State budget protects the interests of the Irish ruling class

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
10 October 2018

Following the publication of the relevant figures in yesterday’s budget, the breakdown of state revenue and expenditure for 2018 provides clear evidence of whose interests the Irish state serves.
     The Irish ruling class—itself dependent on American, British and European capital—will be satisfied with the state’s efforts to guarantee the “confidence” and “stability” that is the bedrock of their rising profits and vast fortunes.
     Out of a total expenditure of €75 billion, €5.32 billion (7 per cent of total expenditure) went towards servicing the national debt, a direct transfer of wealth from the public purse to the large banks and financial institutions that hold Irish sovereign debt—proof that “austerity” is working very well. A further €2.58 billion (3½ per cent) goes towards direct contributions to the European Union, the body responsible for implementing the interests of European monopoly capital.
     As for revenue collected by the Irish state, it is not hard to see that the security of landlords, asset-holders and private equity firms has been vindicated. Taxes on capital and assets, in the form of capital acquisitions tax, capital gains tax, local property tax and stamp duties, combined account for a measly €4.1 billion (6 per cent of total revenue), while the working class funds the public services that make private wealth accumulation possible, through income taxes (32 per cent of total revenue) and taxes on consumption, such as value-added tax (21 per cent), and excise duties (8 per cent). The dependence of the Irish state on corporation tax receipts (13 per cent of total revenue) from a handful of enormous companies, having incomes equal to multiples of those of the state itself, shatters the myth of any kind of democratic or sovereign control that the Irish people exercise over the state’s affairs.
     The budget does not serve the interests of the working class—not because it is based on “poor policy decisions” by “inept politicians” but because it was not designed to serve the interests of the majority of the state’s citizens in the first place.
     The working class must respond in kind: it is its unity that will determine the success or failure of the state’s attempts to put popular interests second to the accumulation of private wealth.
     Victories, of varying degrees, have been secured in the last few years when workers have compromised and co-operated with each other to advance the collective interests of their class. We as communists seek to mobilise and inform their efforts in the months ahead.

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