In 2019, the year in which we had a smidgen short of 78,000 millionaires, nine billionaires, and a handful of people earning more than the country, Social Justice Ireland estimated that approximately one full-time worker in five in the Republic earned less than the Living Wage. That is, in the second richest country in the world (IMF), 20 percent of our full-time labour force earned less than what it would cost to achieve an acceptable standard of living.
Upwards of 17,000 people moved into the Ballymun flats in one go. The bus arrived late as did the shopping centre with its one supermarket and two pubs. The promised health centre, swimming pool, library, meeting rooms, community halls, and gym didn’t happen. Anyone spot a problem?
French economist Thomas Piketty argues that, contrary to what we are constantly told about job creation and trickle-down riches, the ultra-rich are harmful to the general economy. When the number of US billionaires exploded in the 1990s and 2000s, per capita income growth halved from 2.2% to 1.1%. (8-minute read.)
Let’s be clear, homelessness is a policy-driven crisis. Bedrock Fine Gael ideology does not want government in the business of building public housing, because it interferes with the free market. The ‘logic’ is that, without government interference, supply-and-demand in a free marketplace will solve the problem. Except that it hasn’t.