Started by slayton, Nov 28, 2010, 12:07 AM
'Sexist' tax cut would benefit Ireland as a wholeIMF plan to cut women's income tax rate by five percentage points could raise Ireland's GDP as well as tackle inequalityThe revelation in the news yesterday of an IMF proposal to lower the income tax rate of Irish women returning to the workforce by five percentage points, was greeted with bemusement swiftly followed by derision.A number of angry men were quick to cry foul, branding the initiative "sexist". One popular daytime radio presenter described it as a "tax cut for the girls" and went so far as to speculate that any additional take-home pay resulting from what he branded a "sexist law" would be spent on "shopping and hair". A secondary, more measured, debate arose between women with children, who tentatively suggested that there might be some merit in a measure that counteracted the prohibitively high cost of childcare in Ireland, and women without children, who felt that they would be disadvantaged.It is clear that this is intended purely as an economic rather than an equality measure. Its source, an IMF staff position note entitled Lifting Euro Area Growth: Priorities for Structural Reforms and Governance, recognises that the implicit tax on the gross income of second earners in Austria, France, Ireland and the Slovak Republic tops 70% and creates a barrier to re-entry into the workforce. The IMF estimates that "cutting labour income taxes paid by women by five percentage points would increase the GDP level by 1¾ percentage points, for a fiscal cost of ½ percentage point of GDP", a cost benefit analysis that is difficult to ignore.The document also recommends better childcare support, although no specific details are given. A similar economic argument was used by the Norwegian government in 2004 when it introduced very effective gender quotas for the boards of publicly quoted companies. Arguing that diversity creates wealth, Ansgar Gabrielsen, then the Norwegian trade and industry minister, wrote a law requiring private firms to have at least 40% women on their boards into the Public Limited Companies Act rather than the Gender Equality Act, reasoning that Norway could not afford to ignore the talent inherent in half its population.Leaving aside economic justification, any proposal that goes some way towards reforming the unequal employment environment that prevails in Ireland deserves serious consideration. Lowering income tax by five percentage points would go some way towards closing the gender pay gap of 8% that persists even when equivalent educational qualifications and responsibility are taken into account. Significant enactment of equality legislation has failed to achieve this.The difficulties that undoubtedly exist in persuading productive women back into the workforce after childbirth have contributed to a situation where women account for just one in five management positions in Irish SMEs. The family unfriendly nature of the workplace spills over into the political and public service arenas too. Just 14% of elected representatives in the Irish parliament are women and women account for less than one quarter of Irish senior civil servants.Blunt instruments such as gender quotas and differentiated rates of taxation are often decried as unfair or discriminatory. Yet decades of progressive equality legislation and cultural change have failed to remove the barriers that prevent women from realising their true potential. To effectively tackle the endemic under-participation of women at every level, and benefit from resulting societal and economic progress, we need radical step changes. There is evidence of an increasing political will to introduce the more equitable childcare and parental leave models pioneered by Nordic countries but this will take time. An instantly implementable policy such as the proposed tax break may prove to be a worthwhile and widely beneficial short-term measure.
Gee, I guess custodial fathers don't have to pay for those things, right? Just goes to show that men like me with custody are left in the cold because we supposedly have it so easy compared to women.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28948925IMF's Christine Lagarde 'under investigation'IMF head Christine Lagarde says she has been placed under formal investigation for negligence in a French fraud case but has not been charged.She has been questioned several times about her role in a 400m euro (£318m; $527m) compensation payout to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.Ms Lagarde, 58, was finance minister in President Nicolas Sarkozy's government at the time of the award.Mr Tapie supported Mr Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election.He was once a majority shareholder in sports goods company Adidas but sold it in 1993 in order to become a cabinet minister in Francois Mitterrand's Socialist government. He later spent eight months in jail over a football match-rigging scandal.Mr Tapie sued Credit Lyonnais over its handling of the 1993 sale, alleging the partly state-owned bank had defrauded him by deliberately undervaluing the company.His case was later referred by Ms Lagarde to a three-member arbitration panel which awarded the compensation.Investigators suspect he was granted a deal in return for his support of Nicolas Sarkozy.Ms Lagarde, who took over the role of director of the International Monetary Fund in July 2011, said last year that her decision to refer Mr Tapie's long-running dispute with Credit Lyonnais to a panel of judges was "the best solution at the time".Although being placed under formal investigation does not necessarily lead to trial, the development could raise questions about the rest of her term at the IMF which is due to end in 2016.She told AFP news agency she had no intention of resigning from the IMF and said she was due to return to New York later on Wednesday.