Working Notes:Who Will Pay for the Recession?
In a recent interview, the writer Iain Banks, expressing strong criticism of senior British politicians, said that they were ‘very good at standing up to the weak and poor, and utterly pathetic at standing up against the rich and powerful; they roll over every single time’ (The Guardian, 8 September 2009). As we in Ireland watch measures being unfolded to deal with the banking crisis and the deficit in the public finances, we too may have cause to wonder if our decision-makers, and those who influence them, favour an approach of being ‘strong with the weak’ and ‘weak with the strong’.
In the opening article of this issue of Working Notes, Peter McVerry SJ explores the very different realities experienced by those at the top and those at the bottom of Irish society in terms of income, employment, housing, education and health. He points out that most of the decisions are made by those at the top, and that the imbalance in the influence of different sectors is evident in the proposals being made to address the shortfall in the public finances. He points to the cumulative impact of proposed cuts in social welfare and support services, highlighting that it is the same people who will be hit by cuts in different areas of expenditure. He challenges the use of ‘social solidarity’ to mean that everyone should share the pain of addressing the crisis, and says that social solidarity means, rather, that those who can afford to make sacrifices willingly do so in order to protect those who cannot afford a drop in income or cuts in services. Read More...
Posted in Economic Policy News