C: CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2022– Source: EP

Pointless: Govt raises carbon tax, then undoes their own policy

When it comes to Budget 2023, it appears that the Irish government has finally met their match. They’ve finally fallen afoul of an adversary who is exactly as cunning, competent and calculating as they are, who seems to have foiled their plans utterly.

Who is this caped crusader, you ask? Who is this dastardly rogue and saboteur twirling his moustache? 

Well, that would be themselves, after they have apparently moved to completely nullify their own carbon tax hike that they just implemented. 

As reported by Agriland.ie:

“The government is to offset a planned hike in the carbon tax next month by cutting the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) levy…the minister said that he recognised the “sharp cost-of-living challenges” currently facing the public and therefore the carbon tax hike would be offset by a reduction to zero of the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) levy.”

 

The piece went on to say:

“[This] means that the price at the pump will not go up as a result of taxes or levies,” the minister said.”

Oh, you better believe they increased the carbon tax during an energy crisis. They were even excited to do it. I’ll bet good money thatEamon Ryan was skipping up Grafton Street barefoot again just thinking about it. 

And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for those meddling politicians and their damned advisors. 

Parking the sarcasm for a moment, it’s pretty clear that the phrase “shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic” was made for moments like this. 

As outlined many times on Gript, the entire point of carbon tax, by definition, is to make things like energy and fuel less affordable so that people use them less, and therefore there are less carbon emissions, supposedly for the good of the climate. As reported in 2019 in the Irish Independent:

“’We want to force private motorists out of their cars’ – The excise duty on diesel is to be hiked, while all fossil fuels will be repeatedly slapped with increases in carbon taxes. As an alternative to using private cars, the Climate Action Plan commits the Government to investing in public transport and cycling infrastructure.”

 

So expensive electricity and motor fuel is literally the whole point of the policy. It’s not a bug or a glitch, and the scheme didn’t go wrong – it is operating exactly as it’s supposed to. 

Now, amid the energy crisis, the government has clearly realised that this is untenable. They understand that artificially raising prices during a crisis is tantamount to the price gouging they were giving out to private businesses for. It would be about as popular as herpes with the general public. 

But rather than scrapping the tax altogether – which would drive Eamon Ryan ballistic and possibly collapse the government coalition – they’ve decided to simply lower taxes elsewhere to undo the hike they just implemented. 

It’s the equivalent of taking a fiver off someone, only to hand it back to them, rather than just letting it keep it in the first place. It’s the Rube Goldberg school of politics; getting the exact same result, just in a ludicrously cumbersome, bureaucratic and convoluted way.

Thank God we’re paying these lads six figures a year, with regular pay rises, all to sit around in a room undoing the problems they just created and cancelling out their own policies. Money well spent, I say.

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