Reply left in response to the Irish Times leader column titled Austerity and solidarity, published Wednesday August 8th.
Why should social solidarity support the State and its institutions? Isn’t that getting things ass backwards?
Let’s do a quick run-down of how the State and its institutions have been operating of late:
a) tens of billions of euro funnelled away from vital public services and into the coffers of private bondholders;
b) the writing into law of the primacy of debt repayment, over and above any kind of public spending on vital services such as health, education and social welfare, achieved through the threat of catastrophe on the part of government officials in a campaign backed by local and international business elites ;
c) a commitment on the part of the government to privatise State assets, which is to say, hand them over to finance capitalists so that the latter can profit from them, in order to service debt repayments to the aforementioned finance capitalists;
d) a highly favourable taxation regime for corporations that goes untouched in successive budgets;
e) the elevation of executives in financial firms to the status of citizens of privilege, whereby executives of firms who come and work in Ireland enjoy lower taxation burdens than ordinary workers, getting special relief for sending their children to private schools with the blessing of the State;
f) threats, on the part of government officials, including the Taoiseach, to withdraw access to water –considered a human right in other jurisdictions but denied any such status here- should people not pay the charges imposed on them so that private banker debts can be repaid: a de facto privatisation.
Not much social solidarity going on there. And what this leader article is arguing is that if you cut spending on benefits too much, an agenda characterised by the kind of things listed above, and State institutions capable of implementing it, will be threatened.
If the opening sentence had read ‘AT A time of intense economic pressure, the State and its institutions are a vital component in providing support for social solidarity’, it might have expressed a laudable interest in ensuring the interests of the wider public were protected against pressure coming from powerful and unaccountable economic interests. Instead, it argues we should not boil the frog too quickly, lest it realise what’s going on and jump out of the pan.