Here is the article on Maman Poulet by Niall Crowley on why tackling income inequality in Ireland is so important. You can find the actual article on her blog here.
CLAIMING OUR FUTURE ‘IDEAS’ – TACKLING INCOME INEQUALITY
By Niall Crowley
The International Monetary Fund says that it is needed to sustain economic growth. Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, authors of the Spirit Level, found that it leads to higher levels of life expectancy and educational attainment and lower levels of imprisonment and violence in society. A TASC survey reported that 91% of respondents wanted Government action on it. Why then is nothing being done about income equality in Ireland?
Governments, past and present, seem complacent about it. In Ireland the richest ten percent of households earn eleven times more income than the poorest ten percent. A quarter of all income is earned by this richest ten percent.
Not only is nothing being done about this, it’s getting worse. Current policies to deal with the economic crisis are increasing poverty. Adult and child poverty rates have grown over 2008 and 2009 according to CSO data. The rich are getting richer. The World Wealth Report found that Ireland’s ‘high net worth population’ rose by ten percent in 2009. These are people with investable assets of $1million or more.
There is anger at the excessive incomes of some individuals. There is concern at the difficulties encountered by those trying to survive on welfare. However there is little debate about the scale of income inequality and the policies that make this possible, even inevitable. Yet this income inequality is not only an injustice. It is also a causal factor in many of the health and social problems we face and is an impediment to economic recovery.
Claiming our Future aims to change this. On May 28th it is hosting a national discussion on steps to reduce income inequality in NUI Galway. Register now on www.claimingourfuture.ie. The discussion will explore the politics of income equality, tackling high incomes and inequality and tackling low income and poverty. It will also focus on identifying national levers for change and local action to make income inequality an issue.