(Rant Warning Duly Issued!!)
I fear the Irish social balance is tipping beyond the point of recovery. The extreme levels of potential difference could well be about to flash-over and discharge like a lightening bolt.
I've posted a number of times about the vigorously growing "Black Economy" in Ireland - it is growing by the day. It is partially driven by the gross imbalances in our society, and also by the unfair taxation being placed on rich and poor alike, and taking little or no cognisance of fairness and balance.
On the one hand you have an over-paid elite on €200,000+ per year - who cannot see what the problem is, and on the other end of the scale you have families trying to subsist on about €10,000, who cannot see for the anger they feel at the injustices they experience. Yet both of these groups are being taxed exactly the same in many instances.
The most recent tax introduced is a €100 household tax.The €100 to those on incomes of €100,000 is a thing of nothing. But to those at the other end of the income scale, it is frequently the difference between eating or not eating, between heating the home, and not heating the home, between having medical treatment or doing without. The situation represents nothing short of social injustice and I believe it to be morally wrong. The same dynamic is true for the carbon tax and the VAT placed on essential heating fuels.
A €100 household tax, carbon tax and 13.5% VAT on essential heating fuels - all on a country where there is some 40% fuel poverty??? Is this a collective madness or what?
The social imbalance, and the gross injustices that these imbalances actually represent, are giving birth to civil disobedience movements lead by some rebel members of the Irish parliament. There is a move afoot to rally the masses into not paying the household levy. There is also a growing anger among the less well off, as they see the fat cats prosper while they are squeezed ever harder.
What we do not want is a breakdown in the civil order. It is my belief that clear and decisive actions need to be taken immediately to avert this imminent danger.
Not until the hard-pressed and poorer half of the population see the well-off paying their fair share. Not until the government have the gonads to take on a bloated and inefficient public service sector. Not until the Irish Parliament take a moral lead by reducing their own huge salaries and pensions by a substantial amount, like 50%, and not until they additionally limit their obscene and obese expenses to say €10,000 of ticketed items a year, will there be any appetite in the population for the hair-shirt taxation now being placed on rich and poor alike.
It is a déja vu situation echoing past times when Charlie Haughy, addressing the nation, told the Irish people to tighten their belts, while, at the very same time, he was buying a bunch of Charvet shirts in Paris for £16,000 or what amounted to more than two years income for most.