Nods and Winks

October 5, 2014

Mandarin The Magician

Its Autumn and results of the bank stress tests and the coming budget approach stealthily. There is More smoke and mirror and fog in the air than usual.CollegeRanking2014_large

“Eoghan Murphy, Fine Gael TD for Dublin South-East, said the Dáil should explore whether a €2 billion adjustment was necessary as the council had suggested.”

Although the Government is planning the budget on the basis there will be no new spending cutbacks and no net tax increase, the council said there should be another tough package to continue repairing public finances.

Galway academic Dr Alan Ahearne of the Fiscal Advisory Council appears to be out of step with pretty much everyone else in the world who believe austerity has reached its limits. (1) He leads the FAC who believe sticking to 3% deficit target based on the value of the economy could be achieved at the expense of further economic slowdown with further damage wrought through austerity.

This is not the time to take  €5bn out of the economy over the next two years to satisfy a largely discredited austerity programme that is floundering across Europe.

From a macroeconomic point of view there is the danger that ballooning debt levels in Europe and worldwide will need to be adjusted on a European and global level.

Countries seeking to benefit from self-imposed austerity will not be rewarded by economic turnaround. Instead, their actions instead of stimulating growth, will wipe out the seeds of growth while savings made disappear into the growing  unquenchable global debt pyres.

Ireland needs to pause its austerity, test it with measured growth stimulus.

Reality Bites

Hospital waiting lists are manipulated downwards to hide the real debilitating state of our health service. The numbers of homeless in Dublin increases by the day with large numbers sleeping rough on a nightly basis. Government has failed to act against this growing tide.

Crime is on the increase with concern that crime figures are being manipulated downward to conceal true statistics.

Not to be outdone the Central Bank has revised upwards its growth figures for the economy for next year. last month growth figures projected were of the order of approx 2.5%; this month rather erratically the Central Bank has revised upwards its growth estimates for the economy to be 4%+.

Mathematicians may wonder at the erroneous and error prone statistical projections based on a months data, how projections for a whole year in advance can be based on such limited data. But let’s go further and question the data itself.

Apparently, employment statistics produce by the ESRI recently came about as a result of new procedures and methods to analyse data. This led to a huge increase of circa 40,000 mostly in the agricultural sector. Our economists and universities and media have not dissected the figures breaking them down for us to reveal their veracity or lack of.

What are those procedural changes that output such radically different results. Ahem, can we compare the results output by those procedures with the more classical approach we are used to. Can someone explain the thousands of new Lazarus jobs in the agricultural sector?

Likewise, the oracle of the Central Bank has not been dissected by our financial journalists to examine the quantifiable statistics it bases its projections upon. How come in one month our exports have risen to such heights. Who is leading the charge?

If you believe the propaganda, prospects for the economy are going up.

Prospects for the universities, our health service, education service, are, it appears, going down.(2) TCD has fallen 10 places and UCD 35 places in world rankings over the past year. Its unfortunate there are no world rankings for our health service.

We need an informed media to penetrate the fog of propaganda emanating on the true cost of austerity. Financial journalists should show greater expertise in delving into figures that frankly don’t bear scrutiny.

Schenanigan Politics

Part of the sidebar distraction raising fog on the above has been the recent McNulty affair. Clearly the appointment of McNulty to the board of IME came from Enda Kenny himself. Any attempt to place responsibility for the debacle on inexperienced minor officials in the Fine Gael Office, is a cover up sacrifice of their good name. Heather Humphries in protecting Kenny has not come out well in the controversy.

Kenny himself has signalled that those paying higher tax should be given any reprieve available in the coming budget.

Out of touch, leading an undemocratic economic management council of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, Minister for Finance, Mr Noonan, Minister for Public Expenditure and Law Reform, Brendan Howlin, no more than consuls of the troika and led by mandarins of the Irish Financial Services industry and the Irish Central Bank, they are committed to further austerity.

Young members of Fine Gael fearing backlash at the next election, perhaps fearing the emigration boats of their peers, betrayed by the duplicity and failure of their party to bring about promised changes and reform, must wonder how much longer, such failure of government can continue.

Icebergs ahead. With Mandarin The Magician running out of conjuring tricks, will Gerry Adams be next Taoiseach, Michael Martin as Tanaiste.

till again.




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