Slí Eile: Social Justice Ireland is to be commended for taking on the Dublin Consensus by working on an alternative budget. SJI has gone through the numbers to come up with a more just way of fiscal adjustment - taking the €4bn adjustment as a given it takes up the previous commitment to raise taxes by €1.9bn and cut spending by €2.25bn. In a paper summarised here, it takes some ideas from the McCarthy report on cutting some areas of public spending while defending - at all costs - those in poverty and low pay through no reduction in social welfare.
It places the challenge
'If we are going to have Romanian levels of taxation then we have to be prepared to accept Romanian levels of social services and infrastructure as well as Romanian levels of salaries.'
On the downside, I see major disadvantages in operating within the framework, assumptions and parameters set by Government. In other words, instead of falling into the 'cuts or taxes' and 'right limb or left leg' dilemmas we need to pursue a twin track approach of investing in infrastructure and helping to boost economic activity and, secondly, widening the tax base to bring in our wealthier brethren into the net.