It's Budget Day again in Ireland.
There's lots of talk again about who is going to 'take the pain'. According to The Sun, it will be carers, children, the poor and the elderly. No surprises there then. And unless you live in a silent wordless world you must know how many people are angry and frightened, as well as cold and hungry.
But I think there are those who have taken very little pain at all, and some may have even benefited from the recession. They are the people you see laden down with carrier bags on Dublin's premier shopping streets, who drive home in their luxury 12D cars. They pack out the distressed property auctions and hoover up the bargains. With cash.
They are responsible for a 40% increase in advance holiday bookings.
I wonder who are these people?
...young professionals in well-paid jobs, who live at home or rent?
...middle-aged people at the height of their careers with no mortgages?
...those elderly who are lucky enough to be on good pensions?
...cash for gold shop owners?
...financial insolvency consultants?
Should these people be taking the pain as well?
Oh no, say the pundits and politicians. Ireland needs these people. They are the backbone of the economy. Tax them and they will leave. Apparently there was an exodus of millionaires from Britain following the introduction of a 50p rate of tax for top earners.
Or is that just part of the picture. Millionaires fall on hard times too, it's happened in Ireland. Perhaps some of them would prefer to pay their taxes in case they ever need services and welfare, just like the rest of us.
Perhaps they're not all selfish, perhaps some of them care about the less fortunate and would like to help? Perhaps they will want to help Ireland recover...
And anyway, if they did go, would their loss to the economy be any more significant than the hemorrhaging of Irish people that we have now? The thousands of emigrants who leave every year. Young people, old people, families, all are leaving, and hollowing out communities all over the country. The loss of talent, the loss of spending, including social welfare cheques, can be seen in boarded up shops around the country and the despair on faces in the streets.
It seems that today's budget will just make a bad situation worse.
Seizures are the devil - "Fireman Max! Fireman Max! Can you hear me?" I pleaded as Max lay next to me. It's the name he responds to these days. Only he wasn't answering. We were ...