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What is the right question?

Slí Eile, Monday, July 20, 2009, of ‘progressive Economics” asks the question.

Is public spending in Ireland too high?

No he/she answers becuase..

Human beings deserve five basic things in life:
1. Love
2. Health
3. Education
4. Work
5. A chance to contribute and participate to society, culture and politics,

and he/she goes on…

In my view we should be

• defending the public services and public service workers line by line;
• defending the gains made by public sector workers in terms of employment, tenure, conditions (rather than play off one sector of society against another);
• promoting more public spending and not less in the current economic downturn in order to (i) further close the gap in terms of public services which remain very inadequate here compared to what should be considered right for a country at our level of economic development and (ii) stimulate domestic consumption and investment demand;
• reforming a public service that is inefficient, not well run in many cases, bureaucratically and centrally managed and overly politicised; and
• reducing spending in some areas only to divert it to other areas and increase the overall spending level.

Right, I say.  OK so far as it goes but it does not go at all far enough.  Why are only public servants and public beneficiaries owed the above consideration?  The reforms put forward are limited and set within the current paradigm of deep divisions between public and private sectors, within the limited set of conventional taxation options and the truly myopic understanding of monetary policy.

‘Progressive economics’ can only ask questions of quantity it seems.  Qualititiative questions such as ‘what kind spending’ of ‘what kind of money’ is still beyond this bunch of self proclaimed radicals.

Posted in Money Systems, News, Site Value Tax.

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