The Federal Government has a total of around 10 billion euros in the budget this week for long-term and one-off measures – the focus here is on relieving the burden on budgets.
we live in extraordinary times. After two Covid-era budgets in which the government freed up massive resources to protect public health, businesses and jobs, it finds itself once again in the breach – in the face of rampant inflation fueled mainly by an energy crisis.
The economy has shown remarkable resilience to recover from the near-total pandemic shutdown, to such an extent that substantial funds are now available to help combat rising inflation.
However, it is vital that the government does not fuel the inflationary flames with untargeted spending. The same prudent interventions used during Covid will be required in the household this week.
There is some debate about how best to help people facing skyrocketing electricity and gas bills: direct loans, similar to those introduced earlier this year; or a ceiling on energy prices, as decided in Great Britain.
In general, the government would be wise not to follow the path charted out by the new UK government, which is pursuing a radical economic philosophy of tax cuts and high spending that could go spectacularly wrong.
It is not time to abandon the tried economic model, which has largely worked here, as evidenced by the economy’s impressive post-pandemic recovery.
With the war in Ukraine expected to continue into the New Year, it is difficult to determine when the inflationary crisis will pass.
In this context, further energy credits at regular intervals – rather than a bill cap that could significantly reduce the financial firepower needed to meet next year’s challenges – is the more measured course of action.
The government should also seek more permanent measures, particularly in the area of childcare, to help struggling families cope with rising household bills. This crisis too will pass – whatever comes next. Such events are reported, interpreted and explained to the public by media, themselves under extreme financial pressure.
As digital media continues to grow at a rapid and exciting pace, many readers still rely on newspapers to help them understand unprecedented national and international events.
One consequence of the current inflationary crisis has been an unprecedented increase in the price of newsprint. This is just the latest challenge in an increasingly existential crisis.
Tech giants like Google and Facebook have been making billions of dollars in advertising revenue for years by leveraging the news content of publishers, whose business model is steadily eroding as a direct result. Against this background, the case for zero VAT on newspapers, as is the case in the UK and Europe, is compelling.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said in New York on Friday that he was “positively disposed” to the abolition of a tax on information and ultimately on democracy.
It was a welcome statement and, we hope, an indication that the value of trustworthy news to society will be confirmed on Tuesday.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/a-budget-to-help-people-and-support-business-42014779.html A budget to help people and support businesses