Dumb it down
Are the rich actually getting richer?
There's a lot of talk today about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, but why are people going on about an age-old proverb?
So what’s all this about the rich getting richer?
Well, everyone’s talking about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer mainly because here in Ireland the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer – literally.
Tell me something I don't know. Why's it in the news now?
All this talk comes after Social Justice Ireland released figures that state the poorest families in Ireland have experienced an income drop of almost 20% in just one year, while the income of the richest increased by around 4%. So as you can see the rich actually are getting richer and the poor are gett-
Okay, okay. Stop going on about it! I hear ya.
I can guess what side of the divide you're on.
Get on with it.
Mr Moody today, eh?
Well, I'm poor and getting poorer, the rich people are getting richer, and it's Monday.
That about sums it up. Anyway, the top 10 per cent of the population receives almost 14 times more disposable income than the poorest 10 per cent.
So who are these Social Justice Ireland people?
Social Justice Ireland is a non-Governmental think-tank which “subscribes to the values of both human dignity and the centrality of the community,” which basically means they’re looking out for you, me and everyone else in society. You can find out more about them over here.
Can they tell us anything about why the rich-poor divide is so big?
Well it has been creeping up ever since the recession hit and according to Social Justice Ireland director, Sean Healy, the Government’s current strategy is making the situation worse:
"There is something profoundly wrong with government decisions that produce this lop-sided distribution of income favouring the richest when Ireland’s poor and middle income people struggle to make ends meet in these extremely difficult times.
"Decisions have been taken that have seriously damaged Ireland’s most vulnerable people, that place a disproportionate burden on their shoulders, and seriously damage the social infrastructure on which they depend,” he said.
Mr Healy also said that the Government’s approach to the fiscal adjustment – the last budget – was unjust and unnecessary. He was talking about how they made so many cuts rather than focusing on broadening the tax base.
So what can be done? Maybe a modern day Robin Hood?
Well that would only increase crime rates, making the whole thing worse. So, no.
According to Social Justice Ireland there are a number of things that can be done to help the poorer in society. They outline 12 different measures which they believe could help the situation, which include acknowledging that Ireland has an ongoing poverty problem, poverty-proofing all public policy initiatives and provision and recognising the problem of the ‘working poor’. They want to make tax credits refundable so as to address the situation of the 22.8% of all households in poverty.
You can check out the other key priorities outlined by Social Justice Ireland over here. Other than that, we'll just have to wait to see what the Government decides to do. Or you can get out and march to the Dáil while voicing your anger. It's up to you really.