This time it’s personal! There are so many of us caught in the middle, being squeezed, squashed and tormented, that it is time we stood up and screamed for help. I am talking about the middle range tax payers and workers, private and public, who are caught in the middle of this current economic situation. I am talking about those who earn between €25k and €250k. Yeah, that is rather broad, but it is relevant.
Those below this range have a support system in place, and rightly so, backed up by the government in the form of allowances, no direct taxes to pay, generally, and benefits in place across a range of services. (I am speaking generally.) Those above this range are very wealthy, generally, and perhaps for the purpose of this article can I say okay?
Now I know I am generalising, but indulge me for a moment.
It is those caught in the middle that are hurting the most. The workers, the small to medium employers, the public servants, the private workers… Those in the middle to whom the government has depended upon to an extraordinary extent for the rescue of the economy. These are the ones that prop up the public purse; these are the ones have and continue to bail out the banks. These are the bit in the middle.
What have the bit in the middle got? More pain, more pressure, more compliance, more taxes. They are paying increased tuition fees for third level, heading close to €3,000 pa, water charges, household taxes, increased premiums on health insurance, after tax crèche payments and on and on it goes. More pressure every day, higher prices and, at the end of the month, what have they got left? There really is no let up for those in the middle.
Health insurance is essentially a €2 billion a year “fear tax” paid by about half the population out of after tax income. Those same people who are paying this fear tax are paying for the public health system through their taxes.
Energy companies are making huge profits out of those of us who have no choice again and the stark lack of competition in this area. A regulator who appears to favour only upward only price changes leaves us in a terrible state with these burgeoning increases. Domestic energy prices have risen by almost 25 per cent since the collapse in 2007. Why? Larger profits for the energy companies or global energy markets.
And I haven’t even gotten to the USC, that famous temporary universal social charge. It most certainly is not social; it is not universal to tax payers; but it is definitely a charge. This famous seven per cent “solidarity” tax now seems to be a permanent part of our salaries or wages. In my opinion, it is neither social nor moral that this continues.
During the worst crisis in our economy for some time, the Government has seen it fit to pile more and more taxes, charges and levies with no let-up for those caught in the middle. It’s time for it to stop; we cannot take any more pressure. We need tax breaks now.
Maybe being the bit on the side is not such a bad thing after all. Oh but the pain of longing!