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January 21, 2008

Comments

jim

I find these figures intriguing and coupled with other work you have presented here, particularly items like the breakdown of top earners, there is certainly something that seems understated in the media that the general public should be made completely aware of. If you were given the portfolio of finance tomorrow Michael, and the objective of affecting change in the wealth distribution in this country, while trying to not adversely affect the overall economy, how would you go about it? I would really like to hear your thoughts on this broad measures type conversation. Thanks again for such interesting information

Michael

Jim - big subject, and one that I have skirted too long. That is, what would I do. Not wanting to be smart, I would say the first thing is that I would go to the Taoiseach and ask to be moved to Enterprise and Employment because we gotta start creating wealth in a rational and redistributive way.

But if I had to stay at Finance - well, let me think on it and maybe I'll do a post on it. I would just say, for starters, that I would hone in on two things, among many: first, building up social insurance. It has the capacity to substantially increase people's living standards in very critical junctures of their lives (raising a family, sickness, leave for retraining, temporary unemployment, health care, childcare, old age, etc.). The second thing I would focus on would be to raise tax monies from non-productive sources of wealth - property, yachts, tax shelters, 4th and 5th cars. After all, 5% own 40% of the wealth. If they owned only 30% they could still keep their wine cellars but it would mean quite a bit extra to assist people and economic investment.

Excellen reply, Michael. This seems fair, logical and the right approach. It is measured, does not overtly hinder the environment necessary for risk takers to thrive and the economy to compete in a gobal market of wealth attraction posturing. It also does not seem very radical and is unlikely to scare or stir up all associations with the planned economies that revealed such poor performances after '89. I guess then the point is how is this 'right' packaged, how is the reallignment of goals regarding financial rewards advertsied to an electorate that have experienced one of the highest levels of growth in the world and has spent ten years in a right-wing economical system with which they understandably associate success.

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