conference.

Both the Taoiseach and I have said tax increases and the broadening of the base are an essential part of our plan to get the country back on the road to economic recovery.

Today – a very short 3 days later – we are in mini budget land and increases in tax on the lower and higher rate and a new higher even still rate are being discussed. The Taoiseach told the Dáil this afternoon

“We will in the coming weeks, before the end of this month, come forward with whatever measures are necessary to do so, either in terms of expenditure savings and/or tax raising?.

So that’s a mini budget in 3 weeks and a even greyer pall of gloom covers the land (and I don’t mean the snow). World By Storm also asks why we could not have been told on Saturday, or any day in the last 6 months. We didn’t need the exchequer figures today to work it out.

And the ridiculous aspect of this? Had the Government come clean last October, had it attempted to make a serious effort to reposition the tax base and do it in such a way that it was equitable and the inflows were seen to be directed towards fiscal stimulants, sure, it is unlikely that the opposition would have been satisfied, but arguably the social partners might have found their way to accept it.

All that time wasted. All that time gone. And still we have to do what should have been done from the off. Because at the root of the Governments inability to change has been their sense that all was still as it was before. That you can run an economy with even the half-assed level of public provision we currently have on low taxation and the sniff of gasoline from the construction sector.

Well, we now know for certain just how wrong that assumption was, even if many of us contested their approach from the off.

By the way Mary Hanafin’s speech is still missing from Saturday’s proceedings. The FF website has everyone else’s speech bar the Minister for Social and Family Affairs. If it’s so good it might be worth transcribing or giving us the notes?

The Minister had news to announce today alright – the scrapping of the publication/introduction of a National Strategy for Carers. One of the items worth noting in case it gets missed in the rush to deliberate/drown sorrows on the mini budget.

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