Some people have been rather upset today to learn that Social Protection Minister Joan Burton is plotting another yet another tax hike on self-employed workers.
According to the Irish Independent, Ms Burton is targeting the self-employed for increased PRSI in Budget 2014, from the current 4% rate to 6%.
However, this news doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.
Why so?, I hear you ask. Isn’t it beyond obvious at this stage that tax hikes increase unemployment? And, surely the Social Protection Minister wants to shorten, not lengthen, the dole queues?
But therein lies the rub, and the cold and cunning method in Ms. Burton’s apparent madness.
When a self-employed worker goes out of business, they normally won’t be entitled to Jobseekers Benefit.
So they don’t become a drain on the social welfare budget.
This explains why Joan Burton is quite happy to target a dwindling pool of self-employed workers for PRSI hikes.
She knows full well that if they lose their livelihoods, they can go hang, fend for themselves, or better still, emigrate.
Meanwhile, on another planet entirely, the political pensions gravy train rolls on undisturbed.
The Irish Independent report is here.