5. Work together to implement a reform agenda
(i) to implement an agenda for enterprise and competitiveness based on the Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal: Building Ireland’s Smart Economy including:
- building on strengths in the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food sectors (back to De Valera's Dream, then?)
- developing the ideas economy with intensified R&D activity and greater commercialisation of the output of that research (more MIT Media Labs and E-voting machines?)
- supporting the manufacturing sector (How?)
- encouraging entrepreneurship and business start-ups (by raising taxes and taking more money out of families' pockets?)
- pursuing opportunities to expand the services sector, in particular international services (by doing what?)
- realising the long-term potential of the tourism sector (How? By setting a minimum wage that makes our labour uncompetitive? By hiking VAT rates and adding new taxes on tourism?)
- improving trade, investment and tourism links with new and fast-developing markets (more junkets to exotic destinations for the Cabinet?)
- pursuing opportunities in the Green Enterprise sector, including in the area of energy efficiency (aka we take your money and your light bulbs?)
(ii) to develop a new approach to upskilling and reskilling those in employment and those outside the labour market; we will convene a Jobs and Skills Summit in March 2009 to devise innovative approaches to maintenance of employment, creation of new employment and early and active engagement with those losing their jobs; we will also seek to maximise eligible support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for initiatives to support those who are made redundant
(Read: we'll get FAS to fly back to see NASA and beg the EU to give us some handouts to pay for their trips)
(iii) to ensure that sheltered sectors of the economy, including professional services, bear their full share of the burden of adjustment
(This Government cannot even force its own employees to take a cut, imagine them going after protected professions? But what they will do is tax. Tax anyone with a degree - for people who invested in their education tend to earn more. Tax anyone with skills - for people with skills tend to earn more. Tax anyone with experience - for... well - you get the wind.)
(iv) to implement the employment rights provisions in the Towards 2016 Transitional Agreement
(And raise wages and perks for the least productive in our economy?)
(v) to deliver measurable public service reform to improve the efficiency and quality of public services, based on the Government’s Statement on Transforming the Public Service published in 2008
(Since 2008, the Government sat on its hands, doing absolutely nothing about this. Will they change their mind? Not. The entire programme proposed by Mr Cowen today is a give-away to the public sector trade unions and politically-connected lobbies. Mark my words - there will be no change!)
(vi) to continue implementation of the Health Service Reform Programme, including utilising the Health Forum under Towards 2016
(After a gratuitous increase in pay for consultants in exchange for no new responsibilities or any work load increases, there hardly anyone in the country who believes in this drivel)
(vii) to finalise a comprehensive framework for future pension policy which responds to the challenges facing the Irish pensions system in the years ahead
(Read: mandatory pensions, claw back of tax benefits for pensions savings and vast transfers of pensions-linked wealth from the private sector. In other words - another tax!)
(viii) to ensure our approach to regulation, accountability and corporate governance delivers a sustainable society and economy
(Mr Cowen's speak for more red tape on ordinary businesses!)
The Government and Social Partners commit to work intensively over the immediate period ahead to develop specific measures to finalise and then implement a Pact based on this framework.
This 'plan' is a classic example of “How to Destroy a Country in Five Easy Steps” guide:
1) Raise taxes in a recession;
2) Yield on everything to the narrow interest groups;
3) Spend precious taxpayers cash on feel-good Government waste;
4) Pile on more regulation and delegate democracy to an unelected group of public sector lobbyists;
5) Keep rolling back your previous promises and commitments (i.e Mr Lenihan’s repeated promises that he will not raise taxes)
If this is Mr Cowen’s way, his philosophy, would the last person leaving this country turn of the lights, please!
The scale of the incompetence is truly frightening.
I'm only a half-wit on the street, but even I can see that the forecasts of this "framework" are completely inaccurate. At the start of this year, unemployment sat at 8.3% (cso.ie), yet these clowns are talking about "an increase in unemployment to more than 10%". Given the waiting lists at local welfare offices, and the fact that unemployment statistics generally lag behind actual figures, we're already at the 10% mark. By the year end, we'll be at between 14%-16% unemployment, possibly more. The "6.2% decline in GDP and an 8.2% decline in GNP over the 2008-10 period" is another nonsensical prediction. House building alone will be responsible for those kinds of falls over that period.
Despite the fact that many people warned of the ensuing crisis, the government claims, "no one saw it coming". Also, instead of addressing the real issue (crippling uncompetitiveness), you'll hear the two Brian's blame the "global financial crisis". It's an easy scapegoat, and it allows our leaders to play fiddle (bail-out their builder and banker buddies), while Rome burns (that's you an me paying taxes for their mistakes, Constantin).
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