This goings on in this article from the Irish Independent last week really frustrates me – TDs snub bid to cut minister pensions.
HALF of sitting TDs getting ministerial pensions have snubbed government attempts to get them to agree the amount their payments should be cut by.
The Department of Finance received replies from only 16 of 31 sitting Oireachtas members who still enjoy ministerial pensions after it wrote to them more than a month ago to seek agreement on a reduction. The others appear to have ignored the letter.
To be fair to anyone who’s been approached and asked to accept these cuts voluntarily, I’d have a little sympathy. At a certain point in time, it was deemed right and acceptable for the current situation to exist. An entitlement was created (as childrens allowance and over 70’s medical cards, and the old age pensions are entitlements) so to ask someone to give up their entitlement isn’t the way to get what you want.
As the government are trying to do with many other entitlements, they do have an option to remove them, as pointed out in the article:
In another embarrassing blow to his authority, Taoiseach Brian Cowen will now have to force through the pension cuts after failing to get the co-operation of some recipients.
But, as I pointed out before, these kinds of cuts are short term in nature and so small that they won’t have any major impact on our budget deficit this year, or any other year.
Such cuts are for show, and there’ll be a bigger show if the government did actually bring in legislation to make the cuts obligatory. But it’s all still show.
As I suggested here previously – why not do something constructive about this, and for the longer term:
Instead of cutting benefits for everyone in one go, why not cut the benefits for anyone who doesn’t have them at the moment? Remove the entitlements to benefits for anyone may in the future who expects to get something rather than taking it from someone who has it already.
To my mind, this is a simple way to get something accepted by the government without so much opposition, but I obviously accept that it’s a longer term thing. However, with less opposition at the time of making decisions in this way, it’s alternatively possible that they could make cuts across a wider range of areas in one go – without the piece meal tinkering about the edges they’ve been involved in for the past 6 months.
I see that since I originally composed this post, Brian Cowen has made his move on this and is proposing a 25% cut in pensions entitlement. Which just goes to show how pointless the cuts are in the first place. All for show!