Infrastructure: Costing too much and rewarding so few

I am not about to say the Luas isn’t great, having used the service several times I find it to be more efficient than the Dart or bus and in the areas that it serves it beats other forms of transport hands down for speed in getting there, that is really the golden aim of public transport, make it cheap, fast, reliable and it will work.

The issue I have however, and that we will cover today is that the Luas went well over budget and in terms of a capital project we have rewarded the people along the Luas line with unearned capital gains which will never be taxed and that gain came implicitly at the expense of the taxpayer.

I was thinking of canvassing the houses along the Luas line to ask them if they felt that ‘bank bailouts’ were a rip off and if the tax payer should be rewarded for such actions given that the state were paying for it, then to ask them if they …

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The cost of the taxation system is a tax in itself

While I am not a believer in ‘flat tax’ this video from the Cato Institute does make some very valid points that stand true even in Ireland. The burden of compliance in taxation and elsewhere is actually a barrier to an efficient taxation system.

Taxation being complex is so widely accepted now that many don’t ask the fundamental question: If we/you are the one paying taxes is it too much to ask that they be made simple to understand and easily comprehended by the very people they affect? Perhaps the complexity of the taxation system is part of what protects it and stops people from asking these questions.

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The Irish Tax System

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for pint and the bill for all of them comes to €100. If they split their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first man (the poorest) would pay nothing, [he’s unemployed] The next three would pay nothing  [they have jobs but don’t earn above the minimum threshold of c.€18,300 for tax.] The fifth man would pay €1. He does pay some tax when he passes the minimum threshold. The sixth would pay €3. (lower industrial wage earner) The seventh would pay €6. (average industrial wage earner c.€35,400) The eighth would pay €12. (above average industrial wage earner – more than c.€35,400) The ninth would pay €30. (earner who is well into the 41% tax band) The tenth man (the richest) would pay €48. (spends almost all of their tax paying time in the 41% tax band)

So they split the bill in this way, satisfied that they were all paying to their …

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