Budget? I hardly knew it.

Every year, the poor bastard with the big briefcase delivers the national budget. This year, as with every year for the next ten, it’ll be balancing act of “how hard of a screwing can the voters take without changing sides” with “what is Angie willing to pay for”. I’m not getting into the politics of this, just my interpretation of the facts. Here’s a few of the more important points

PROPERTY TAX

So you save for the deposit, you apply for the mortgage, and you just about get everything balanced. And then they tax the house. Make no fucking mistake, this is an increase in mortgage payments by other names which is the exact opposite of what middle and lower income families need right now. Great move, Enda! Thousands of families with two incomes on less than 100 euro a month after expenses, and you put up the price of the roof over their heads! What’s that? Exemptions? No, we have fuck all of those, thanks. Unless you’re a first time buyer (just approved for a mortgage from an irish bank, so most likely last spotted hanging out with a unicorn and a wookie) or moving into unoccupied houses (NONE of which have been built since the crash meaning they’ve been gathering dust and bugs for 4 years – move me in!).

TOBACCO

Ten cent on a twenty box? Grand, unlike every other affected party in this budget us smokers are used to the taste of taxman cock in the back of our throats. Fifty cent on a 25g pouch of tobacco is going to hurt the students and the older smokers though, and seems extremely disproportionate for the relatively low number of smokers involved.

ALCOHOL

A full euro on a bottle of wine, which used to be the refuge of the “quiet night in” to avoid the ubertaxed pints in the pubs, is going to hit the couples and students alike. Happily it won’t affect tonic wine. Pro Tip for unseasoned career drinkers : Buckfast gets you Fuckedfast.

TRANSPORT

No change to petrol but an increase in VRT. What does this mean? A friend of mine once suggested that the price of petrol increase to cover the cost of state-supplied road insurance for all. To me, this made sense (and not just because i’d love to see his inner socialist break free). Naturally, the government have done the exact opposite of taxing everyone based on usage of the roads, and instead have decided to slap an equal fine on everyone with a car. The old lady driving once a week gets the same increase as the career road user, which in anyone’s language is completely tits over arse.

EDUCATION

Does anyone remember the early 90s? A labour/FG coalition bragging about making third level education free? Yeah, it now costs as much to start college in Ireland as it did in the UK under Thatcher. Why? Well, the colleges (ITs in particular) have two sources of revenue – government funding and registration fees. One goes up, the other stays up. One goes down, the other needs to go WAY up. And guess what? 25 million less euro will be put into third level this year than last. I wonder where the cash-strapped ITs will take the money back? If any of you out there have kids filling in their CAO this year you’ll see soon. The registration fees will go up, the students will protest, RTE will be ordered not to cover the issue, and as ever the parents will pay for “free” education.

PUBLIC SERVICE

Nope, I haven’t suddenly decide to trade my private sector tattoo for a public sector harp and bucket of tears. It’s just that the announcement to reduce the number of state workers pretty much guarantees the death of Labour (in spectacular, PDs and Greens fashion) at the next election. Where’s Labour’s base? The cities. Who are their staunchest allies? The unions. Who do the unions represent? UH-OH!!!!

INCOME TAX

Once again, as per promise, no change. Those of you who know me will understand why I think we should be paying more income tax, and that hasn’t changed. Let me break it down again, and try to concentrate : People with more money pay more into the kitty so that people with less can benefit as equals. Does this mean that my hard-earned kav dollars pay for benefit fraudsters? Yes, it does. Of course, it also means they pay for roads, hospitals, schools, energy infrastructure, communications, law enforcement, and everything else that contributes to EVERYONE’S standard of living. On the other hand, an income tax increase means fuck all at this point for two reasons:

1. Nobody has any disposable income left anyway

2. Fuck all of everyone still has any income

So no change for purely (and i do mean this) political, vote-sucking, constituency-fellating reasons. Cowardice from Fine Gael. Complete abandonment of supposed ethos from Labour. No surprise.

HEALTHCARE

After tobacco, guns, and mobile phones, the easiest way in the world to make money is by selling pharmaceuticals. Over-the-counter drugs are, in many cases, items that people quite literally have to buy to live. Up until now the tax was 50c per item. Scandalous! And there we were paying just a 1500% markup to Proctor and their ilk! Luckily the brave men of the coalition have increased this by a full euro per item. Good work guys! That’ll help thin out the herd a bit!

PARENTAL BENEFITS

Oh how i DO love this one. Childcare benefit has been dropped by a tenner a month per child unless you have four or more, in which case the government’s attitude is “tie a knot in the fucking thing or buy a telly FFS”. A tenner a month, right? Not so bad, right? Well, that depends. To a family paying 600 a month in rent with three kids, that’s 5% of their non-amendable cost of living that just dissolved. After tax, of course.

Still ,it’s not all bad, right? Well hold on just a minute, because mom has nipper number four on the way and now her maternity pay is taxable too! Hurrah! Good thing the cost of kids has gone up, seeing as nobody could afford to house, educate or employ them anyway, right?

So in case you missed it, sell your car, stop smoking , stop drinking at home OR out, don’t have kids and if you do don’t DARE educate them, don’t buy a house. All in all a set of measures designed to keep people from spending money. I’m no economist, but surely that’s not quite what a stagnant economy needs?

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Budget? I hardly knew it.

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