I was going to write a considered blog about Budget 2013, but then I decided “F**K it, why bother?” After all, there are 166 TDs and 60 senators who are paid full-time to worry about this stuff, and they don’t take it seriously, so why should I? They don’t even get to see the single most important piece of legislation of the year until it is finished. Perhaps the Bundestag, a proper parliament, has seen it, but our guys don’t even get annoyed that they don’t have any input. What’s with that anyway? I asked a political hack about it once, and he said that if everybody knew in advance what taxes were coming, they’d change their behaviour and the government would lose out on tax revenue. So, I said, the basic reason for budget secrecy is to allow the government to quickly trick taxpayers out of their money before they can do anything about it? Can I quote you on that? He clammed up pretty quickly.
But even that answer doesn’t make sense anymore, given the amount of budget leaks, which no one ever gets prosecuted for, by the way. No, the truth is that budget secrecy is kept because backbench TDs are wimps.
But that’s not why I’m not going to bother. It’s because our budget debates are not about rational discussions about prioritising one vulnerable group over another less vulnerable group, and divvying up the available cash that way. It’s about emotional hand-wringing and button-pressing, because, as Dave McSavage pointed out, the Irish mind can’t process figures, only stories. So here’s some words you can assemble into your own Budget 2013 blog. Or play Budget Bingo with.
Dignity. Fairness. Vulnerable. Cherish our children equally. Hard-working families. Tax the rich. The bankers. The bond-holders. Fat cats. Golden circle. Public services. Cutbacks. Victimes. Jobs. Abolish. Restore. Wealth tax. Jobs programme. Stolen oil and gas.