The benefits of inequality

Wed, Jul 30, 2014, 01:40

Sir, – Well done to Chris Johns for his excellent article (July 29th) highlighting the ESRI report that confirms that income inequality in Ireland is less than in many other EU countries. This is a welcome retort to the hysteria from left-wingers who speak of the need to tackle income inequality as if Ireland was run like a 19th century laissez faire economy.

It is seldom argued in Ireland that income inequality is in itself not necessarily a bad thing. Equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome is rarely the refrain of public debate. Those on the left, and some who claim to be on the right, who wish to take even more from hardworking people’s wages will never understand that income tax is not their money.

The need to balance social welfare and tax policy remains a challenge. Why is someone who is laid off after working for 20 years receiving, in relative terms, similar welfare benefits to someone who has rarely if ever worked? What Ireland urgently needs is an individual benefits voucher system that rewards hard working people and encourages others off long-term welfare. Yours, etc,

JOHN KENNY,

Arundel,

Monkstown Valley

Co Dublin