Colm Keena reported in The Irish Times recently on a survey carried out by think-tank Tasc, which suggested that just under 80 per cent of people believe the State should fund healthcare through general taxation. It also reported that:
– 88 per cent believe old age provision should be State-funded
– 87 per cent believe education should be State-funded
– 58 per cent believe childcare should be State-funded
The Irish Times also reported that “The findings constitute a resounding endorsement of universal public service provision,” said Tasc director Paula Clancy. “It is particularly noteworthy that a majority of ABC1 respondents – who would be faced with higher taxes in order to fund universal service provision – believed that all the specified services should be State-funded. This bears out what Tasc has always argued, and what previous Tasc surveys have shown: the Irish public has a strong instinct towards solidarity,” Ms Clancy said. “At a time when the talk is all about cuts in public services, these findings should give the Government pause for thought,” she said.
You ask people in a poll as to whether they believe that they should get free stuff, and are surprised that they say Yes? Where’s the next question, about paying for this stuff? Show me the poll that says that those same people will support a property tax, or water tax, or 10 or 20% reduction in their take home pay to fund it. Then show me those self-same people actually walking into a polling station in a general election and voting for candidates running openly on that platform. Show me that.
The sad thing is, some people will read this and say “Well, what do you expect, he’s a right-winger!” but that’s just a lazy answer. I support the welfare state, but what I support more is honesty. Let those candidates who support the Tasc agenda run on an open platform of increasing taxes and reducing take-home pay. It’s perfectly noble as a platform. If I’m willing to stand up and oppose it, why are they not willing to stand up and defend it?