Elections and alternatives to austerity

Sat, May 17, 2014, 01:14

A chara, – Further to the assertion by Anthony Leavy (May 15th) that there is “no alternative to austerity”, it is true that the Government currently spends more than it gathers in taxation. However, the point that Mr Leavy apparently chooses to ignore is that the cuts in spending imposed by the Government affect the poorest and weakest in society far more than they do the wealthy and those on higher incomes.

Likewise, the taxes and charges imposed by this Government are designed to ensure that as many people as possible are required to pay them, with only lip-service paid to the fact that a great number of people simply cannot afford to pay. For many, it is not a question of their standard of living being lowered, it has become a question of deprivation, poverty and, in some cases, homelessness.

The appropriate taxation of wealth in this country would most likely not eliminate the need for some tax and cuts to be imposed on society as a whole, but a top-down approach would certainly be a nod toward a more equal society. It would also mitigate to some degree the burden imposed on the poorest in our country and would in all likelihood make the austerity measures that were imposed far more palatable.

The corporate taxation system in this country has been demonstrated to be a shambles, particularly in relation to large multinationals. It has been the subject of severe criticism in both the US and UK. There is certainly scope for an increased tax-take in this area without the spurious doomsday scenario peddled by some people, that of large multinationals running out the door at the slightest increase in taxation. – Is mise,

SIMON O’CONNOR,

Lismore Road,

Crumlin, Dublin 12.

Sir, – Ruth Coppinger (“Turn elections into referendum on unfair taxes and austerity”, Opinion & Analysis, May 14th) peddles the usual unworkable Toytown version of taxation and economics, just as Fianna Fáil did when, as an election ploy, it abolished property tax some years ago. – Yours, etc,

NICK STRONG,

Glin, Co Limerick.