When Bertie Ahern added the phrase “smoke and daggers” to the English language we all smiled. Little did we suspect it would become the perfect metaphor for Minister Lenihan’s latest Budget.
While middle- and lower- income workers were peering into the smoke surrounding the income levy, perhaps breathing a sigh of relief that, for most of them, it had only increased by 1%, the Minister slipped his health levy stiletto, almost unnoticed, between their ribs.
This health levy increase is effectively a 2% hike in personal tax rates for everyone. Why not simply increase the income levy by the equivalent amount and face the music? If our political leaders want to gain public confidence, they’ll have to learn how to practise transparency and honesty in their dealings with us.
Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Times & Irish Independent
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