That's Capitalism! - WS111

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Mayawati, the Prime Minister of India’s Uttar Pradesh province has spent €177 million of taxpayers’ money on massive statues of herself and of her party’s symbol, the elephant. She also spent €11.2 million on a private jet to save her 10 minutes on her visits to New Delhi.

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While children’s hospital beds are closed because “there is no money”, the government refuses to even consider a tax increase from 41% to 51% on incomes over €100,000, which would yield an extra €1.4 billion.

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A millionaire member of the British House of Lords has claimed more than £20,000 in allowances by saying that a small rented flat occupied by his brother is his main home. When questioned, Lord Bhatia could not even remember its address.

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Central Statistics Office data on wage earnings of almost 200,000 workers in manufacturing shows that management awarded themselves an average 6.5% increase in the first quarter of 2009, while at the same time average earnings of clerical workers were cut by 2.3% and production workers’ earnings were cut by just under 1%. The average annual pay of a manufacturing manager is €61,000. The average for manufacturing clerical workers is €39,000, and €33,000 for production workers.

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A Good Manwith Sheds

& Fences...John Fleming, the west Cork businessman who began his career making sheds and ended up owing the banks €1 billion – the tab for which we will be picking up, no doubt – is a great example of how the other half is dealing with the recession. Whereas you and I have to pinch and scrape, John Fleming can still call on plenty of spare coins – despite his massive debt.

A few years ago Fleming was the 75th wealth- iest person in Ireland, worth over €138 million. Now apparently he has fallen to 104th in the Sunday Times Rich List and still has close to €60 million in personal wealth. In other words times may be ‘baddish’ but Fleming, like most of Ireland’s rich, has ring-fenced his core wealth so that it will be untouched by the collapse in his building empire. It’s not NAMA we need, it’s expropriation.

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Leas Cross

The report into the Leas Cross Nursing home scandal was a shocker. Elderly patients were dying in unexplained circum- stances; others had open and infected sores which were left untreated; others still were being restrained and held against their wishes. Odd though isn’t it, given the uproar about what went on there, that so little attention was focused on the businessman who ran Leas Cross. There’s a reason for that.

Leas Cross was a ‘for profit’ medical establishment – the sort of thing Harney and Cowen are promoting as a solution across the health service here in Ireland. The report into what went on at Leas Cross found that ‘the principal cause of the decline in care standards failure of the home was the failure of the home to employ sufficient competent staff’.Yet when this ‘decline’ was happening, Leas Cross was posting not just profits but big increases in its profits. In 2005 alone profits jumped up by 40%. At the time Leas Cross was owned by the businessman, John Aherne. Says it all:‘for profit’health care, no thanks.


This article is from Workers Solidarity 111 September 2009

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