Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pension top-ups for senior bankers and pension cuts for senior citizens

Across the country people are adjusting to the new economic reality. Ireland is no longer awash with money. Cheap credit is a thing of the past. For most people it is a case of holding what you have at best. And these are the lucky ones! Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs. Thousands more have had their hours reduced, their salaries cut and their taxes increased. People on social welfare have not been immune. They had their benefits cut also. And all because of the reckless behaviour of a small group of politicians, bankers, speculators and regulators. The so called elite of this country, the golden circle, played fast and loose with our money and lost. And now we are paying the price – big time!

So it was with dismay and anger that we learned this week that Ireland’s senior bankers are unable to adjust to this new economic reality. Revelations that the major banks are using a cash allowance system to circumvent government tax on pension top-ups for the big boys is proof that the greed which almost collapsed the banks has not gone away. It seems taking the pain is only for the little people. In the meantime, the Government is warning us that billions more will have to be found through more cuts in pay and benefits. The Government axe may even extend to the old age pesnion.

It is not unreasonable to question the moral compass of our present Government and those at the top of our banking system. They are simply unable to do the right thing. How on earth can senior bankers justify the use of this cash allowance system? How on earth can the Government consider cutting the old age pension? Has Ireland really been reduced to this? And yes, I have heard the argument that we have to pay the most to get the best. But paying senior bankers 15 times more then the person who runs the country exposes the folly of that argument. The 'greed is good' philosophy is alive and well in the Irish banking and political establishment.

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