Those of us who oppose Sinn Fein tend to be very quick off the mark at attacking Sinn Fein’s economic policy, normally by listening to their easy painless If-Only-We-Had-A-Government-That-Cared solutions and throwing stuff at the telly.
Yet, I decided recently that that was not good enough, and so decided to actually read some of their policies.
Trawling around their website, the document that caught my eye was their 2007 budget submission. Now, bearing in mind that it is two years old, was written before the current crisis, and I’m taking their figures at face value, it does give a fascinating look into the mindset within Sinn Fein.
First, one should note that it advocates at least (Not everything is costed. To their credit, most is.) an extra €3.7 billion in taxpayer funded public spending, and one presumes that reversing existing cutbacks would also be put on top of that. The fact that they opposed the cutbacks makes that, I think, a reasonable observation.
Most of the spending is good laudable mom and apple pie stuff, but what is really interesting is what they call in the document “revenue boosting proposals.” Even the language is interesting, in that it is not money to cover the costs of the extra cash, just something to be put towards it. Here are some of the choice ones:
” 50% tax rate on high income earners with incomes over €100,000.” Does that mean they pay 50% on the extra, which will raise little, or 50% on the total?
” Increase corporate tax from 12.5% to 17.5%” As foriegn companies can find cheaper tax regimes elsewhere, is this not effectively a tax on Irish business?
” A significant immediate curtailment of the tax incentives for occupational pensions, PRSAs…” So private sector workers get clobbered for providing their own pensions, whilst getting taxed to provide public sector pensions?
” …by giving asylum seekers the right to work they will pay tax and therefore contribute revenue to the exchequer.” I agree with this. I suspect Sinn Fein doesn’t stress this policy whilst canvassing in Jobstown.
” Increase capital gains tax from 20% to 40%” This one always underlines the difference between people who work for a living, and people who spend other people’s money for a living. The idea that this will raise huge extra taxes is laughable, because a recently married couple who want to sell their second flat will just wait until the tax is cut, as it will be by the next government, and save themselves 20%. It’s so huge it is worth waiting. As a result, you’re getting an extra 20% of nothing.
“Immediately end tax breaks for private hospitals….and ultimately replace the private system within an agreed timetable.” In effect, abolish private healthcare. Because the state runs healthcare so well.
“Overall, the NESF has estimated that for every €1 invested in early childcare and education a return of €7.10 can be expected.” How, by selling the children into slavery? Voodoo economics at its finest. It may even be true, but to count this as a revenue boosting proposal is taking the piss.
What’s most striking about the SF approach if the belief that a country’s wealth is some sort of natural occurring phenomenon to be tapped. It assumes that people who generate wealth will be quite happy to just accept SF confiscating their hard earned money, as opposed to moving to Britain which will soon have a Tory government. It also engages in the Big Fat Lie that nearly all the Irish left engage in: That high spending on public services can be done without cost to the ordinary PAYE worker. It’s the funny thing about Irish socialists. They’re not. The key tenet of socialism is that the common good is funded by mutual sacrifice. That’s not what SF or the rest of the Irish left offer, instead offering a type of George W. Bush Republicanism: Low taxes, high spending and some one else will pick up the tab. It’s a con.
You can see the original document here.