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A Patent Lie: Ireland’s Capital Investment Stimulus

In its April 2008 review of Ireland’s economy, seen by the Government some 5 months prior to its publication, OECD has identified two salient medium term problems linked to the twin crises we are currently experiencing:

Reforming the taxation of housing. “…the unusually favourable tax treatment increases the role of housing in the economy and adds to volatility in the housing market. There should be a gradual move towards a more neutral system of housing taxation,” said OECD. Thus, even assuming its ignorance prior to the OECD report, the Government had at least 15 months since to design a functioning system of either land-value or property taxation, there by reducing the impact of the house prices slowdown.

Public spending needs to slow. “Fiscal performance has been strong in recent years but revenue growth has moderated as the economy, particularly the housing market, has weakened. Public expenditure is set to slow but it is important to avoid locking-in expensive commitments, particularly on public sector pay. As spending rises more slowly, improving public services will have to rely more on undertaking further reforms to public sector management and getting better value for money.” Once again, nothing has been done in over 15 months to address these recommendations.  Link to full article

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