Presentation at Labour Party Pre-Budget Forum Professor Karl Whelan University College Dublin November 27, 2010
The Four Year Plan 2011
Real GDP Growth
Nominal GDP Growth
In 2014 • Debt-GDP ratio will be 100% (Debt-GNP ratio will be 128%) before additional costs of bank bailout if adjustment in four-year plan occurs. • Add banking costs (and high interest on EFSF loan?) and the debt-GDP ratio is likely to be over 110%. • We’ve come back from this before. • But in 2014, sovereign bond markets will be worried about default and the interest rate on future bond market borrowings could be high. • Default\restructuring cannot be dismissed.
Don’t Shoot the Messengers • We will see lots of complaints over the next few years about nasty outsiders from Europe and the IMF imposing harsh cuts and tax increases. • But without EU\IMF, the deficit would need to be reduced to zero immediately. • And a sovereign default would restrict our ability to run deficits again for a long time and raise the cost of borrowing. • Reducing the deficit quickly simply must be done.
So Is There Anything Left to Debate? • Yes. • EU\IMF mainly care about the macro aggregates. • Plenty of room for doing adjustment in a better fairer way than in the government plan. • However, this requires looking at all policy options and instruments. • Focusing on making the income tax system more progressive—raising taxes mainly on the rich— simply isn’t going to work.
Employee Tax and PRSI Contributions
Employee Plus Employers Tax Burden
Employee Tax Burden Minus Cash Benefits
Tax System is Highly Progressive â€˘ Income plus PRSI tax rates for single people at selected percentages of average wage: 67%
Adding in Child Benefit â€˘ Income plus PRSI tax rates minus cash benefits for married couple, two kids, one earner on average wage and second earner at selected percentages of average wage: 0%
High Marginal Tax Rates â€˘ Income plus PRSI tax rates for single people at selected percentages of average wage: 67%
A More Progressive Approach? 1. More emphasis on wealth taxes: A larger and more graduated property tax (Planâ€™s proposal only raises â‚Ź530 million). 2. Oppose the universal social contribution: Keep poorest workers out of tax net. Higher basic rate a better approach. 3. Taxing child benefit. 4. More focus on revenue raising, less on cutting program expenditure in health and education.
A New Approach to Budgeting • The four-year plan needs to herald a new approach to budgeting. • A new budget process: – Detailed multi-year budgets. – Budget proposals brought to the Dail for debate months prior to budget day. – Distributional analysis should be provided throughout the budgetary process: We should know who wins and who loses?
The Banks: Non-NAMA Loan Books
Almost No Provisioning on Mortgages
Reducing Cost of the Bank Bailout? • Don’t know what will emerge from IMF-EU deal in relation to the banks. • Honohan speech this week referred to stress test exercise to be conduced early next year. • This needs to be tough and rigorous. • If banks are found to be insolvent, then subordinated bond holders need to lose out. • If deeply insolvent, question of haircuts for senior debt becomes relevant.