The International Monetary Fund has proposed a range of measures to help Ireland restore its economy to health and some Irishmen are finding one in particular hard to swallow. The IMF recommends that the country cut income tax rates by 5%—for women only. Economists say this would boost the country's GDP by encouraging mothers to return to the workforce, but the plan is being widely derided, the Guardian reports. One popular radio host said any money women gained from the proposed "sexist law" would be spent on "shopping and hair."
The IMF also suggests that Ireland cut its minimum wage and improve its childcare provision. An austerity budget—which the IMF and EU insisted on as a condition for bailing out Ireland's debt-ridden banks—was unveiled yesterday, the New York Times reports. Measures to cut the country's deficit include slashing $20 billion in public spending over 4 years, adding new taxes, and eliminating tens of thousands of public sector jobs. Prime Minister Brian Cowen, whose ruling coalition has fallen apart, urged lawmakers to pass the budget.