Friday, November 26, 2010

Eating the Irish.

Paul Krugman: "Ireland is now in its third year of austerity, and confidence just keeps draining away. And you have to wonder what it will take for serious people to realize that punishing the populace for the bankers’ sins is worse than a crime; it’s a mistake."

Dan O'Brien: "Anger at Germany is matched by that towards the European Central Bank. Two weeks ago it pulled the trigger that led to the bailing out of Ireland. 'The ECB f--ked us,' said one official matter-of-factly yesterday."

Doug Saunders: "Government is gutted. Taxes rise; subsidies and grants vanish; social programs are pared back; state companies are sold; wages are slashed. . . the poor and middle classes pay the price for mistakes made by governments and bankers. Cue rioting and electoral defeats."

Irish Congress of Trade Unions: "If they go ahead with their plans, they will do irreparable damage and turn this country into a social and economic wasteland."

Bruno Waterfield: "The Irish government is taking precautions against an explosion of popular anger against a bail-out that means Ireland has handed over economic decision-making to the EU for the next three years."

The cause that called you may call tomorrow, In another fight for the Green again.


Blogger eamonnmcdonagh said...

Krugman's argument is solid but there's a lot of loose talk going around about punishing the people to save the banks.

Until very recently the people *loved* the banks and couldn't get enough of the cheap money they were loaning out.

They also elected and reelected politicians committed to letting the banks and foreign multinationals do what the like, and so the government's saving of the banks is in line with its mandate.

of course, I'm not arguing in favor of austerity or desroying the country to pay the bannks' debts, just for a bit less hypocrisy.

the plain people of Ireland played a big role in getting themselves into the mess they are in.

The banks had to be saved, the

5:48 AM  
Blogger Anton Deque said...

It is never the fault of the Irish. The quotation placed athe end of the piece says much; when in doubt, fantaise. "eamonnmacdonagh" is correct as to fact. The whole of Ireland rejoiced when the E.U. pelted them with money and the banks overflowed. The 'green' has been covered iin five to six bedroom town houses built by previously dirt poor farmers whilst the county roads outside are a disgrace. If there is one good outcome from the Irish Crash of 2010 it might be the country re-examines its own history and myths.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

The Irish crisis in one sentence:

Irish Welfare expenditures are 32.5% of the entire annual budget; ahead of even healthcare which comes in at 24.8%.

Austerity for 3 years? Cough!

5:50 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Paul: The welfare and health cost portions of the Irish national budget have nothing to do with the crisis and are in fact not particularly unusual for a modern developed-world state. What is unusual about Ireland's tax system is that its export sector is almost untaxed (and is the only part of the economy doing okay at the moment), but it's the result of a 12.6 per cent corporate tax rate, a tax-haven ripoff that other European states put up with for too long (and will also come to no good in the end).

As for Eamonn and Anton, the ridiculous merry-go-round the Irish jumped on with such abandon is the same one that spins the property industry pretty well everywhere, and especially (until recently) in America, but strangely, no one suggests the Yanks go all soul-searchy about their national myths. The only difference with Ireland was the scope and scale of its construction frenzy, the rapacious recklessness of its bankers and the cowardice of its ruling politicians.

Ordinary Irish people are being asked to pay, whether they did what they were told and invested in ghost estates or not. I fully expect that the people are not going to lie down for it. One thing Ian Paisley got right about the Irish - even though he was only taking about his crowd - "We are not miners, and we are not Argentinians." If all that's worrying the Dublin elites right now is the occasional evocation of the croppies and the land leaguers, then they have no idea what's about to hit them.

10:27 PM  
Blogger eamonnmcdonagh said...

agree with all of that. was just hoping for a bit more reflection and self-pity about how we got where we are.

And speaking of Argentina: a lot of talk around too about the Argentine model for recovery. Small difference between Ireland and Argentina: the latter has vast prices resources - especially soya - for export the prices of which have been at historically
high levels in recent years.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Self-pity and soya? Slattery and sago, surely:

9:35 AM  

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