In the Green (Party) corner we have the challenger, weighing in at €.5billion per week in additional debts and wasted spending on their buddies in the trade unions and the property sector …. they are The Government! In the blue corner, weighing in at an anorexic 14% unemployment crushed by a decade and a half of waste and stealth taxes, we have “The Celtic Tiger”, the Irish economy!
That’s the formalities over with. I have worked in the hosting industry in Ireland, a part of the so called “smart economy”. We’re told that cloud computing is a key to that. I can tell you that we have two great challenges in cloud computing. One is bandwidth availability and costs. Data centres can be build close to major lines so that’s OK on the provider side of things. The biggest problem was the cost of electricity. Forget staff costs. Forget hardware costs. Software costs are transparent. The biggest cost we had was electricity. No matter what we did, when I heard a potential customer was looking at a foreign hosting company I just gave up. There was no point in fighting it.
You see, we have (depending on what stats you read) either the third or second most expensive electricity in Europe. That affects absolutely everything we do. Manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, pharmaceuticals, cloud computing, it just doesn’t matter; they all consider electricity to be a huge cost. We’re haemorrhaging jobs to cheaper economies in the EU and outside of the EU not because of the lack of demand for services, but because it is too expensive for a business to operate in Ireland. Many of those on the 400,000+ dole queue (out of 4 million people) lost their jobs, not because the companies closed down, but because they moved abroad to find somewhere cheaper. So called smart economy businesses have been moving shop for years.
Then 2 days ago a bombshell lands. The government has approved a further 5% tax on electricity. They made the decision a month ago but kept it secret until the Dáil (parliament) broke for a summer break. We’re told it’s a decision by the regulator (a quango can create taxes?) and that the minister in charge cannot overrule them. But the regulator tells us that it is a decision by the minister. I think we all know who is telling porky pies.
The IDA, ISME, IFA, etc, are all telling us that their members will have no choice but to either raise prices, layoff employees, or relocate abroad. People barely able to afford their mortgages (which are paid to banks that we effectively own now) will be pushed over the edge and lead to an increase in jingle mail, further increasing the pressure on tax payers to further bail out the banks through the black hole that is NAMA.
Even a fool can tell you that if your operating costs are some of the highest in the market you operate in then you don’t increase them to resolve economic woes. You cut your costs. You trim the fat. You become more efficient. But no; the Green (Tax) Party agenda is to screw this country every which way they can in cooperation with Fianna Fail politicians who are holding onto their ever increasing pensions and expense accounts with their fingernails.
But don’t worry! While we all sink under the rising tide of taxes with our so-called smart economy, our dear leaders will be able to expense their increased electricity bills.