From the Guardian -
Spending a few days in Dublin last week, I had a chance to sample a little of the vibe close up. The leader of Ireland’s trade union congress, David Begg, summed it up: “There’s a very angry mood in the country. Until recently, if you’d stopped somebody on the street and asked them what they really thought, they’d have said ‘If we keep our heads down for a couple of years, we can get back to where we were before’. That was fed by government fiction about green shoots of recovery. The dawning realisation is that the picture is far worse.”
So far, provisions have been made for €45bn of losses at Ireland’s leading banks – Anglo Irish, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Irish Nationwide, which amounts to €10,000 for every Irish man, woman and child. Using funds from the country’s national pension reserve, a further €10bn will be added to the bill following last month’s international rescue package. That’s not gone down well.
“It’s not a bailout package, it’s a transfer of wealth from the ordinary worker to the banks,” Colm Stephens, a university administration worker, told me. “We’re being asked to rescue the richest people in the world – the people who gambled and lost, who bet on every horse in the race.”
Every man, woman and child in Ireland is going to suffer raised taxes and cut benefits when the major beneficiaries of the boom are untaxed and unaffected by the crisis. That’s right. The banking industry is not going to be paying for the bailout, not even part of the bailout. The weight falls on the regular citizens of Ireland, their lamented and unprotected middle class.
Is that what’s going to happen here? Are we going to have cuts in Social Security benefits, Medicare and social services while the enormous financial industry pays nothing?
It is easy to see that a transaction tax or Robin Hood tax could raise hundreds of billions of dollars. Why are they who have reaped every conceivable benefit from the American taxpayer not paying a fair share?
Is the middle class the only part of the economy where taxes can be raised and benefits cut?