There have many debates recently on how the state should cuts costs including: 1) Private patients effectively pay the full cost of their treatments 2) Parents of kids attending private schools pay the full cost of their education 3) 3rd level students must pay their full costs 4) Employers must pay full sick leave benefits for their employees 5) PRSI no longer entitles people to dental benefits 6) Child benefit has suffered disproportionately large cuts compared to most forms of social welfare. What's the common thread? People in jobs are not only paying much increased tax rate, but any benefits they enjoyed previously appear to be getting disproportionately cut. The mantra I've heard ahead of the budget is effectively that those fully dependent on social welfare will be protected. This leaves me with two questions: 1) Are we well on our way to a "Poverty Trap" budget that discourages any form of ambition to improve one circumstances? 2) Is the protection of those entirely dependent on social welfare misguided in light of the fact that such people may not be even the least well off social/economic group in this country anymore?