Bitching Brew

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Philosophy in an Irish government?! I can't even snigger.

This is probably only of interest to an economics and philosophy student. (Me!) But anyway. I saw this quote in a Financial Times article on EU tax policy this morning:

"The idea of harmonising Europe's tax base is being resisted by Britain and Ireland which have philosophical objections to the EU becoming involved in tax matters and the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovakia, which set low rates of corporate tax."

Two points.

1. Why is Ireland in the former category? It's notorious for its low rates of corporate tax, unlike Britain.
2. Irish governments don't do "philosophical". Never have done, most likely never will. They have done "theological" in the past, but that was an unmitigated disaster. (Skip to the second half of the article.) Sadly, many vestiges still remain. Here's a related paper which may be of interest. Beware, it's long, but it illustrates some nasty outcomes where separation of church and state isn't total.

Sorry, I can't take seriously an article which makes even a passing reference to Irish political philosophy. That kind of thing died with Edmund Burke. We don't do principled government. We do brazen kow-towing to lobby groups and the super-wealthy. We do short-sighted pork barrel vote-grabbing.

I'm pleased that our government is sometimes capable of practical economics. That's all I'll give them credit for. Two whole years to an election, alas. Which offers the appetising choice of returning a complacent, incompetent, bloated and greedy administration, electing a big-government, probably incompetent, lazy compromise of a coalition, or voting for a terrorist organisation's Marxist political wing. All parties propose 'further spending' as the solution to everything. (Cutting spending and using taxpayers' money efficiently wouldn't get the civil servants' votes, of course.)

I think I'll just emigrate and leave the country to rot.

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