This position represents a drastic reversal of the attempted correction of the structural deficit and has the following long-run implications for Ireland:
- Since productivity gains do not address the issue of reducing actual spend in the public sector, the entire burden of correcting the structural deficit can be expected to fall on the shoulders of the taxpayers;
- If the deal commits the Government to no future cuts in public spending in Budgets 2011-2013, the deal will mean that the entire €13-14 billion in Budget adjustments needed before 2014 will have to be carried by the Irish taxpayers. This means taxes will have to rise by a massive €13,000 per annum per current tax payer - a move that would trigger a meltdown in the economy;
- Since higher earning taxpayers are already paying more than half of the income tax bill, the new taxes will have to disproportionately impact lower middle classes, thus in effect inflicting pain on the very workers whom the unions are allegedly aiming to protect;
- Since the structural deficit will remain unaddressed, Ireland will not reach 3% deficit target by 2014, or for that matter by 2020, implying that we will be facing excruciatingly high cost of borrowing through the next 10 years or so, a cost, once again to be carried by our middle and lower-middle classes.
In other words, if the Government does indeed sign up to the unions'-conjured 'plan' for 'efficiency'-exit from the deficit, it will be implicitly acting to derail any hope of a fiscal and economic recovery, while optimising its own political objectives.
PS: For all those who are keen on accusing me of being anti-Fianna Fail: nothing I write is designed to attack any political party in general or its members in totality. There are plenty of very good people in FF, and some of my friends are members of the party. There some competent, well-meaning and experienced members of the Government. Sometimes I disagree with them on policies, sometimes on ideologies, sometimes we agree. I express these views in public and privately. I always prefer an open debate.
The collective actions of the current Government, in my view, deserve very severe criticism. And that criticism I tend to provide: not behind the back, but in the open, publicly accessible fora.