Economics can be useful. By this I dont mean the quasi’mathematical faffing about that some , including practitioners, think of as economics. Nor do I mean forecasting, something economists are both poor at and addicted to doing. I mean the way of thinking, the juxtaposing of scarce resources versus unlimited desires. In higher education this last while we see how useful it might be.
The most annoying aspect of the entire omnishambles that is Irish Water is that it is ongoing, fractal, and recursive. Take my efforts to get them to TAKE MY MONEY.. which they wont. Is there no end to the inefficiency of this organisation?
Today, billionaire business man, newspaper mogul and telecoms operator, Denis O’Brien, declined to sue someone. Speaking from somewhere sunny, Mr O’Brien commented on the recent Waterford Whispers satire on his being jailed
“Look, yeah, its close to the bone, but d’yknow, sure isnt satire part of our Irish heritage. I had a bit of a wince, effed and blinded them, but then went for a walk and said the hell with it, its a feckin satirical paper, and I dont want to seem like a bully squashing all and everyone who says boo about me, not that I really give a shite, to be honest, just, well..So, let them off”
Asked about the recent suggestion he would sue the Dail Committee on Procedures and Priviliges, he commented
“that shower….anyhow, look, she said what she said, turns out theres no way to stop it, and they make up their own rules. I think thats bad form, but theres nothing I can do about it, and I have better things to do than fund pointless legal challenges”
The above is of course satire.
So yesterday, and this was news to me, we got another unique one per person number. Apart form the PPSN, used for pretty much every state and many non state ID purposes, and the new pupil number for the POD database, we are now to have a unique IHI health ID number. This project is uncosted, and hasnt really been told not to mind sold to people.
I asked the Chief Information Officer of the HSE if the PPSN would work. Yes. Ok, there are a host of data protection issues, but the reality is what the new IHI will be is a key to identify patient details on a database. That database, and the access to same, and the security of the key etc, they will all have to be dealt with. So, when the CIO says the existing state system would work, why on earth are we putting in a new one?
So, Denis v The Parliament of Ireland rolls on. It not being a bank holiday in Malta, where Mr O’Brien is not a tax exile, a new day a new writ. This time its to take the Dail Committee on Procedures and Privileges to court to …well, who knows. This results of course from the same CPP ruling that there was no breach of procedure or privilege in Catherine Murphy TD reading into the record allegations on REDACTED. Err…hang on.
Ireland has a tax problem.. If we were to collect tax at Greek levels, we would take in €8b extra. Greece,…Think about that for a little while and wonder how we could spend that on investment, debt paydown, and increased social services. The chart shows how much more we could raise in taxation if we were to levy tax at the rate of our compeers.
We don’t, really, as an economy pay as much as we should for the services we want. There, I said it. In 2012 we collected 28.7% of GDP in tax. The EU average is closer to 40%. Taxing at the EU average we could have nearly €18b more pa to deploy, taxing at Danish levels nearly €32b. The next time a politician says we dont have resources to prosecute white collar crime, to treat sick children decently, show them the graph here. Continue reading