Almost two million Irish people have €100 left over after monthly bills. The other half owes an average of €1,000 on credit cards, often just to pay for necessities. This year’s unseasonal summer weather has given very little respite from home heating bills.
Our country has polarised into two halves. Half of the country is smugly comfortable. The other half struggles with debt. We know which half includes most politicians. We had a golden chance to make a brave new start for universal social justice when the financial world collapsed. We never learn.
We could begin again by helping the new poor. We could lobby our politicians to legislate immediately for less draconian credit card interest rates. Not only would that be a popular move, it would also be the right thing to do. Economic theory demands moral conduct.
Half of Ireland did not pay the household tax. Many of them just did not have the money. Let the politicians wake up and come back to the real world. We bailed out the banks. Let the banks bail us out now. Let austerity for some end. Let prosperity for all begin.