November 20, 2015
“Na habair faic agus na scriobh faic, mar nuair a cuireann tu an dubh ar an gheal ta tu fuckalta a bhuachaill”
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report in the US took 2yrs to produce:
“The Commission’s statutory instructions set out 22 specific topics for inquiry and
called for the examination of the collapse of major financial institutions that failed or
would have failed if not for exceptional assistance from the government. This report
fulfills these mandates. In addition, the Commission was instructed to refer to the attorney
general of the United States and any appropriate state attorney general any
person that the Commission found may have violated the laws of the United States in
relation to the crisis. Where the Commission found such potential violations, it referred
those matters to the appropriate authorities. The Commission used the authority
it was given to issue subpoenas to compel testimony and the production of
documents, but in the vast majority of instances, companies and individuals voluntarily
cooperated with this inquiry.
In the course of its research and investigation, the Commission reviewed millions
of pages of documents, interviewed more than 700 witnesses, and held 19 days of
public hearings in New York, Washington, D.C., and communities across the country
that were hard hit by the crisis. The Commission also drew from a large body of existing
work about the crisis developed by congressional committees, government
agencies, academics, journalists, legal investigators, and many others”
In contrast our banking inquiry into Ireland’s financial meltdown due to the limited powers restricting its terms of reference risks by way of privilege and confidentiality legal restraints, becoming a watered down cover up.
There was hope that a more targeted and precise probe initiated with the appointment of Justice Cregan into deeply questionable transactions involving the sale of assets by NAMA, would bear more fruit.
It has taken Justice Cregan nearly 6 months to produce a judgement that his investigation is botched hampered by the problems he outlines below:
The problem with Siteserv:
187. “That Dáil Eireann: notes that: — in 2012, Siteserv owed €150 million to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC); — in March 2012, IBRC sold Siteserv for €45 million; — external trade buyers were excluded from the sale of Siteserv and there are questions about due diligence; — some bidders were also excluded from the sale and may have saved the State some money; — Siteserv shareholders received €5 million at the time of sale; — there are genuine concerns about the sale of Siteserv for €45 million by IBRC; and — Department of Finance officials have raised concerns about other IBRC sales as well; acknowleges: — the huge public concern about the sale of Siteserv; — the dissatisfaction that information, obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI), highlighted that relations and trust between the IBRC and the Secretary General, as well as officials in the Department of Finance, had broken down; and — there are now concerns about other sell-offs by IBRC; condemns the appointment of KPMG to undertake a review of transactions in IBRC as they advised Siteserv during the sale and there are public concerns about a possible conflict of interest; and calls for an independent commission of inquiry to be set up to examine the circumstances surrounding and leading to the sale of Siteserv in March 2012, and other company sell-offs by IBRC so that the interest of the taxpayer can be fully protected and transparent.” — Michael McGrath, John Browne, Dara Calleary, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen, Timmy Dooley, Seán Fleming, Colm Keaveney, Billy Kelleher, Seamus Kirk, Michael P. Kitt, Micheál Martin, Michael Moynihan, Charlie McConalogue, John McGuinness, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie O’Dea, P.T.O. (3)
Justice Cregan has produced an interim report highlighting significant problems that obstruct his investigation. (4)
“The largest six transactions being examined involve write-offs of more than €100m while the next six involve losses greater than €50m, while it has also emerged a separate 156 transactions where losses of €10m or more were recorded are outside the scope of the inquiry’s timeframe.
As a result of the difficulties, Judge Cregan has recommended that individual sales could be isolated and examined by different commission members. However, he has concluded that under the current terms the inquiry could take “several years” and “result in substantial costs”.
The judge has recommended legislative changes to overcome claims of confidentiality by some parties.”(5)
There are questions over the advice given to Government when it set up the inquiry.
The government should appoint a tribunal of investigation of three judges and report on Siteserv before the next general election.
Investigation into the remainder of transactions should be mounted with decision on their terms of reference following initial Siteserv report.
The commission should prioritize an investigation into the Siteserv transaction. Legislation could be enacted overnight giving a tribunal of 3 judges the power to make a majority decision on any claims re privilege and confidentiality in regard to the public good.
This would firm up powers given to the banking inquiry.
Siteserv investigation with work already completed could become the basis for the first of a series of minority reports before a majority report required in specific time frame of 12 months.
The practice of tribunals of investigation a boon to the legal profession taking years instead of months to complete for a small island with a relatively small population compared to UK or US similar inquiries, must be curtailed on the basis of costs and common sense and the risk of corruption of the legal profession itself.
In summary, to avoid legal challenges, judges with impeccable experience, a tribunal of 3, can be given powers to decide whether legal privilege and the right of confidentiality, should favour the public good or the opportunity of individuals and companies and institutions, to commit crimes against the public good and have their actions concealed from the law.
HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (INQUIRIES, PRIVILEGES AND PROCEDURES) ACT 2013 (2)
(3) A person shall not require the disclosure of a confidential
communication other than—
(a) with the consent in writing of the member who made or
received the communication, or
(b) subject to subsection (4), where it is determined by the
Court, upon application being made to it under this
section, that the disclosure is relevant to the investigation
of any offence alleged against the member, or is essential
by virtue of an overriding public interest arising in the
context of proceedings before a court, tribunal, commission
or Part 2 inquiry.
(4) The Court shall, in determining under paragraph (b) of subsection
(3) whether or not it should make an order providing for the
disclosure of a confidential communication made by or to a member,
have regard to—
(a) the extent to which the communication relates to a matter
of public importance or public interest,
(b) the rights and interests of any member affected,”
If required, immediate legislation reinforcing the above and authorising a number of judges to exercise similar powers in loco parentis to that of the courts “by virtue of an overriding public interest arising in the context of proceedings before a court, tribunal, commission”, should be enacted.
To give opportunity to those who would evade justice in the concealment of possible crimes in the opinion of a High Court judge, is a scandal and affront to our constitutional democracy.
There are specific circumstances when the constitutional rights of the individual or company or institution, should be set aside in favour of the right of the public good.
It should be satisfactory that such unique decision-making should be entrusted to a tribunal of 3 judges empowered to balance those rights in the specific context of a tribunal of inquiry or special investigation.
Meanwhile Irish businessman Denis O’Brien has scrapped the potential $2 billion flotation of his Caribbean and Pacific islands telecoms company Digicel less than 72 hours before its shares were due to begin trading in New York. There are questions over the awarding of the mobile phone license and concerns over his acquisitions in media and the right to free speech.
Fintan O Toole writing in the Irish Times,(6) echoing concerns re O’Brien’s efforts to curtail free speech and his media acquisitions “I have never, in 37 years in journalism, come across any editor in any country who would not regard the banning of a report of a parliamentary debate as an attack on the most basic function of the media in a democratic society.”
If he has nothing to hide, he should welcome transparency.
I share growing concern that the truth involving corruption and abuse of the public interest as soon as unearthed is being buried by those hiding it. (7)
The scandal of politicians evading tax brought by a whistleblower with supporting documents has not seen the light of day(7). It would appear insiders have a large wagon train of means to hide corruption encircling them. Lancing the boil of corruption should be tackled with renewed energy by those who seek the public good.
Digicel is loaded with dollar debt from companies trading in currencies other than the dollar. That debt is growing as both deflation in Europe and in the US in increasing. The euro has taken a large fall against the dollar exchange rate.
The bubble in bond markets and stocks and shares of recent years fuelled by QE1 and QE2 and QE3 is running out of Q’s to support it.
Japanese recession beckons for the euro area even before the current refugee crisis.
In which case there are many more bubbles other than O Brien’s Digicel that will POP.
But that is another story.
November 8, 2015
Sharon was clearly annoyed Paddy Cosgrave had pulled out of the interview below perhaps realising he had answered all questions and it was now time for colleagues to give their response to similar questions.
Sharon had no sympathy for Web Summit’s objectifying incompetence shown by the Taoiseach’s dept in lack of liaison to address the needs of the Web Summit to improve its service to attendees.
O Connor ends his piece in the Independent with the arrogant assumption “And remembering that the last people who promised to make the world a better place were totalitarian regimes”. This linkage with totalitarianism is usually reserved for the left and for those who criticise those who hold the reins of power in FG/LB.
But generally O Connor in the past has shown quite an amount of intolerance for hard working and talented ‘nerds’. He should make friends with them.
Instead we had totalitarianism in action. Sharon’s questions were piqued and vindicative and dismissive in their non engagement with Daire’s logical and calm responses. This was not the media acting as the Fourth Estate guardian of democracy.
This was, how dare the Web Summit question the competence and professionalism of An Taoiseach’s department in ignoring efforts to improve Dublin’s infrastructure and its ability to host large events. Clearly An Taoiseach’s dept has taken upon itself this remit for itself and it did not like the challenge to its unilateral arrogation of such power to itself.
Another example of how RTE journalists tow the line is the following from Miriam O’Callaghan, but let’s allow RTE’s Claire Byrne set the stage:
In the following interview she gives the nudge to Michael Noonan, observing that
“Byrne remarked that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis seemed to have ‘a bit of a a swagger’ and asked Noonan what he thought of him:
Noonan given the hint and opportunity takes it:
“He’s a bit of a rock star, I wouldn’t have the same sense of fashion.”
“He reminds me a lot of when RTE used to bring in academic economists and experts…they were very good in theory but they weren’t very good in practice.”
Noonan was also asked if Ireland had asked for a debt write down, he said:
“We asked for a debt write down but not in so many words. We asked for a debt write down by suggesting ways forward that would result in a debt write down.I asked Mister Trichet for his approval to burn the single bondholders…he refused.
We pursued it to the point where to act unilaterally would have risked the country and I wasn’t prepared to do that.”
What you should notice from the above is the lack of probity, the tricky lack of questioning, the absence of challenge to Noonan’s claims.
Ahem, not good in practice because no one put into practice eg Morgan Kelly’s warnings.
But let’s not digress. Mister Trichet would argue he was never asked by the obedient and compliant for permission to burn the single bondholders.
I recall at the time government excoriation of the notion of burning bondholders was at the level of a pandemic.
Of course none of such informed views critical of Noonan would be allowed on RTE.
Take the ongoing housing crisis. Noonan has not been brought onto any Primetime or serious political analysis programme to answer and account for his department’s role in the current housing, rental and homeless crisis. Such questions as:
- Can government set aside 1 billion next budget to build a set number of starter homes to respond to Dublin’s housing crisis and similar in other major cities.
- http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/state-pension-fund-takes-10m-hit-as-chinese-shares-slump-31487213.html Should not Irish Investment funds target strategic investment locally instead of losing paper money internationally.
- Is there a policy to starve the development of housing infrastructure to facilitate foreign vulture funds pillaging and looting of Irish housing residential and commercial stock to drive out private ownership and replace it with a rent only property system.
- Are both the Central Bank and Dept of Finance creating conditions favouring a housing bubble to maximise the return on lending to developers at the expense of the young people of Ireland and their housing needs.
- Is it government policy to drive young people and the homeless to emigrate rather than provide housing, jobs, healthcare and education for them; to replace them with a 1% unburdened of taxation, the road to a banana republic of intolerant totalitarianism looting the poorer members of society.
…is another example of full on full-blown effort to shower a storm of negatives onto an unsuspecting interviewee…
“Its as if we haven’t had this conversation so far, let me remind you once more…”
Yanis response in defence of repeated refusal by O’Callaghan to engage with his answers.
O’Callaghan at the end of the interview makes the embarrassing comparison, we succeeded(????) in negotiating terms for our Promissory Note very favorable to us.
Its embarrassing in the sense the terms were forced upon us by our ECB creditors who were afraid that
a) a subsequent government in Ireland would catch itself on and refuse to pay it at all, or negotiate as Greece did succeeding in getting a debt write-down
I was curious to hear Claire Byrne chairing a discussion on our housing crisis with various spokespeople.
One member of the panel ventured the remark that Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment, that his housing department had not even spent their budget on housing for this year.
Claire Byrne immediately jumped in to say RTE had been on to the Dept this morning and were told that the budget would be spent in the 4th quarter of this year.
What I’m curious about is whether RTE now insist on a list of points or questions that will be raised by panelists to allow them to vet any exchanges? Big Sister thought control?
Light weight interviews for government spokespeople have reached ridiculous proportions. In Health Leo Varadkar vacant and pensive answers as to why 90yr old people are on trolley’s in A&E are obediently lavished with subservient attention and acceptance, “Well, we are dealing with a lot of variables here, any one of these can lead to that situation. We are working to make improvements.”
Yes, we do have a kitchen cabinet minding the stove for invisible interests.
There is no, “the buck stops here”. There is radical contrast between what the minister says, propaganda, and the reality described by Health Care professionals in the field. Kenny and Varadkar have swallowed their own propaganda and now believe nonsense.
Another A&E for drug users and the violent to protect the decent public? Instead austerity coupled with the agenda to run down hospitals and promote private health care for those who can afford it, is the new agenda.
We used to have Question Time and the Fourth Estate Pillar of Democracy. Today we have investigative journalism reined in and a bevy of PR ladies for Fine Gael / Labour ready at all times to sling mud on legitimate free speech in defence of democracy. Irish Water protestors can rot in jail for all these media tigers care.
Minister of State for Primary Care, Mental Health and Disability likewise recently ventured to her interviewer that her department had to lobby others for changes, so, go figure whose running the show?
Lest I be accused of misogyny let me say that the charge of propaganda grilling of those who challenge vested interests in favour of the status quo, is not in any way gender based. In RTE lacklustre probity when it comes to government spokespeople is not at all gender based, but extends across the board.
I believe there is a new Saturday Night Show host, but I can’t remember the presenter’s name, must be very shallow. Then there’s Tubridy, stonily shallow. There again I’m no great expert on RTE and avoid it, when I can.
RTE should bring back Question Time and allow the Irish public to ask the questions.
October 22, 2015
How can it be one of the most heavily indebted countries in the world can be booming while the rest of Europe stagnates under deflation and Japanese like recession? Welcome to the world of fantasy economics where boom is bust, bust is boom!
When times were a lot poorer in Ireland, government found the will and the way to build relatively sufficient corporation, county council housing estates that became affordable housing for the poor and lower middle class young people beginning families.
Large tracts of land south and north of the city were given over to these projects and the city and its population spread and grew over time.
At least families had a roof over their head.
Today so-called informed commentators scratch their heads baffled that government can’t or won’t build in the middle of an emergency homeless crisis? For example, Dublin City Council, which has a housing waiting list of 20,000, last February set out details of homes it intended to start building – about 750 between now and 2017 at 18 sites in the city.
Whether these will ever get built is another question.
Alan Kelly, minister for the environment has just announced a paltry 22 modular kit houses to be built before Xmas in Dublin. He should be building 2000 of these to make way for a greater supply to other segments of markets in the near future.
But if these are built and the price of property falls to reasonable levels, developers with loans in rent to let properties may see their returns fall and be unable to meet their debt repayment obligations. This in turn could bring down the banks. Catch 22.
So government is in league with the banks to screw the young people of Ireland and turn them into serfs, without property rights, indebted to developer landlords scalping their right to a home, forcing growing numbers into homelessness.
Game, set and match to developer landlords, vulture funds and the 1% who can raise rent at will to extort any profit margins they wish from an obedient and compliant government.
What has changed over the years to bring this unimaginable mess about? The origins of this debacle go back in time.
In 1971 the global currency based on the dollar switching from a peg on gold convertibility into a new fiat floating currency.(1)
From 1944 onward the dollar became international reserve currency pegged to gold bringing relative stability to world currency markets. Nixon intended the dollar’s removal from Bretton Wood’s would be a temporary measure.
Bretton Wood’s following changes would continue in its previous role anchor to global currency movements.
Instead, release of the dollar from its gold peg, introduction of derivative based financial paper money vehicles for trading in bonds, the way was opened for those operating the financial markets in large banks and financial markets, to develop and play a global financial casino for financial markets.
Financial markets ballooned inflated with money printing through QE with trust evaporating while paper trails led to Enron to subprime markets in the US or to under the counter deals made with Greece.
Financial collapse came in 2008 though many argue this as mere precursor to what lies ahead.
Reforms through Dodd Frank have been piecemeal.
Fixing the financial system as practiced through the method of Quantitative Easing have exacerbated problems leading to a worsening situation for global markets now facing deflationary debt crises from Latin America, Asia (Japan now China). Yen and yuan and euro compete with each other in the race to the bottom through mutual devaluation.
QE printed money, gave it to large financial institutions, who poured it into stocks and shares that have heavily inflated their value similar to inflated property prices in Ireland’s housing and property bubble. Yields going forward appear to be on the precipice of collapse especially in china. On a global level a large reset would appear to be about to come into play and the euro is at risk.
Meanwhile banks through devious means have abused their power once again manipulating global commodity markets eroding trust and fairness and corroding the health of the global financial system. http://www.rte.ie/news/business/2015/0928/730777-swiss-investigation/
“Swiss competition authorities said today they were investigating UBS, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and four other banks on suspicion of price fixing in the precious metals market.
The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) has today opened an investigation against two Swiss banks, UBS and Julius Baer.
It is also looking at Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui, it said in a statement.”
Global debt ceilings have rocketed skyward, lower interest rates and currency devaluations fed by deflationary spirals have brought the world to a debt ridden cauldron where future development is benchmarked against impossible odds placed by debt repayment obligations, pension and social security obligations and growing demographic turbulence led by wars and a refugee crisis.
Negative interest rates indicate a collapse of interbank lending and collapse of the financial system.
Deregulation of financial markets led to Property markets subsumed into a worthless counterfeit of paper derivatives gathered into large tranches by financial institutions and marketed and exchanged for what value can be sought..
Government response has been accompanied by a massive austerity transfer of wealth from poor and middle-income upwards to pay for losses of the 1% in the ongoing financial crisis.
As a result of financial meltdown, the rich have become richer and the poor poorer.
A fall in property prices could be the beating wings of a butterfly that will set off the storm of a massive downward spiral in the value of vulture funds, stocks and shares based on property.
Protecting the banks and the financial players means, for example, those cheap housing units will not be built in Ireland though they can be built by GOAL in Zimbabwe!
Low interest rates and cheap lending eventually the cause of massive bailouts has also led to the unfolding debacle of homelessness fed in turn by massive weight of debt built on property speculation. Both rents and property prices increasingly affordable only by the rich.
In Ireland, repayments for bailout are being harvested though raids on public services and the pillaging of public utilities. Workers in the public services, gardai, teachers, health services are now being employed as temporary workers on lower pay scales replacing permanent, pensionable jobs on higher pay.
Government budgetary deficits allied to bailout reparations is used as a stick to renew the Celtic Tiger based on property speculation rather than real value vested in health and education and business enterprise.
In insidious, unsettling divide and conquer, young people find themselves hired into the public service, if they do find a job, its at half pay scales of their older colleagues.
Euro’s devaluation pain and deflation is Ireland’s gain: this boosts exports allowing exports sell cheaper abroad.
While this small island can benefit from such quirkiness of macro economics, the world’s potential for economic progress is at high risk of collapse.
The previous Breton Woods system needs to be revived to overhaul a global currency system no longer fit for purpose growing closer to collapse.
Currencies across Latin America, Asia now the emu face devaluation and a race to the bottom.
The world’s global reserve currency, the dollar, lies fallow beset by massive debt.
The euro faces Japanese deflationary recession even if its refugee crisis is resolved.
Yet projections for economic growth range anywhere between 3 and 6% for Ireland next year.
Decreasing cost of oil, lower interest costs on debt and windfall for multinationals paying corporation tax posting a huge increase in euro based profit through their dealings in $. Ireland is told its booming.
Multinationals are for the most part dollar denominated in their trade with the rest of the world. The irony is the value of their dollars with the dramatic fall of the value of the euro against the dollar, has led them to post massive increase in corporation tax.
Not that they pay a lot to begin with Ireland’s rate of Corporation tax near lowest in the developed world.
Recent budget has protected multinationals from making greater contribution to Ireland’s tax take ensuring, for example, multinationals pay virtually zero contribution to Ireland’s universities at the same time expecting them to deliver graduates of the highest educational calibre.
Further such windfalls to the exchequer depend on further falls in the value of the euro against the dollar.
Flushing the chain on the value of the euro on world currency markets makes Euro’s loss Ireland’s gain!
Egregious saving of the Irish banks and the Irish financial sector by government has been at the expense of outright pillaging of Irish public services.
Emigration and falling employment standards have been accompanied by a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to pay interest to foreign bondholders in German and French banks on foot of a €67bn bailout the bill for which is paid for through austerity.
Property speculation that led to Ireland’s financial collapse has been restored to its former glory as a means to speculate casino wealth for property developers and investors in financial markets many of whom are in ministerial positions in government acting as guardians of their nest eggs.
Homelessness is a key result of central government’s failure to build sufficient and affordable housing to deal with a growing crisis. According to government, the money is available, they point to the failure of local authorities to act.
Most of us know if we have the finance, we can build. So let’s call this a lie.
Vast tracts of Dublin await action on development funding and these areas can be moved into action fast to fill up housing shortfalls. However, inaction has dissected the problem into many parts with the view to obstructing and obfuscating solutions that are obvious.
Government has cheerleaders who see their borrowings return to profit.
Artificially created shortages generate further profit for this group. It is their key concern not to bring about affordable housing, but to protect their profit margins.
Behind government are large institutional groups who’ve bought into the Irish property sector and wish to reap large rewards in controlling the rental sector.
Large vulture funds have also come to play welcomed by NAMA who’ve sold them large slices of the Irish market against the more prudent way forward of dividing and allowing competition to flourish among Irish bidders.
NAMA, having played a distorting role in the property market, is touted as its possible saviour as future provider of construction projects. The fox is being put in charge of the chickens. But no development expertise or experience except in the financial area, this is no barrier for such government led fantasy.
Meanwhile there is reported discord in cabinet between Alan Kelly and Michael Noonan.
Noonan’s voice is one of caution against imposing rent ceilings that would drive out and dry up the rental sector.
Noonan should also be seen as a point guy for the banks who applaud the return of high property prices ensuring negative equity and the future return of their lending is safe.
Who can imagine anyone getting out of the property business with the present levels of profiteering available, but there again for the most part you don’t have to be very intellectually endowed to do what you are told by those who manipulate puppet strings in the financial sector.
Let’s just say Alan Kelly has failed to address problems in the property sector and leave it at that.
Faced not only with Irish Water, homelessness and shortages in the Health service, other problems have emerged for government.
Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrove ran into a brick wall in trying to get An Taoiseach’s department to deal with practical issues such as a specific traffic plan, controls on hotel rates during the Summit, a solution to WiFi issues at the RDS, discounted public transport for attendees, and garda escort services for approximately ten VIP guests.
Instead of dealing with practical concerns above, it would appear the Taoiseach having scored a goal in having the web summit in Dublin, took the ball from the opposition’s net and made his way back to his own goal, where he deposited the ball and lost the match.
As is the norm in such circumstances this match was lost much further back in time.
Growing dictatorial power of this Taoiseach FG/LB government and their grip on business and financial dealings in general are mounting.
Through Ireland’s economic management committee of Kenny, Noonan, Howlin and Burton any stamp put on Ireland’s future by its current and erstwhile European management team of Angela Merkel, the EU and the ECB, will be well licked.
In return, Kenny in his leadership of this team expects subservient and blind obedience in return.
It’s a cause for concern both Dublin and Cork Chambers of Commerce are both finding their powers eroded into the hands of central government. Dublin needs an independent mayor with powers similar to those of Boris Johnson, mayor of London.
The development of Dublin should not be left in the hand’s of An Taoiseach’s office.
The city of Cork also fears amalgamation of city and county and erosion of its power to address the needs of the city it is best qualified to address.
Compliance and obedience and silence on a critique of the powers that be however inadequate and incompetent they may be, it would appear the message was lost on Paddy Cosgrave and he took his business elsewhere.
Signs of this transmogrification of Ireland into a banana republic increase by the day.
Homelessness and crime are on the increase. Propaganda proclaiming the happy hour of growth and recovery based on government policy not due to external factors beyond our control, is rife.
Government is becoming more right wing and centralist, the rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming far poorer with policies that extract more from the 99% to give to the ‘recovery’ of the 1%.
Key services such as health and education are both starved of funding the quality of Ireland’s health service continuing to deteriorate with acceptance by those in government that a trolley based service over the winter months is on the cards.
Ireland’s fantastic Four of Kenny, Noonan, Burton and Howlin in government have failed the political mandate given to them by the people who elected them to harness their new abilities and work together to save Ireland from former friends turned enemy, the financial sector and the ECB.
Rather they have become the unwitting pawns of the ECB and financial sector in the transmogrification of Ireland into a closed protectorate where democracy of the Abraham Lincoln kind is perceived as a threat rather than a badge of honour.
Enda gave us an early Xmas pantomime opening the possibility of an early November election with soothsayers like yours truly proclaiming ‘look behind you’ to 1995 and 1997 that election date would be better held on April 1.
The mess caused by such useless speculation threatened the outcome of the toothless banking inquiry.
Added to the mess of the water charges white elephant and lack of progress in dealing with the housing crisis, disastrous state of our health service, the people will take all of this into account, when they get to vote.
Iceland has sentenced 24 bankers to combined 74 years in prison. Ireland is a haven for bankers and is no Iceland.
September 17, 2015
“More than 4 million refugees have fled Syria since the war there began in 2011. According to the UN’s refugee agency, almost 1.8 million have gone to Turkey, more than 600,000 to Jordan and 1 million to Lebanon – a country whose population is just 4 million. “
By signalling Germany is willing to accept up to 1 million refugees the tide of migration has headed towards Germany; the dangerous journey this involves, Germany’s Angela Merkel must take responsibility for.
The solidarity and partnership model of european cooperation has been torn to shreds by this crisis. Once again unilateral decisions by Germany translates cooperation and partnership into the newer model of forceful compulsion of member states to cooperate and partner with Germany on its unilateral decision-making process.
In contrast to Germany’s policy for mayhem, the UK has adopted a more cautious and enlightened approach:
“…. the former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell called for a “massive diplomatic effort” to allow for the creation of two safe havens in Syria to shelter the refugees. Military forces from Britain and other countries from the EU and the Middle East, acting under a UN chapter seven mandate, would protect the safe havens that could be based near the Turkish border in Idlib and Daraa province in the south-west of Syria by the border with Jordan. This would involve enforcing a no-fly zone.
In contrast to Merkel’s policy of ‘fools rush in’ pouring toxic fuel on the crisis that encourages families to undertake perilous and dangerous journeys to arrive at German borders that now have an open and closed policy erratically closing in consequence of overwhelming numbers, the UK has adopted a more measured approach.
Mitchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We need a serious effort now to protect the millions of people who are on the move in this second world country where up to half the people of the 20 million population are now either over the border, heading for Europe, dead or displaced.”
There are 2 aspects to this crisis. The first is the reality of perhaps millions deciding to become refugees with intent to flee from oppression and violence to pursue a better life for themselves and their families. The second is the actual movement and perilous forced march nature of escape from oppression.
The best way to deal with the crisis is through cooperation among nations including Russia, EU, US and the UN to stabilise the politics of Syria and bring agreement and immediate ceasefire to warring parties.
Inducements such as aid to redevelop the economy, health and education systems should arm negotiations. A disarmament Treaty that would not be welcomed by arms sellers. Emergency crisis talks should be convened at the UN which appears to do little to nothing. Obama has already signaled the solution to the refugee crisis should focus on solving conflict in Syria.
The other aspect to this tragedy is the movement of people. Up to 4 million Syrians amongst other nationalities represent this growing and moving tide of humanity.
“They tried the shores of Libya, the islands of Greece, and the plains of the Balkans. Now it has emerged that Syrians fleeing civil war have found another route to the safety of Europe: the Arctic Circle.
Dozens of Syrians have trekked to the far north of Russia this year in an unlikely bid to reach a little-known Arctic border crossing with Norway. Up to 20 Syrians a month are then crossing into the tiny Norwegian town of Kirkenes,”
Perhaps the sight of thousands of army trucks/ships and other means of transport sent by Angela Merkel to the borders of the Balkans and across to Turkey to transport refugees safely to Germany might give observers food for thought, but this would be one way to address the health and safety needs of refugees.
Instead it would appear Angela Merkel is hiding behind the Schengen Agreement assuming refugees will get safe passage across Europe at their own expense in the form of an extended holiday journey road trip. Germany has now closed its borders thus breaking Schengen and its promise to receive refugees.
Merkel has shown no concern at the plight of such refugees as they endure incredible danger on the way to hoped for safe havens in Germany or elsewhere.
Insufficiently worked out and still unclear Germany’s invitation ignores the reality of upwards of possibly 4 million people on the move from these refugee camps (see map).
In contrast UK policy has been to take a measured approach. Britain has grasped the nettle of the dangers posed by the movement of vast numbers of refugees doing a perilous journey without any safety net in place. Ireland’s response has been chaotic and mindless in comparison.
“As the prime minister prepared to make his statement, the former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell called for a “massive diplomatic effort” to allow for the creation of two safe havens in Syria to shelter the refugees. Military forces from Britain and other countries from the EU and the Middle East, acting under a UN chapter seven mandate, would protect the safe havens that could be based near the Turkish border in Idlib and Daraa province in the south-west of Syria by the border with Jordan. This would involve enforcing a no-fly zone.
Mitchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We need a serious effort now to protect the millions of people who are on the move in this second world country where up to half the people of the 20 million population are now either over the border, heading for Europe, dead or displaced.”
“The former cabinet minister said Britain would not deploy troops on the ground though he said this should be given serious consideration. “This is not the offensive action by troops that people in Britain sometimes recoil from.” he said. “It is a defensive action. It would need to be done under the UN charter, probably with a chapter seven mandate that allows them to defend themselves … It would need massive capacity to defend themselves.”
A safe haven policy negotiated in Syria and surrounding countries eg Turkey given a ceiling of 6 months to process refugees and direct them to countries wiling to receive them would allow countries to prepare for their reception and provide for their welfare. This would also give time for diplomatic efforts to push to resolve the crisis in Syria perhaps inducing under safety nets those who wish to return. Its clear following a war in Syria now heading for decade long duration, many refugees have given up waiting for end to conflict.
Merkel’s mess is compounded by the growing crisis on its borders. UNHCR since April 2012 has expressed concern at the behaviour and attitude of Hungarian authorities to asylum seekers.
Concern has been raised at UNHCL level since 2012 on Hungary’s attitude to refugees. Indeed Germany’s ignoring of the contents of this UNHCL document on refugee asylum seekers in Hungary amounts to German provocation of Hungary that could lead to the breakup of the European Union.
Member states of the EU are now in open conflict on how to deal with the crisis. Germany has by comparison shown irresponsibility at best, incompetence at worst with questions arising as to its policy motives that inform the mess.
Compounding the mess created by Merkel we have the nonsense ‘partnership and solidarity’ response of Ireland.
Uncritically swallowing the chaos wholeheartedly from Angela Merkel instead of working with the UK on a common and caring structured response based on both the UK’s and Ireland’s opt out of the Schengen agreement, we have contributed to the mess.
According to Joan Burton, we are to accept up to 5000 refugees. Naturally there is no budget allocated for this.
Somewhat like our bailout it appears the policy is the begging bowl where we accept bailout or in this instance accept 5000 refugees and ask for compensation to pay for this later?
Some have proposed using ghost estates to house refugees perhaps creating a District 9 class of untouchables in the manner of an internment camp? No one knows! Our history of direct provision for refugees does not augur well for the welfare of incoming refugees.
What we do know is that government following nearly 5 years in office have failed to solve the homeless crisis, the housing crisis, the renting crisis, hospital waiting lists and a hospital trolley service. Emigration remains at high levels and our unemployment levels are also high. We are in the middle of a homelessness crisis.
Asylum seekers in Ireland have been interned in a direct provision service criticised locally and internationally. Our reputation in this area is not good and the above does not augur well for asylum seekers.
The refugee crisis needs to be addressed in a caring and informed manner by competent policy makers.
Meanwhile war in Syria exacts an even more deadlier price.
September 1, 2015
Good luck to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney attempting to persuade farmers the fall in commodity prices for dairy, beef and grain is only a temporary glitch in the markets. Good luck with his efforts to persuade the EU to grant €800ml aid to Irish farmers to build storage to take meat out of the market place and hold until prices improve.
IFA president, Eddie Downey, “accused Mr Coveney of making big promises about opening new markets in China and the US to Irish products when the reality had been completely different, with just €500,000 worth of beef sales to the US rather than the talked-about figure of €80 million-plus.”
The reality is that farmers, water protestors, and the general public see through the myth that prosperity is returning to our shores. Young people at the lower levels of the public services eg in education enter at salary levels lowered from scales paid to those at senior levels.
The economy is worsening except for those at the top.
Growth in senior management grades in the HSE has a counterpart in the scandalous and disgraceful cuts to services of some with the greatest need for support in terms of their disability.
For example, recent cuts have meant a group of 28 parents advocating for services for their care now aged 18yrs, from a mainstream provider proven in provision of adult services for those with the severe needs of autism, have been denied such services.
In place of dedicated, proven, mainstream services, parents have been redirected to another service without record or means to work in this area, to provide a cover of 3 days per week. This has severe impact not only for the parents and their care, but for the future development of services in this area.
Such a predicament and scenario worsens when measured against the policy to provide free medical care to under 6’s and over 70’s for those who can well afford to pay. This is symptomatic of a generalised worsening in services for all but those who do not require such services.
In spite of this salary scales and levels of management at top of the HSE continue to grow. See inmo link below.
Irish Financial Services Industry/lending professionals at all levels
“Morgan McKinley August monthly Employment Monitor for July 2015 demonstrates an increase in professional jobs by 31% (July 2014 v July 2015) and 11% (June 2015 v July 2015). Focusing more particularly on the banking sector, as lending within the commercial, corporate and retail banking continues to recover, there is a growing need for lending professionals at all levels. The recent announcement of a pay rise by one of the country’s leading financial institutions will no doubt serve to make these roles even more attractive.”
The financial services industry and the banks who brought about Ireland’s economic collapse with their tooth and claws in austerity for Irish public services, are rebounding from their setback in 2008. While the economic prospects of those at the bottom of the tree decline further, those at the top of the tree, the 1% are mushrooming.
Forget services in education and health, infrastructure, product/service development, harnessing the creative energy required to develop the future of mankind, lets all print money and sell loans to each other. Lets have a system designed to pump all the wealth from the bottom 99% up to the top 1%. I digress.
All is not well with the financial sector. Consider the following:
“the World Bank’s three industrial commodity price indices – energy, metals and minerals, and agricultural raw materials – experienced near identical declines between early 2011 and the end of 2014, of more than 35 percent each, and will continue to contract this year. Prices of precious metals are also expected to decline by 3 percent in 2015, on top of the 12 percent decline seen in 2014. Again, ample supplies, weak demand, and a strengthening U.S. dollar have weighed on prices of these commodities as well.”
Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina are but a few of the Latin American economies facing economic decline followed by collapse due to the surging dollar and falling oil and commodity prices.
For six years, the world has operated based on faith and hope that Central Banks somehow fixed the issues that caused the 2008 Crisis.
QE adding $10 trillion in debt to the US system and the frenzied printing of money in Japan, Europe, UK adding more debt to previous stockpiles of debt, that has already caused 2008, has only one upside, to delay the inevitable collapse that in global market terms has potential to be far worse than that experienced in 2008. This has already begun.
The derivative market that uses the global bond bubble that has mushroomed from $80 trillion in 2008 to over $100 trillion today has grown to $555 trillion in size. Like a nuclear reactor in meltdown it is fast getting beyond the ability of central banks to control.
According to Graham Summers “Sovereign governments, large corporations and even municipalities have used derivatives to fake earnings and hide debt. NO ONE knows to what degree this has been the case, but given that 20% of corporate CFOs have admitted to faking earnings in the past, it’s likely a significant amount.”
“Corporations today are more leveraged than they were in 2007. As Stanley Druckenmiller noted recently, in 2007 corporate bonds were $3.5 trillion… today they are $7 trillion: an amount equal to nearly 50% of US GDP.”
“5) The Central Banks are now all leveraged at levels greater than or equal to where Lehman Brothers was when it imploded. The Fed is leveraged at 78 to 1. The ECB is leveraged at over 26 to 1. Lehman Brothers was leveraged at 30 to 1.”
In January 2015, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), backed into a corner by the ECB’s QE program, had a choice: print an obscene amount of money to defend the Franc’s peg or break the peg.
The SNB chose to break the peg. In a single day, the bank lost an amount of money equal to somewhere between 10% and 15% of Swiss GDP. More than that, it let the Franc appreciate… in a country in which 54% of the GDP is based on exports.
Central Bank of China is beginning to lose its grip as the Chinese economy succumbs to a dual property and stock bubble.
Turmoil on the markets with global currency volatility from the euro to the yuan driving a global downturn of unprecedented proportions is focusing minds on the obvious and emerging truism that the financial sector controlling the markets is not the solution to this global currency crisis, but is rather its principle cause.
The printing of monopoly money is skewing market economies across the world driving down the price of real commodities, impeding the creation of real and productive businesses and economic development. A global stock market and property bubble crash whose worst excesses are currently felt in China, but whose flames are fanned across Latin America and Europe, will soon be felt everywhere.
The rise of the value of the dollar pegged against other currencies with debt denominated in dollars as economies attempt to stabilise rising debt levels will inevitable lead to decline in GDP across the globe. This will inevitable lead to default eg Venezuela and Greece.
The effect of such defaults could lead to a tsunami effect the best outcome for which would be a switch back to a more stable global unit of currency based on a fixed exchange rate pegged to real commodities such as silver or gold.
The axiom that the development of the financial sector leads to economic growth has been shown to be a false truth and the sooner the 1971 decision to take the dollar off the gold peg is reversed, the better for the world.
The stockpiled trillions in debt creation since then is a testament to the fact that currency bubbles in a fiat currency are about as helpful to economic growth in the long term, as daffodils are as global reserve currency.
August 19, 2015
An unfair, biased, or hasty judicial proceeding that ends in a harsh punishment; an unauthorized trial conducted by individuals who have taken the law into their own hands, such as those put on by vigilantes or prison inmates; a proceeding and its leaders who are considered sham, corrupt, and without regard for the law.
Political policing has come to Ireland. Do you think if Joan Burton was actually imprisoned in her car or if their was one whif of danger to her safety, Joan would have rung the local gardai who would have descended in force to guard her safety.
Let’s hope a decent barrister will ask to see all mobile phone records and ask the relevant questions.
Perhaps the garda in charge of operations should answer the question as to how Joan Burton allegedly remained a prisoner in her car for 2 hours. Was police time wasted? Could she not have acted sooner to call a garda?
The whole matter would be ludicrous and laughable if not for its sinister side. Perhaps this is a prelude and warning of further kangaroo courts to come targeting protesters across the country.
Joseph Goebbels Hitler’s propaganda chief I’m sure would also have made similar opportunity out of the moment to mount efforts to tar and feather water protesters with similar propaganda.
Perhaps police entrapment was involved.
We look forward to analysing proceedings.
It’s worrisome that the Director of Public prosecutions has allowed water protesters to be victimised in this way. Apparently its one rule for farmers protesting another for working class people.
Burton’s remaining time in office would be better served going after bankers who’ve so far for the most part escaped the rule of law. Or indeed investigating possible collusion between regulatory bodies, developers and politicians in Celtic Tiger years.
Apparently its never been easier to get away with white-collar crime in Ireland
Perhaps if Joan Burton were charged with wasting police time more resources could be given to this neglected area.
Doubting Thomas’s may even have reason to believe the ‘imprisonment’ was staged by both Burton’s entourage and the garda as a form of police entrapment?
The whole saga does not reflect well on the politician involved, gardai and the judiciary.
However, everyone who values free speech and democracy in Ireland should protest at this abuse of our democracy. Particular attention should be given in a public inquiry as to the role of the DPP in pursuing this matter.
Increasing the rent supplement will not end the Housing Emergency mushrooming in Ireland, it would in any case only be pocketed by buy-to-let landlords.
Young people are under attack from unscrupulous landlords with unconscionable rents due to artificially induced housing shortages created by the banks to protect wealthy clients and their developer loans.
Consider this scenario: Banks in Ireland remain in a fragile state. Large and outstanding loans to buy-to-let landlords during the boom years are not risk free. If property prices sink, these loans risk going into default.
FG/LB in collusion with the central bank decide on a policy of inducing housing shortages to fatten the sacrificial lamb of property developer loans held by the banks. Banks are already feasting on high rents and ridiculously high property prices.
It’s the old story of the rich 1% with enough political connections in FG/LB to pursue policies in their favour to the exclusion of the needs of the 99%. Such a possible scenario is worthy of consideration.
The price to pay is that some fall under the austerity wheels and face homelessness.
Enda Kenny has promised a package of measures to address the emergency. Ironically, he has known of this emergency for quite some time.
In much the same way he promised that measures would be taken to demand debt relief for our banks duly trumpeted and reneged upon since June 2012, Kenny has been endlessly announcing his ‘waiting for Godot’ means to address the emergency homelessness crisis due to worsen over the coming months and years.
At the stroke of a pen, he could impose a tax on tax-free development land forcing the end of developers sitting on their pot of gold and refusing to sell until the market
He could immediately open a series of caravan/mobile home parks as an interim measure that would at least take people out of B&B’s and unsuitable hotels.
NAMA is withholding large property banks from the market and it too should be forced to divest its stake in rising property prices that risk return to Celtic Tiger mistakes..
Irish developers are being refused loans to begin construction supporting the housing needs of people in Dublin.
Kenny’s policies have not only goosed the construction industry but high rents are leading to the closure of viable retail businesses throughout Ireland while Kenny’s odyssey of own goals continue.
Behind all of this farcical paper based economy is the dominance of the financial services industry driving the real economy to its doom.
The servicing of loans to the banks, the development of lending by the banks, has turned a real economy into a paper based exercise in financial Tom Foolery forcing young people to emigrate, the destruction of an economy through austerity.
The propaganda that the economy has turned for the better translated means we are at the point that by stealing from taxes set by the state to pay for social services including education and health, we have returned gambling debts of the rich to the rich to enable them relaunch casino investment practices while the rest of us still pay the tab.
Kenny’s castle is built on sand
The enormous downturn in the value of the euro against the dollar from 1:40+ to 1:10 dollar/euro exchange rate has been a great boon for exporters in Ireland and has lured more US holiday makers to Europe.
While this has been a boon to large business in the export area for the euros held by the 1%, this has been a hidden tax on the general population of 99% forced to pay higher for a range of imported goods from energy products based on oil to imported household items imported from China.
It’s a fragile recovery based on Zeppelin hydrogen rather than the oxygen of a real economy. Germans used hydrogen as a lifting gas that increased lift by about 8%.
Hydrogen fires had never occurred before the one that brought down the Zeppelin.
Let’s hope Kenny’s promise of a rise to pensions and free medical cards for the over 70’s will not further divide older people from the young who do not live in mortgage free houses and are not unaffected by the financial collapse.
That particular policy will need to be watched carefully as we approach the winter months with the possibility of doctor’s surgeries overwhelmed with young and old seeking free services while those in serious need go to the back of the queue.
Nama could immediately release large vacant property banks to deal with the crisis.
Kenny’s agenda is not to allow this to happen, to keep property prices high,
to inflate banking profits in this illusory paper economy of ours.
Growth of circa 5% has been promised for the economy for next year as the world enters into an economic disaster with parallels depicted in the movie A Perfect Storm.
Unemployment levels down for June in spite of Summer month optimism.
There are increased unemployment levels for the young and proportionately 2:1 female to male ratios in those losing their jobs.
Higher taxes vat receipts can partly be explained by higher cost of imports.
Effectively the euro has undergone a massive devaluation against the dollar. In the short-term this has given us an economic boost mainly through increasing exports that benefit from a lower exchange rate against the dollar. Tourism from the US also gets a boost.
But there are negative sides.
China could be reaching pay-up time for empty ghost cities built on disastrous lending to developers during its boom years built on lending. Currently it is attempting to brake massive sell-off of investment stocks with parallels to 1929 in the US. China faces the danger of imminent recession.
€86bn bailout to Greece is not without its critics.
Ironically, Kenny has attacked the proposal of debt relief for Greece (I kid you not) in spite of his own aborted failure to succeed in this area. The IMF is now strongly suggesting it will not be part of such a bailout if there is not debt relief for Greece as part of the bailout measures for Greece.
The coming Autumn will decide the fate of Greece if debt relief is not on the table. If it is, banks in Greece and France will take a large hit thus weakening the euro area further.
Meanwhile some argue that 12.5% of GDP as repayment of debt interest by Greece is sustainable.
What is more than sure is that the Zeppelin of recovery built on servicing the financial sector at the expense of the real economy is doomed to failure and will lead to more and more bush fires adding to decline rather than recovery.
Meanwhile young people are asked to pay the piper as they are led into the world of higher taxes and rent increase further eroding their standard of living while being denied the right to own their own property and raise their families in a world threatened by increasing exploitation of the 99% by the 1%.
Welcome to the new Orwellian world of financial paper based Zeppelin economies built on the fires of property and stock based investment that threaten to burn out of control at any moment.
July 29, 2015
FG/LB shambles re Irish Water continues. In 2013/14 investment in Irish Water dropped from €600m+ to €300m+. To balance this drop in funding FG/LB touted the notion that Irish Water would be able to massively invest in off balance funding of Irish Water with the costs of this to be borne by the new Irish Water entity. They went ahead and proceeded to fund Irish water with loans obtained on a commercial basis from Irish banks.
““The ability to access private sector financing in order to invest in improving Ireland’s water infrastructure was a key reason for the establishment of Irish Water. The funds we are borrowing will be used to address decades of underinvestment. The signing of this facility demonstrates confidence in the Irish Water strategy and its ability to borrow competitively from commercial banks. Lenders understand the long-term and sustainable utility model that we have adopted,” said Michael O’Sullivan, group finance director of Ervia, Irish Water’s parent company.”
Phil Coulter “Cool Clear Water”
In November 2014, I blogged:
“Irish Water mess deepens. Apparently the cost of installing meters was understated by €100ml or 25% over the original guesstimate. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/irish-water-parent-company-defends-100m-extra-for-meters-1.2012959 This came by the usual route. Once taxpayers are on the hook, another 25-30% can be leached from them with no one to say BOO. Don’t ask to what extent consultants costing extra €86 ml were involved in that decision.
Then it was decided we would not use the meters!
There was a time in this democracy when an increase in vat imposed on children’s shoes would bring down a government. Hardly an eyebrow is raised at the billions shovelled to bondholders, millions to consultants, with the prospect of further billions to be leached from taxpayers by Irish Water.
Have a look at this and look fondly back at the time we had democracy and not Endocracy a la Enda Kenny.
“LOCAL GOVERNMENT (FINANCIAL PROVISIONS) ACT, 1997
AN ACT TO ENABLE LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO ENJOY THE REVENUES FROM DUTIES CHARGED UNDER THE FINANCE (EXCISE DUTIES) (VEHICLES) ACT, 1952 , AND FROM DUTIES AND FEES CHARGED UNDER CERTAIN OTHER ENACTMENTS, TO REMOVE THE POWER OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO MAKE CHARGES FOR THE SUPPLY OF WATER FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES OR FOR THE DISPOSAL OF DOMESTIC SEWAGE, TO ENABLE STEPS TO BE TAKEN FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING THE PROVISION BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF SERVICES IN A MORE ECONOMICAL AND EFFICIENT MANNER, TO OTHERWISE MAKE PROVISION IN RELATION TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT (IN PARTICULAR FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENSURING THAT THE REVENUES FROM DUTIES AND FEES AFORESAID ARE APPORTIONED AMONG LOCAL AUTHORITIES ON AN EQUITABLE AND FAIR BASIS) AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS. [20th May, 1997]”
Is Irish Water illegal and can it be challenged in court under the above provision.
On December 10 we need 10 out of ten people in Ireland to come out and object to the scandalous mess of Irish Water. Its reckoned the cost of setting up Irish Water will take 10 years of charges without one penny spent of the required billions to fund infrastructural development, that’s just to pay for the quango and the cost of keeping the mess tipping over.
The funding model of Irish Water makes an interesting read. Irish Water will be funded not only by the water tax charges levied on taxpayers by regressive taxation forcing Joe Soap, unemployed, to pay the same charge on his home without a swimming pool, as that payable by Bono, a tax exile. But it will be funded by government taxpayers money.
” Government decided that it would provide annual operating funding to
Irish Water in 2015 and 2016 (“Operating Funding”)”
“The Minister for Finance has sought the approval
of the Government to provide such moneys to Irish Water and the Government decided that
it would provide an amount of equity in 2014 to Irish Water (“Capital Funding”)”
In order to borrow the billions required to develop the water infrastructure currently envisaged by Irish Water it must satisfy certain European requirements:
“In addition, the Government decision in relation to Capital Funding has been framed on the basis that the Capital Funding provided to Irish Water will be classified in Government accounts as an acquisition of equity (which would not impact on GGDeficit) as opposed to a capital transfer (which would impact on GGDeficit). This classification is only likely to be accepted by Eurostat if Irish Water is a market producer and the Government can show it is acting as a rational investor in providing the Capital Funding. If reasonable investment returns are not expected to be made then the investment will be considered as a capital transfer not an acquisition of equity.”
In today’s financial world where black is often termed to be white it’s not at all certain that Irish Water will fail the test to prove it a viable concern for European investment funding.
It’s transparently obvious to this writer that given the back-end funding of Irish Water by way of both Capital Funding and Operating Funding and the cap on increases in water levy charges into 2015/16/17, that Irish Water by no means can deliver a ‘reasonable investment return’ without Enron accounting practices.
Neither this state nor Europe should invest in this awful mess. Europeans pay water charges and do not pay through the nose for water with their taxes. We pay for both through taxes and quangos….
Enda Kenny has holed Fine Gael under the water line with this Irish Water debacle.”
At this point it is crucial to assess the damage to Irish taxpayer liabilities provided by this debacle.
“It is likely, therefore, that the interest rate to be applied on Irish Water’s €550m borrowings this year will be in excess of the 1pc applied to Government borrowings and also more than the 2.5pc rate applied to Irish Water loans from the National Pension Reserve Fund under the old financial model.”
It’s clear the establishment of Irish Water was designed by FG/LB to follow the road of privatisation with self-sustaining commercial borrowing as a foundation for future selling off of this state asset. The true extra cost of ‘commercial borrowing’ is not being released on grounds of ‘commercial sensitivity’. The Orwellian and dictatorial anti democratic nature of the Irish Water debacle has now come home to roost.
Eurostat decision to refuse to grant Irish Water take Irish Water into off-balance accounting must surely be the coup de grace for Irish Water.
It’s a pity Eurostat had not similar powers to refuse the Irish government’s guarantee taking over €440bn of contingent liabilities in the banking sector onto the shoulders of Irish taxpayers.
Even NAMA succeeded in passing the Eurostat tests and having its €67bn paid for matched by assets in bank property securities getting approval from Eurostat.
The extent of incompetence represented by Irish Water at the political level is rivalled only with the programme of Universal health care for under sixes blocking doctor’s surgeries with rich kids availing of free medical care while those with real medical need, the old, sick and disabled, lie on hospital trollies, or waiting lists awaiting important surgery or urgent medical reports/tests.
But Irish Water wins out as an Enda Kenny vanity project the scrapping of which would be a very smart move for FG/LB, little risk of that here so far.
The Irish people who’ve already rejected Irish Water will give their verdict on FG/LB and supporters of Irish Water at the next election.
July 14, 2015
Given Germany’s earlier negotiating position that Greece should be expelled from the euro zone for a period of 5 years, has Germany decided to opt instead for a set of proposals so unconscionable to Greece hoping Greece will find the terms so unpalatable, they would secede without the euro zone’s finger prints on the trigger.
Its a huge credit to Syriza instead of walking away, they have achieved terms they can put before the Greek people instead of the disenfranchisement meted out to Irish people including their parliament.
In a week when we listened to ex Taoiseach, Brian Cowen express remorse that we were bundled into a bailout without our consent; that our bailout was no so much negotiated as unwrapped and admired like an Xmas present from the ECB, it must have been embarrassing for our incumbent Taoiseach to witness bruising efforts of Greece making a stand for its people.
On the other hand, he did not have to appear before the Banking Inquiry to explain during the Celtic Tiger years why Fine Gael policies favoured even more deregulation of the banks and an even bigger mess with Fine Gael support for removal of stamp duty and other fuel-the-boom policies. Instead Enda Kenny decided to undermine and counter Greece’s negotiating position.
You might think that a bailout country would be an ally of Greece and express solidarity with its demands for a better deal. Not so.
Instead, we have been treated to an attack on democracy of unprecedented proportions by Enda Kelly and Michael Noonan and FG henchmen such as Michael Kelly MEP lobbying against Greek proposals for debt write down and a better deal.
Towards its conclusion, in spite of Enda Kenny’s visit to Italy to lobby against Greece, the only allies of Greece turned out to be Francois Hollande of France with Italy, Portugal, Spain, in the wings. Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, hosting a visit by Enda Kenny, must have thought Kenny’s views ‘quirky’ if not outright crazy.
Consider the following chilling interview in which Kelly rejects the ‘populist’ view, currently being amortized into a denigratory term alarmingly subverting democratic political and institutional instruments and by implication attacking and subverting the political affairs of a sovereign country and fellow member of the eurozone:
Measure also the involvement of the Greek parliament in debt restructuring and debt negotiation and compare with Ireland’s current Economic Management Council, where certain matters are not even allowed air before members of the Fine Gael party, outside this technical group; never mind, as in our bailout decision, put before parliament for debate.
Its clear from this interview Kelly would like a more compliant Vichy type technical group in Greece to replace a ‘populist’ Greek government. This group would be forced to pay reparations and extract odious debt from Greece including the selling off of private assets to the tune of €50bn, islands, ports, other valuables in return for another unworkable bailout.
Good deal, if you are a director of Germany’s Deutsche Bank, a global banking and financial services bank, who must have cracked open the champagne with thoughts of the private purchase of one of those Greek islands to celebrate on news of the deal.
Kelly states the Greek government and not austerity should take the blame for the failure of austerity; if in Ireland Fine Gael played the populist card, according to Kelly, we would have ended up in the same position.
We must therefore logically assume FG who put policies before the previous election that included restructuring Ireland’s debt, namely, burning bondholders and demanding debt write-down, falsely claiming there was agreement for debt write down in June 2012, were at best hypocritical, they were at worst lying to the ‘populist’ electorate.
We must assume FG/LB are not ‘populist’ parties claiming according to the Webster dictionary, to represent the views of the ‘common people’.
Debt write down is not supported by Kenny and Kelly.
In fact, supported by their satellites in the media, FG tout Ireland’s negotiation of its promissory note as successful ‘debt profiling’. ‘Debt profiling’ means ‘extend and pretend’, endless and laborious negotiations, clipping coupons, extending maturities. Both debtors and creditors factor in growth forecasts, inflation, and other economic permeable assets to pretend debt will be repaid.
Its clear Greek debt will not be repaid.
There is another lesson some economists including Dan O Brien, whom I admire in many respects, cannot seem to get the head around.
When a country goes into default, both creditors and debtors, must take the loss.
Otherwise, there is no incentive on lenders to end profligate and foolish lending.
Its a simple axiom that is foolishly being ignored also by the IMF involved in debt restructuring in the euro zone. For this legacy, Christine Lagarde and IMF failure to insist on write down, the IMF will have to pay the piper eventually. It will fail to lure away with its magic pipe deflation and the worsening effects of decline of the euro fallen from 1:40 to 1:10 against the rickety dollar of a little more than a year ago.
If lending is owed to itself as in the case of a Japan or EMU, if debt hasn’t the means to restructure debt by way of debt write down in EMU, with powers of enactment similar to those in the Federal Reserve, extortion and bullying of member states, comes into play.
In recent negotiations the EU has veered to a totalitarian version of the latter.
France, Italy and Germany have all avoided both structural reforms and paying the bill for Greece. One rule for the rich another rule for the poor.
The euro zone is particularly vulnerable to deflation because of Germany’s insistence on too much fiscal austerity. Increasing the debt burden on Greece and adding austerity has as much chance of saving Greece as it has of saving the euro.
Debt write-down appears to make common sense and would appear recently in the case of Greece to have the support of France and the US. However, the truth is the financial services industry have so wired the global economy since 1970, that any canary in the mine such as Greece, can bring the global economy down. How is this so?
CDS defaults in the unregulated financial services industry have so trip-wired the European and global economy that a default in Greece dollar on dollar could cost banks in Europe in particular Deutsche bank, multiples in the 10’s of the actual discount or write-down these countries could negotiate.
Say 40% or €100bn were written off, actual cost to Deutsche Bank and other French banks could be in multiples of 10 of that figure in terms of the cost of underwriting the CDS default paper these banks are on tap for.
Unfortunately, the fiat money system that is entirely paper based since the dollar was taken off the gold peg in 1971, has been allowed to develop entirely without regulation since then to its present state and is currently a financial bomb primed to explode if set off by even a small canary.
The financial services industry has become the global casino spawning the global tapping of taxpayers money that should instead be earmarked for real economic development and social services instead of serf protectorates such as Greece funneling serf tithes back to anonymous bankers and bondholders.
Since 1970 power in the financial services industry has loaded on risk, got bailed out , blocking regulations, broken the law without accountability. TBTF banks and financial institutions have over ruled the real economy and replaced it with a virtual economy manipulating values eg in the commodity markets.
Its Achilles heel however, is that the real economy will always win out in the end. Gravity in the face of such manipulation is currently being experienced in deflation in the euro zone with slowing growth worldwide in currencies exposed to these same risks.
If the deal with Greece goes ahead, kicking the can down the road, the euro itself has backed itself into a corner, austerity with its political and social negatives, will weaken the euro further.
Creditors are currently threatening to bring the house down if they are not repaid. Its time not to pour good money after bad, bring the house down and rebuild on a solid foundation fit for human progress and end the fraudulent deceit of the current shambolic and unregulated mayhem looting and pillaging debtor nations such as Greece.
Greece should go it alone and rally its people behind its own currency. Volunteer groups within its own society should support communities in education and health. It should follow the path of Iceland.
On the back jacket of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” 2004 is written, “John Perkins should know he was an economic hit man for an international consulting firm that worked to convince poorer countries to accept enormous development loans – and to make sure that such projects were contracted to U.S. companies. Once these countries were saddled with huge debts, the American government would request their “pound of flesh” in favours, including access to natural resources, military cooperation and political support.”
We need an audit of the debts of Ireland and especially Greece to examine where the money went, how much German companies were made rich eg Siemens, on money lent to Greece by Germany, how much was diverted to eg military spending in a country known for corruption and obedient compliance with profligate, looting lenders.
In 1953, the Treaty of Versailles was revisited in the London Debt conference and Germany had its debt written down by over 50%. Importantly these obligations would only trigger on a trade surplus. This gave Germany the opportunity to rebuild itself in the post war years.
“The total under negotiation was 16 billion marks of debt resulting from the Treaty of Versailles after World War I which had not been paid in the 1930s, but which Germany decided to repay to restore its reputation. This money was owed to government and private banks in the U.S., France and Britain. Another 16 billion marks represented postwar loans by the U.S. Under the London Debts Agreement of 1953, the repayable amount was reduced by 50% to about 15 billion marks and stretched out over 30 years, and compared to the fast-growing German economy were of minor impact.
An important term of the agreement was that repayments were only due while West Germany ran a trade surplus, and that repayments were limited to 3% of export earnings. This gave Germany’s creditors a powerful incentive to import German goods, assisting reconstruction.
Its sad to see Germany impose its version of the Treaty of Versailles on a victim of the euro such as Greece with the obedient compliance of euro zone leaders such as our own, Enda Kenny.
Following his trashing of elected representatives of the Greek people, I never thought I would agree with anything Wolfgang Schauble, German Federal Minister of Finance, had to say about Greece.
But today on German radio Shauble has repeated an earlier position, that Greece would be better off with Grexit for a period of 5 years. This would enable Greece to negotiate debt write-down and do the necessary reforms to get its economy in shape. Within the EMU, debt write-down is not on the cards.
Returning to the drachma and having a parallel currency of the euro is not without its hardship difficulties.
It would require a mobilisation of a vast volunteer effort within Greece to offset the worst implications of this for its people.
Judging by their huge success in standing up for Greece at the political level, if the Greek people can mirror only a fraction of this effort, debt write-down with a quick return to order and return of Greece to markets is within their scope.
Austerity in Greece has already made their country competitive and has generated a surplus.
Their banking issues require debt write-down of the order of 60%. Devaluation and return to the drachma can turn around the fortunes of Greece in the shortest time possible.
June 28, 2015
The Greek economy is screwed. Its structural deficit reduction has been 4-5 times that of Ireland’s since 2008. Think of the austerity in Ireland endured by its population, multiply it by 5.
Court jester to the troika and the creditors, Enda Kenny thinks Greece needs to come up with some pro growth policies.
Look at Greece circled in accompanying chart. The debt burden is increasing, growth has collapsed. It cannot serve its own public service in spite of horrendous cutbacks, never mind serve creditors their interest rate repayments. Policies forced upon it by creditors have led to economic collapse. The troika is demanding more austerity for citizens leading to further collapse.
It would appear the only method in this madness is to destroy the Greek government, destroy democracy, make the country ungovernable and unmanageable, before sending in tanks with law and order provided from a puppet government such as the Irish government, friendly to creditors, at some point in the not so distant future.
Both Kenny and his cabinet mainly Noonan and Charlie Flanagan have been sniping at Greek efforts to secure a debt deal over the past week. Charlie Flanagan, minister for Foreign Affairs, has stated actions and comments by the Greek negotiators have been “provocative” over the past week.
With its record on debt negotiation hitherto regarded as successful by this government we are dealing with a level of self-delusion unprecedented in Irish politics. They will not delude the Greeks as they defend against the latest IMF smash and grab. One pro growth policy not acceptable to Kenny is debt write-down.
Broadcast on: June 26th, 2015 by RTE interview by Cathal Mac Coilla
containing a relatively lengthy and revealing interview with Yanis Varoufakis economist and current Greek Finance minister.
Enda Kenny and his cabinet avoid such interviews preferring their handler’s glib soundbites that hide incompetence and groom the public to accept dictatorial dictates that may not be questioned.
We could benefit from a televised debate style open forum between him and Yanis Varoufakis, Alexis Tsipras and Michael Noonan that would instantly cast light on his lack of ability and idiotic contribution to debate on Greece.
Perhaps one on the lines of the BBC’s Question Time together with a live audience who also field questions.
We would soon see through to his clownish tilting at windmills that would lay bare his embarrassing contribution to the debate on Greece.
We are unlikely to get this. Apologies for this slight digression.
Approximately 6 mins into the interview with Varoufakis, Mac Coilla ran a Kenny interview in which Kenny was asked : “Is debt relief something that Ireland would support for Greece?” “No”(Enda Kenny).
Kenny has campaigned for debt relief for Ireland seriously bungling the matter with claims he had commitments for same, which have since evaporated.
Here he is May 2014 reiterating such claims “Mr Kenny said the implementation of a pledge by EU leaders in June 2012 to ease the cost of the Irish bank rescue should be part of Europe’s response to the election”
Now both he and Noonan are sniping and attacking Greece for its attempt to vindicate its own requirements for debt relief.
In terms of the politics of the absurd this is embarrassing to say the least.
How can we deny the Greeks their right to debt write-down and claim those same rights ourselves?
This is gross hypocrisy. Damage done to our own claims for debt relief on our shouldering of losses on saving German and French banks with tab sent to our taxpayers, is beyond belief.
It would appear Ireland supports Germany hegemony and its interference in the affairs of a sovereign country Greece.
Idiotic politicians from Ireland such as Kenny are jumping on the bandwagon and fanning the flames of opposition to Greece instead of supporting the Greek position.
These efforts are meant to destabilise the Greek government:
Jean Claude Juncker EU commission president is not beneath trashing Greece and interfering in its political autonomy. So long EU and welcome in GEU (The German EU)
Unlike FG/LB under Kenny Syriza are committed to democracy and have called a referendum on Greek bailout. The Greek people can measure the heinous effects of bailout disguised in looting and pillaging of the public sector and can see through the lies told by Juncker.
Yanis Varoufakis in his interview stated Greece “Bent over backwards” to accommodate some “rather strange demands” from creditors and European partners.
Its ironic European ministers are not privy to these negotiations but are fed on propaganda from the negotiations given to them by the creditors.
Varoufakis noted Greece negotiating with the institutions, heads of state not negotiating with the institutions. They are kept in the dark as to the details known only to Greece and the institutions, but are willing to feed on the line/propaganda given to them by the institutions.
Yanis Varoufakis states if Noonan, Kenny were privy to those details, they would change their perspective.
I’m not sure he knows the level of incompetence he is dealing with.
As debtor nation under constant recession for the past 3 years they have responsibility not to make matters worse for the economy. Yanis states when he is asked to put his signature at the end of an agreement he knows is unviable, he is not going to do it!
Unlike Irish negotiators who sign anything they are asked to.
Kenny raps the Greeks over the knuckles for not having any pro growth figures before the ministers. The way Greece should go given Ireland’s example according to Kenny, “We did not increase income tax, we did not increase VAT, we did not increase PRSI, but we put up alternatives to those measures proposed in order to put up a pro growth policy and make our country competitive”. The lie is we did increase vat along with a plethora of hidden taxes.
Kenny increased vat and introduced odious austerity through the back door protecting the rich with unfair, hidden taxes, property taxes and water charges and public service salary cuts levied on the lower and middle class. He did what he was told to do.
According to Yanis Varoufakis Greece has imposed 5 times the fiscal consolidation imposed by Ireland over the past 5 years. Greeks are the champions of austerity at this time.
Because of austerity measures the Greek economy shrank by 27% on back of pensions coming down by up to 48% and wages by 32%.
They have squeezed out of their public sector everything apart from low wages and low pensions. For 7 years quarter on quarter the economy is shrinking. Only 10% or 12% get unemployment benefit.
In Greece whole families with generations of the unemployed living on one pension there is nothing more to give.
For Joan Burton “Greece seems to prefer lecturing the rest of Europe”….So many critics of Greece in the Irish government.
Varoufakis has been excused of the heinous crime of explaining macroeconomics. Varoufakis, “It’s quite quaint that insisting on having a macroeconomic discussion at European level is considered to be condescending”.
On the contrary, Varoufakis is holding up by his learned competence a mirror to the incompetence and quaint ill-informed if embarrassing position of Burton ilk.
Kenny and Burton are both against increasing taxes on corporations, on the rich, on large companies; they are both mouthpiece of a right-wing ideology. Strangely they ask for pro growth policies but refuse to countenance debt forgiveness as the only pro growth outlook for Greece.
The Greeks have put forward a balanced proposal to their creditors. Perhaps we need to ask Kenny to outline his balanced proposals for Greece or justify his ill-informed nonsense?
Meanwhile in forcing Greece to the brink, IMF has breached its own mandate in partnering with the ECB and the EU.
It should immediately withdraw from the troika.
Classical way the IMF ingloriously worked financial meltdown eg in Latin America in countries since its inception was, to support devaluation, debt write-down/relief with 40-50% losses born by creditors, re-engineering of the economy to support growth.
IMF’s meddling in the affairs of ECB and the EU under the principle of full repayment of unpayable bailout loans without devaluation or debt write-down has turned into an exercise in the excoriation and pillaging of a sovereign nation.
IMF should reexamine its own policies and mandate and consider whether its own leadership is up to the task of managing Greek fallout, or whether its own leadership under Lagarde is wanting another adult in the room to deal with this unfolding crisis.
High Five to Greece, go n’éiri an bothar libh.
June 15, 2015
Congrats to Syriza not selling out their people as our government have. Incompetence and greed unfortunately have won the day in Ireland, see growing list of current failures of FG/LB end of this blog:
Ambrose Evans Pritchard in the Guardian:
“The radical wing of Greece’s Syriza party is to table plans over coming days for an Icelandic-style default and a nationalisation of the Greek banking system, deeming it pointless to continue talks with Europe’s creditor powers.
Syriza sources say measures being drafted include capital controls and the establishment of a sovereign central bank able to stand behind a new financial system. While some form of dual currency might be possible in theory, such a structure would be incompatible with euro membership and would imply a rapid return to the drachma.
The confidential plans were circulating over the weekend and have the backing of 30 MPs from the Aristeri Platforma or ‘Left Platform’, as well as other hard-line groupings in Syriza’s spectrum. It is understood that the nationalist ANEL party in the ruling coalition is also willing to force a rupture with creditors, if need be.
“This goes well beyond the Left Platform. We are talking serious numbers,” said one Syriza MP involved in the draft.
“We are all horrified by the idea of surrender, and we will not allow ourselves to be throttled to death by European monetary union,” he told the Telegraph.
The consequences for default are far reaching and contrary to the snake oil bond salesman frequently brought on to RTE to talk down the crisis, who argue every bank in Europe has already written off Greek Debt, such is not the case.
Lets look at Deutsche Bank http://notquant.com/is-deutsche-bank-the-next-lehman/:
“June 9: S&P lowers the rating of Deutsche Bank to BBB+ Just three notches above “junk”. (Incidentally, BBB+ is even lower than Lehman’s downgrade – which preceded its collapse by just 3 months)”
“The trouble for Deutsche Bank is that its conventional retail banking operations are not a significant profit center. To maintain margins, Deutsche Bank has been forced into riskier asset classes than its peers.
Deutsche Bank is sitting on more than $75 Trillion in derivatives bets — an amount that is twenty times greater than German GDP. Their derivatives exposure dwarfs even JP Morgan’s exposure – by a staggering $5 trillion.
With that kind of exposure, relatively small moves can precipitate catastrophic losses. Again, we must note that Greece just missed its payment to the IMF – and further defaults are most certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.”
The chain of dominos that will fall if DB defaults is anyone’s guess and DB is but one bank in Europe. Banks in France and Germany are highly exposed to Greek style default.
Highly inflated tyres come with increased risk of puncture and it looks like Greece is one tyre that cannot be mended without default.
QE in the US, EMU, Japan and UK patched the burst tyre of the fiat monetary system debased by taking it off the gold reserve Breton Woods system in 1971. Since then the money supply has inflated the divide between rich and poor. Austerity has made the poor poorer and the rich, richer. In order to unwind the out-of-control path of our current monetary system, Breton Woods should be revisited.
Financial engineering concealing losses due to adjusted profit accountancy tricks will not hide the effects of Greek default.
A super inflated stock market rich only on the gambled investments of central banks printing money spent on stocks and shares not in real investment awaits the pin of Greece and a burst DB.
Omens are not good and parallels exist with the past:
“In 1715, France was insolvent. It had just lost its king, Louis XIV, and the Duke d’Orléans was named regent until the late monarch’s great-grandson came of age to rule. Familiar with Law and his unorthodox ideas, the duke established him as head of the Banque Générale in hopes that he might reduce the massive debt Louis XIV left behind.
To this end, Law began printing banknotes—lots of them—and flooding the economy with easy money. Doing so, he believed, would expand employment, boost production and increase exports.
It indeed had those effects—for a time. Paris was booming. The number of millionaires multiplied.
Unlike Palmstruch, Law made no claims that the notes could be converted back into gold or any other metal. He believed that a currency, whether gold or paper, had no intrinsic value other than as a government-sanctioned medium of exchange. Instead, his notes were “secured,” vaguely, by French land, including its colonies in the Americas. There was also no limit to the amount of money that could be pumped into the French economy. Like many of today’s central bankers, Law was of the opinion that if 500 million notes were good, a billion were even better.
But to make it all work according to plan, he had to take extreme measures. Law outlawed the hoarding of money, the use of coins and the possession of more than the minimalist amount of gold and silver.
The system turned out to be untenable and the paper money became worthless. After only four short years, the currency bubble burst. Law was not only removed from office but exiled from the country. Until his death in 1729, he roamed Europe heavily in debt, making his way by his former occupation, gambling.
The incident had long-lasting effects. It sustained the country’s economic woes for years and contributed to the start of the French Revolution later in the century, as it stoked working class disenfranchisement.”
There are parallels between 1715 in France, The Central Bankers, QE, the international shadow banking system and the bubble of QE printing money for the rich while printing austerity and debt for the poor.
We should know by June 30 if Grexit is to be.
Grexit will not end the euro’s woes.
In a badly designed monetary union the treatment of the outer core debtor nations such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece, has been appalling.
Austerity is not leading to growth in Europe. It has crippled Greece and done serious damage to Ireland attacking democracy, health and education services and the development of public infrastructure.
The EU has morphed into a dangerous hegemony controlled by Germany leading serf nations into the unknown.
Global currency led by the dollar in the US has turned its economy into a rentier financial paper led system destroying the middle class, destroying the possibility of property ownership for young people, burdening the young with impossible debt.
Is this a true model for human development and growth in a civilization tasked with developing a positive future for humanity, or a recipe for disaster dragging the world into the past.
Arguments made against Greece refer to its large shadow economy. International creditors have pitted an international shadow banking system against Greece’s own shadow economy under the radar of taxation.
“As of 2013, academic research has suggested that the true size of the shadow banking system may have been over $100 trillion in 2012.”
“Based on estimates, Prentice notes that “given US GDP of $14.26 trillion, the world’s largest, that could still be as much as $1.2 trillion in taxable income that slips through Uncle Sam’s fingers each year”. Prentice quotes Austrian economist Friedrich Schneider, “Taxation and regulation increased in most countries over the past 10 years…reducing the tax burden is the best policy measure to reduce the shadow economy, followed by a lessening of fiscal and business regulation.”
Negotiations between Greece and its creditors have followed a rocky road. A large shadow economy in Greece unwilling to face taxes against a band of creditors wanting taxes to pay extortionate and unconscionable debt of no benefit to Greek people innocent in driving up such debt.
Let’s hope in return to the Drachma or some parallel currency, responsible and competent government can bring Greece into a better place; where taxes will be levied to support services in education and health and infrastructure for the Greek people.
Meanwhile its time to rethink the very basis upon which our deregulated and dive-to-the-bottom global currency system works.
Humanity can come up with better than the pretence the global monetary system has clothes on.
Hats off to Greece in defending democracy against rampant shadow bankers who’ve won out in Ireland and Portugal.
Grexit and Greece may yet to be a lesson for us all.
Kathleen Lynch must have been joking on the radio. When asked about possible tsunami of parents with children under 6 wishing to avail of the free GP scheme flooding doctor surgeries, she replied, that she had taken this into consideration, working mothers would not be taking time off work to take their babies to the doctor when they are sick!
Perhaps she should sign an edict requiring doctor’s surgeries to be relocated to creches to avoid having whole creches descend on doctor surgeries? In a world where the completely daft and ludicrous becomes commonplace, I must point out I jest for sake of parody.
Those who are seriously ill will find it increasingly difficult to attend the doctor.
Kathleen Lynch has a favorite turn of phrase she uses to describe this policy, “this is part of the future”. The irony is its not, our health service through austerity is being dragged back to the middle ages.
The notion free health care for the under 6’s should equally be distributed to those who can well afford to pay for this strikes at incompetence of ludicrous proportions in a society that cannot provide hospital beds only trollies.
Along with Irish Water, the abysmal failure to address mortgage arrears, extortion of those on variable rate mortgages, absurd efforts to abolish the Junior Cert, and current proposals to hide the IBRC investigation under the umbrella of a commission of investigation they hopefully will anaesthesise the downside of negative findings of political incompetence, the mess grows by the day.
FG/LB have ensured the investigation will not be brought into the Public arena with no danger of the PAC getting hold of it as they did with the charities. Dirty washing will only be done in private.
Property mess, notices of intent to startup have dropped by up to 25% this month in Dublin due to the Central Bank’s loading of 20% deposit requirements for first time mortgages in spite of rearguard action to soften this blow to first time house buyers.
Huge landmarks of zoned land in Dublin are sat on by developers tax free in spite of emergency requirements to address homelessness and increase stock of available housing to avoid rentier and bank mortgage scalping.
Environment minister Kelly and Junior minister Nash have just circulated a document to local authorities in Dublin requesting that regulations on builders be softened to avoid impacting developers in such a way they may be deterred from constructing houses. I kid you not. Regulations eg such as minimum insulation standards. All this coming from Celtic tiger years where sub standard housing was built all over Dublin city.
Over 400 Clery’s workers given 30 minutes to vacate the premises with summary notice of liquidation and loss of their jobs, with many more feeder jobs from suppliers to be lost, no sign of blinkered Richard Bruton or Enda Kenny, hidden from it all.