March 21, 2012

Why should ECB be given priority over our families?

Posted in Irish Independent · 168 comments ·
Share 

Last year 76,300 people emigrated from our country. This is an average of 209 emigrating every day. Nine people left every hour. One person left every seven minutes. The people who are leaving are young, and well-educated. In the last great scattering of the Irish in the late-1980s, we know that a university graduate was four times more likely to emigrate than someone who left school before the Leaving Cert.

It was an enormous brain drain. However, for the first time in Irish history many came home in the late-1990s and early-2000s. As a member of that particular tribe being described one Christmas back home as a “financial navvy” for working in a bank in London, I am now a member of the first Irish generation that will emigrate twice.

In recent months, we are seeing something without precedent.

Emigration, which used to be the preserve of the young, is creeping up the age brackets. Now emigration of the middle- aged or the nearly middle-aged is becoming quite normal. People in their early 40s — who came back here to build their lives — are having to head out again looking for a second chance.

Today, a new type of Irish navvy — the “mortgage navvy” — has replaced the financial navvy. He is the Irish middle-aged man who is working flat out over there to pay debt over here. Years ago, we got the name “navvy” because our forefathers dug the canals in the north of England during the Industrial Revolution when the canals were termed “navigations”. Those who worked on the navigations were called navvies.

The new mortgage navvy is typically an Irish dad with a young family here in school, with a big mortgage in negative equity, who has lost his job here and has headed to London for work.

Many families are being torn as dad is only there at the weekend because he arrives in knackered on the Friday evening from London and then he is off again late Sunday night or first thing Monday.

In order to meet the big mortgage, he has to generate lots of cash and this means that even if he could find a new job here, which is unlikely, his cost base remains very high by virtue of the 2005 mortgage taken out to buy a family home, nothing special. He can’t sell the house because this will realise the negative equity and he is holding out, hoping that at some stage prices will rise so that when the ‘interest only’ loan is paid off in 2030, there will be some chance that the capital will equal the remaining debt on the place.

You will see him on the red-eye flight on a Monday morning, having spent the weekend trying to overcompensate for not being here with the kids all week. So he will be on the sideline at soccer, GAA or rugby and sitting in McDonald’s with the kids who know that dad will buy them anything and take them anywhere when he is home.

His missus, if they manage to stay together because they are apart so much, is a new type of Irish wife. She is a “mortgage widow”. She has been rendered a single parent by virtue of the size of the bloody mortgage. She lives alone in the family home, sitting in front of the TV when the children have been put to bed.

Typically a mortgage widow will have given up a career to have children in her early 30s and she fully expected to move back into employment after the initial early child-rearing years were over. The recession has put paid to that notion, as too have the demands of looking after three children by herself. By the time the mortgage navvy gets home on a Friday night, they are both knackered and whatever spark there was is quenched by the second bottle of red and the ‘Late Late’.

The other morning, this new reality for many of my own generation came to the fore as I was listening to John Teeling on the radio. Teeling is a businessman whose most recent and well-known success was the sale of Cooley Whiskey Distillery, but he has been involved in the mining and exploration business for years.

He made the basic point that this column has been making for ages: if you take more and more money out of the economy with expenditure cuts and tax hikes, the economy will shrink. He said, as any businessman would say, that if your balance sheet is broken with too much debt, you make it better with less debt, not more debt. He spoke of the Irish middle class being destroyed under the weight of too much debt and negative equity.

His solution is a debt deal, which involves a suspension of all debt repayments on a proportion of our debt for a period of five or six years. This would allow us to get back on our feet without the constant haemorrhaging of cash. Such a solution makes total sense because this is what a company would do which has a decent underlying business but has a balance sheet which is being weighed down by too much debt. To preserve the company you tell the creditors to wait.

The reason this idea struck a chord with me is that Teeling went on to talk of what he called Noonan bonds, based on the notion of Brady Bonds which solved the Latin American debt crisis in the 1990s. This column has argued for Brady Bonds to solve Ireland’s debt crisis for a few years now.

When I was a financial navvy in the 1990s I worked in the Brady Bond markets in countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Russia and Argentina. All these countries recovered strongly after their defaults with the help of Brady Bonds. Not one of these countries had a debt/GDP ratio anywhere near as high as Ireland does now.

As growth returned, people came back to these countries and, interestingly, none of them were permanently shut out of the markets for long. Only Argentina, which tried to take the US dollar — the currency of a much stronger neighbour — as its currency, got into trouble again. We are doing what Argentina did back then by taking the de facto currency of Germany — the euro — and pretending it is our currency. It is not. It can’t be our currency if we can’t print it or change its value. Period.

Teeling is right. A massive debt deal is the only solution. It is not if but when. The only choice is whether the deal should be such that it gives the thousands of mortgage navvies and mortgage widows a break and the chance to have a normal family life for the most important time in families when their children need to be reared.

What do you think? Do they merit a break? Or will we be the society that has a constitution, which says the family is protected but we put the interests of the ECB over and above the Irish family?


  1. What do you think? Do they merit a break? Or will we be the society that has a constitution, which says the family is protected but we put the interests of the ECB over and above the Irish family?….

    My answer would be…. look at Greece!

  2. Adam Byrne

    subscribe.

  3. StephenKenny

    It’s really a question of nationhood. Is Ireland a nation, and what does that mean today?

  4. Juanjo R

    David – do you not read the news? Immigrants are far happier than the Irish living at home according to the offical media…http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/generationemigration/2012/03/17/the-new-diaspora-speaks-have-your-say/

    They have a fella quoted there, a Will Keena, recently moved to Melbourne who still hadn’t found a job yet and we was basking in the glow of happy immigration! Actually he is still in holiday mode as far as I could tell – so his depth of knowledge and opinion was completely shallow. He gave no context to his move eithier. This stupid feel good PR piece was presented as journalist evidence to support findings of this ridiculous, half arsed survey.

    Apparently according to the Times immigrants don’t seem know if they were forced to leave or not or if they want the right to vote in Ireland. Personally, I do though.

    I also know which orifice belonging to the Irish Times Chief Editor that I would dearly like to stick their ‘piece’ up!

    • Juanjo R

      Apologies for the typos!

    • Afghan Stuart

      It was sickening to read. I reckon that leery amadáin Enda Kenny and side kick Michael Noonan were writing those stories under pseudonym’s!

    • fred

      It’s important to note that the aforementioned Irish times article was based upon circa 320 people. It seemed to assume that this represents the general view of (the 76300) emmigrants that David mentioned in his article.

      • Afghan Stuart

        Yes of course. The stories were all great for the people who have left and are enjoying life elsewhere but this is not an accurate account of why thousand’s people have left and continue to do so.Of course the article called on people to get in touch and express their particular viewpoint so it has to be assumed that possibly many didn’t bother to do so if they hadn’t such a nice story to tell.

  5. osheaf01

    Steve Keen has been saying this for ages – what the world needs is a Debt Jubilee. I’m reading his book,Debunking Economics, at the moment, and can only say it’s very informative.

  6. I would say it is about perspective David

    You invented a persona for the article and it would be a strange person who did not feel sympathy for this hypothetical family

    In other hypothetical families you will find people who wanted to be the next Bernard McNamara and went mad with debt to buy property they and their families did not need. No sympathy for the greedy types I am afraid

    Then you see a three year old girl in Libya with half her face blown off and ask just where do our real priorities lie

    Time to get a grip and be thankful

    • juniorjb

      It is also the case that many work hard to maintain a lifestyle that is excessively focused on consumerism. I listen to many colleagues complain about their straitened circumstances, yet I know they are paid very reasonably. Even the ones with pre-bubble mortgages claim as much, yet when I look at their houses and lifestyles, they are extravagant by the standards considered normal a few decades ago. We are all exposed to a media environment that continually encourages a set of beliefs regarding the possibility of satisfying our needs, beliefs that we cannot do so without a basically never ending accumulation of material goods and money that leaves us harassed and unfulfilled, often fostering attitudes to success, competition and relationships that are damaging. Most of us objectively know better, but it is a sure thing that each of us uses unconscious rules of thumb shaped by this materialism, no matter how alien to us we would like to believe them to be. Plenty of good psychological research has shown a common tendency to sacrifice relationships and more abstract personal satisfactions in the pursuit of greater material success. I know this sounds unsympathetic, but there is good reason to believe that a small proportion of those separating themselves from their families are doing so in just this spirit.

      • juniorjb

        That said, I had to emigrate in the early nineties for work and it’s looking like I may have to do so again soon. Nothing to do with high aspirations, just the ailing business environment here pushing me out the door.

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts juniorjb and I am sorry you are having to emigrate again

        Many suggest that the media, peer pressure and the banks caused level headed people to lose the run of themselves but I can’t buy into that proposition even though it a popular belief. In the end we all have free will and my common sense told me to have nothing to do with consumerism and material wealth. It would only make me insecure and unhappy because I would be afraid of losing it

        My advice to young people is to live a stripped down life and travel light. Put relationships above all else and get back to simple living like we did in the 70s. Simple pleasures like growing your own food is the way to go rather continuously feeding the ego. Oh … and never get into debt

  7. Azimuth

    Need to remember that there are many reasons that those like me in my late 40′s are working overseas. I luckily am not in negative equity but my pension fund is pretty shot – those “safe stocks” were not so safe after all and of course most of us knew “bricks and mortar” was also a safe bet !!! oh the Irish in us !

    I am actually working on the other side of the world so can’t even travel home for the weekends (28 hrs each way) – I have a wife and two young kids at home – they are brave and brilliant – Skype and viber every morning and night keeps me up to date but hard without those hugs.

    We (people in my situation) need to work round the clock (I average 60-70 hrs a week) to get a pension fund back in order – and working at home if you can get it is not worth it as it all disappears in taxes – and although I have happily paid taxes in Ireland for 28 years – its simply too expensive to pay as well as save again for retirement. Higher taxes although necessary will drive those that need to and can out of the country. High salaries are also seen as a sort of sin – so people who can get these rates (because they have the skills) will go where they can.

    As for lifestyle – yes it’s beautiful here – people are happy and oblivious to world recession – but it’s just not home and never can be – maybe if I was younger I could start over here but at my age I simply count the days to the next visit home, a run on the cold and wet beach, watching the kids playing hockey and tennis (in the rain), a pint and some mindless chat in the local etc etc

    Wish I knew a way out – but can’t see one for the remainder of my working life !

    • Azimuth
      I am older than you but can tell a similar story;it is galling to see countries with less resources doing better than Ireland.We need to get ourselves some politicians that can take advice from people who know what they are doing and take an oath to uphold the constitution.

    • EMMETTOR

      Azimuth, I know you’re not gonna take the advice of a stranger but I have to say it to you…Get your wife and kids out if you possibly can. You’re not in negative equity so sell up. I know the way we are, the Irish, but Ireland…stick a fork in it’s ass and turn it over, it’s done. In the back of everyone’s mind is the idea that the EU will eventually cut a deal, when they see us going deeper and deeper into the mire, but everything they’ve done so far indicates that, unless we start burning down Berlin, we’re just a small bit of collateral damage.

  8. Paris75013

    Excellent article, like the previous one on Japan.

    Interesting portrait of the ‘mortgage widow’ (my best friend is in this situation back home).

    It would appear that a lot of Irish people, with young families, have been moving to Paris in the past year or so. The Director of my son’s school (an international school) told me that they have never received so many applications from Irish families for their children.

  9. Grey Fox

    David,
    This government and the one before have made a pastime of trampling on both the Irish people and Bunreacht Na hEireann, I know some people will be sick if hearing the following but I believe it is paramount:
    CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND — BUNREACHT NA hÉIREANN

    The Family
    Article 41.1.
    1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

    2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
    That says it all!
    I was one of the many who went away in the early 1980′s and came back in the mid 90′s, boy oh boy am I sorry I did that! Now I can’t go again, I am just a little too old to fit the Visa requirements.

  10. Colin

    But David, where is breakfastroll man? He has had no work in Ireland now for about 3 years. He hasn’t turned up in London anyway. Romanians, Albanians, Poles and Portuguese that dominate the sites where I am. A few Irish engineers and quantity surveyors are here, but not BRM. He can’t get into Australia or Canada if he’s over 30, so he must be on the dole back home, devoid of any hope. Middle class Irish have always emigrated, and always will, the climate back home is good enough reason alone.

    Also, I’m sure there are plenty of Irish fathers happy to have a reason to escape their missus, it’s not all Happy Families back home, but for many the pretence has to be kept up I suppose – I mean what would the neighbours say? They used to call it divorce-Irish-style back in the 60s and 70s. Isn’t family breakdown rates high now in Ireland? Aren’t many couples just live in partners, rather than married?

    • Juanjo R

      Putting some real figures on all this speculation would be good.

      • Colin

        I’m far too busy working to survey every worker and every paddy I meet here. Look at it as anecdotal evidence if you wish.

        And now I’m putting you on real-figures-watch, so expect scrutiny from me every time you post without exact figures to back up your statements.

        • Juanjo R

          Whats with the aggression? It is a general observation.

          Anedotal evidence maybe be indicative but it isn’t scientific proof of anything other than peoples ability to yap.

          Take your stupid assertions about workers rights recently here…you clearly know virtually nothing…but you yap ery loudly.

          As for figures I’m good for them…I know where to source them…and I apply figures to real life…unlike most Irish architects who suck up, and mimick the powers that be.

          • spawny

            To be fair most of Davids article is anecdotal too

          • Juanjo R

            I agree Spawny – that is why I said “all this”.

          • Colin

            Spawny,

            The great irony here is that most of the people who post here do so to ‘have a go’ at David. Why? I don’t know, I’m not a shrink, but it is comical. They think they know more than him, and are more intelligent than him. It’s gas really.

            Yes, David does use anecdotal evidence a good deal, that’s how he comes up with characters like BRM, Robopaddy, Miss Pencilskirt and the Merchant of Ennis, from observations of the herd.

            I did get over agressive there, read a comment as an attack when it may not have been, but I’m used to some people showing hostility here to me, so that’s why I reacted that way.

        • EMMETTOR

          Yes, why the aggression? Here’s something to get aggressive about: your post is complete crap, just another variation on Baldy Noonan’s bull about emigration being a lifestyle choice. Your 2nd paragraph actually made me nauseous.

        • C21living

          @Colin,

          Junajo R is right. You’re talking sh*te. 80% of the posters support DMcW to the hilt. Deco, George, Colin, Malcolm, John Allen, Wills, etc.

          Your assertion that “most of the people who post here do so to ‘have a go’ at David” is about as high-quality as the work of a typical Irish builder.

          F**king crap.

    • coldblow

      Hi Colin

      I don’t agree with everything you post, of course (as with anyone) but I don’t feel the need to join in the chorus of disgust. There’s a consensus dynamic at work. Keep calling it as you see it.

      • Colin

        …….water off a duck’s back at this stage coldblow. I’m well aware of the consensus dynamic here, and I don’t let it upset me one bit, news that will annoy them much more I’m sure.

        Yes, I noticed Dorothy was very quiet about women in islam who get raped being forced to marry their rapists, but no, apparently, men not missing their missus back home is more worthy of her replies… you go there sister!

    • lol lol lol and lol again. Jees what an invitation to have the craic

      You just can’t leave things be and you have destructive tendencies in your personality. You are stinging from the last time I ran rings round ye

      You are not happy unless you are sucking others into your vortex of negative darkness. You are a very unhappy man. I am not. Why all the aggression?

      You are the most entertaining poster by far and that should tell you something. You make me laugh every time you post and I laugh when I see that you have a small amount of followers. The Col Brigade

      We can’t be giving Pauldiv too many lol moments now Col.

      Time to set the dogs on him huh. You want to reduce other people to your level and that is the reason why on this blog your words smack of bitterness, anger, desperation and ugliness. Carrying a hod is a hard life and all that Col. It’s understandable. Then again such humbleness built the great cities of England, so be proud of your calibre Irish brother. There’s a good lad

      I’ve said before and will say again – you are a toxic personality and not the sort of fella one would want to have to dinner in front of friends

      Why are you bringing me into your failed and miserable conversation. You got lashed and deservedly so. It’s obvious that most of the guys on here don’t like you one bit and if the comments below your posts are telling you otherwise then keep on dreaming pal

      I choose not to talk to you you except when we sabre rattle just for the craic. Trouble is Col I am much funnier than you will ever be and you catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. Capiche? It’s called personality

      I live in Ireland and always will. Ye are living in a foreign country slaving away for reasons known only to ye. I rest my case twat features with knobs on. Go an annoy the English brothers

      I can’t decide whether it your devastating sense of humour or your capacity for empathy that makes you such a true Irishman and the most legendary poster, by a country mile, on these hallowed and oft treaded boards

      You are pure ledge Col

      Every time you open up I laugh because you crack me up.

      Peace Irish Brother.

      I hope it always stays fine for ye

    • Your capacity for empathy and making friends astonishes me Col.
      You are a true Irishman without question and I wanted to say I wish to be one of your many followers

      Do you have a web site or a facebook page where I can keep up with you? I am behind the curve technologically speaking and once banged my head on the bottom of an empty swimming pool when I was only five

      Thanks in advance Irish Brother

  11. Grey Fox

    Slightly off topic, but I think worth a mention:
    Thinking outside the Box — Kinda!

    Today I read a message from the guy’s over at OYM Radio and I thought it was so good, I had to share it with you.
    The beauty of this little proposition is the brilliance of its simplicity, as VIN over at TNS Radio says
    “It’s Simple Folks!”
    So, we the Irish people are going to hand over 3.1 Billion Euro’s to nameless and faceless people in Europe at the end of this month on behalf of the defunct Bank that was Anglo Irish, as reprehensible as that sounds let’s say we add another 900 Million Euro’s to that figure and we have a round 4 Billion.
    Now, there are approximately 400,000 people in Ireland, working and over 50 years of age and let’s say we give each of those 400,000 people 1 Million Euro each with the stipulation that they must retire from the workforce immediately!
    That’s not a bad as it sounds and I would bet that a large percentage of the 400,000 people wouldn’t have too much of a problem with it, you are always going to get a small percentage who would prefer to work no matter what.
    That’s not all though! There are further conditions in this deal!
    1.You cannot return to the workforce except if you open a business and employ at least two people.

    2.You must buy a new car immediately.

    3.You must either pay off your current Mortgage of if you have no mortgage, you must buy a house!

    4.You must pay for a College education for your children

    5.You must spend at least €100 per week on recreation, eating out, few drinks etc…

    And that’s it!
    What are the benefits?

    1.400,000 job vacancies are created immediately! Unemployment problem solved!

    2.Motor Trade is stimulated with immediate Tax benefits to the Exchequer.

    3.Housing problem, ghost estates problem fixed, Stamp Duty benefit to the Exchequer

    4.Crime problem addressed, with a huge percentage of young people back in education.
    College Fee’s, Taxes = Benefit to the Exchequer

    5.Taxes, Taxes, Taxes = Benefit to the Exchequer
    There are of course, a lot of other benefits not mentioned but I think you get the message.
    So, what’s wrong with this? Not a lot!
    It’s a far better use of money destined for the Banking fraternity without ANY benefit to the Country.
    I know it’s unorthodox, I know it’s completely outside the box, but we are in desperate times and it calls for desperate measures Courage, Conviction and Determination from our Government and sadly these are the three values that are sadly lacking!
    So we will simply use this proposal as a light hearted solution when in fact this is the type of thinking which will go some way towards correcting the wrongs in our society.
    Go Easy!
    Question Everything!
    Seek Solutions!
    http://www.awaken-longford.com

    • imithe

      400,000 people x 1m Euro = 400 billion euro

    • Tony Brogan

      Better yet
      Leave the Euro
      Close the central bank
      Have treasury issue the funds directly , debt free, no interest
      Use treasury to fund all government jobs, and infrastructure. i.e. earn the money into existence rather than loan it into existence.
      No need for taxes as the government can issue more currency to pay for everything.
      Only problem is rampant inflation, as the easy issuance of the currency will devalue currency to close to zero.
      One point. Why should just a selected few get the gift. Why not everyone. All debt wiped out with the issuance of free currency to all.

      some call this ‘Social credit” others call it funny money. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit

      It is partly adopted as a platform of the Canadian Action Party (CAP) for monetary reform, in Canada.
      http://actionparty.ca/

  12. morganf16

    Write down the value of mortgages by 50% overnight by using bonds would be the way to go. Money then flows back into the real economy

    by 50% because even if the banks take your house and try to sell it they will only be able to get half for it anyway

    Another thing to consider is a once off “lifetime mortgage” rather than fixing it for 35-40years i.e restructuring the debt…

  13. Dubliner

    Having lived and worked in London for two years there, I have bucked the emigration trend as I managed to get a job back home.

    Speaking about my experience, one thing that always struck me in London was the amount of Irish people of my age group (25-30) and older, that like the generations of old were pointlessly wasting their time and ruining their lives hanging around in pubs all weekend boozing and consistently blowing most of their hard earned cash.

    Our nation is self destructive in so many senses. The impressions I get is that the political, trade union, and mandarin classes want and always have wanted me and my friends to emigrate. They don’t want the change in the social order that would result from a society consisting of an open minded educated youth. They don’t care about me or the schoolmates I will never see because they’ve gone to Australia or Canada. They’ll never have to work in a job that they will actually have to do properly. They’re protected by a system rotten to the core. They’re a shower of gombeens and swindlers that we have put up with/tolerated/perhaps even looked up to as the ‘loveable rogues’.

    My opinion is that we as a nation need to do a lot of soul searching. We need a society where the rule of law is upheld, where our politicians actually govern as opposed to playing to every vested interest group trade union/EU/church. We need a socity that we can all be a part of.

    As an aside:

    The only time I think we ever did anything that bucked this trend was during world war one when the ambitious of our society were unable to emigrate. We had The War of Independence where we finally managed to break free from British rule.

  14. Dubliner

    Just a thought: maybe people should email all their local politicians every time a friend or family member emigrates. It might be an effective way of getting the message across

  15. wills

    *..the interests of the ECB…* dominate.

    Crony networks across borders holding hands looting the enterprise system all the while ensuring it remains a secret. The loot that is.

  16. stiofanc02

    If I could give advice to any of these poor bastards who are suffering I would have to say this.
    Look at what you can realistically afford to pay on your mortgage and pay only that amount.
    Read that one again.
    If this were to happen en mass it would really shake things up.
    Think more “Don Corleone” and less “Paddy Maloney” i.e. Have the balls, I know its hard for some, to only pay what you can genuinely afford.
    If you cant pay the household charge, don’t pay the house hold charge.
    But don’t have SKY sports package and think this is a reasonable expense either.
    This doesnt mean taking the piss and going out to eat 3 nights a week on what you “save on the mortgage”, but it will set the bar lower and reality takes over.
    A financial reality that has been espoused in this column ad nauseam, no offence meant David, “bills that cant be paid wont be paid”
    That is a fact.
    Protect your health and family.

    Sound simple? It wont be for some.

    But, if they are able to swallow the initial letters through the mail slot, answer every one of them, always answer every one of them, keep good records of each answer and always pay the set amount,the new lower amount you can afford, create a pattern and paper trail of regular, albeit lower mortgage servicing, these “navvy’s” will win.

    • Juanjo R

      I agree its a battle that needs to be fought in a concerted careful way by the those who are under pressure.

      Individually they are weak but united they can prove to be strong force.

      • stiofanc02

        Lets hope so, maybe the Mahon report will help inspire folks to look after themselves first.
        Its all about personal responsibility in a realistic way.
        The finance minister, and much of the government, lives in a land where everyone is fairies and elves.
        Totally disconnected from reality.
        I dont buy into the “we all went mad” crap.
        I have found that most of those who tried to get ahead did it for their kids and personal wealth.
        Is there a problem with that? Not in my opinion.
        One needs to plan for retirement in some way shape or form.
        In any event, its time to cut the shit and get this f’kn mess sorted. Its wearing the entire country’s nerves down.
        Including mine, although I have to admit,……Its great to be alive in interesting times.

        NOW, ITS MY B-DAY, AND I MUST EAT BBQ RIBS, GARLIC BREAD, COLESLAW, JACK DANIEL’S AND CAKE!

        • EMMETTOR

          Have a good one, hope your guts survive the onslaught! Yes, the “we all went mad” stuff is beyond laughable as an explanation for what happened. When the media, the government & the banks are shouting the same message in your ear, over and over and over, the reality is that you’d actually be mad not to pay some heed. The reality was that our government, our media and our banks went mad. The most that the average Irish person was responsible for was failing to spot that.

  17. “A massive debt deal is the only solution” no David, it is just the only solution you will present.

    The central bank control credit/debt monopoly has to go if are to have a middle class. But dont expect David to review/discuss anything outside playing with the current system. That’s just for quacks

    Thankfully since I last commented on this blog a few more have called your bluff.

  18. cooldude

    David you are right. Of course our families have to come before the ECB and the global banking elite that are running the whole show at the moment. What you suggest however does not go to the very root of the problem. I see this morning that stormtrooper Noonan is trying to postpone this debt in the form of sovereign bonds. But all this overlooks the crucial fact that all this promissory note debt is fraudulent debt and should be simply defaulted on completely. This debt has nothing whatsoever to do with the ordinary citizens of this state and there is no way they, or future generations, should have to pay for the reckless lending of Anglo and INBS. The banks who STUPIDLY lent to them need to learn how to do proper diligence on their loans and a default might teach them a good lesson. This is not our debt pure and simple and simply shoving fraudulent debt onto our children and grand children does not change this fact. We need to front up to these basic facts or we, and our future generations, will simply become feudal debt slaves to the banking elite. This system of debt based money and central banking is causing these same problems throughout the world on an ever increasing basis. We need to vote NO, default on all fraudulent debt, print our own money and pay legitimate debts with this money, introduce sound money such as a silver coin back into our monetary system and give our young people a real chance to make their lives in this country.

    • Tony Brogan

      Well put Cooldude
      Repudiate what is known as “odious debt”
      Close the central bank and leave the Euro.
      Have treasury issue “Irish” currency.
      Put silver into circulation as described in previous postings to give a means of savings that is protected from the ravages of inflation.

      “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

      Reclaim Irish Sovereignty gifted to the EMU

  19. Reality Check

    The comments are great esp Pauldiv
    “In other hypothetical families you will find people who wanted to be the next Bernard McNamara and went mad with debt to buy property they and their families did not need. No sympathy for the greedy types I am afraid”
    Damn right, remember all those BMW suvs that used to roam the land?
    All the brickies/plasterers/breakfast roll man types that had one?
    I drove a 10 year old banger with pride and i’ve even ditched that now for the Bus.
    Colin great comment re “divorce Irish style” a lot of truth in that.
    Grey fox your proposals will not make the country more productive or richer (except Bill “Antepreneur” Cullen types) do you really want that?
    Read Bastiats “Parable of the broken window”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

    • Grey Fox

      No offence was intended with my comments, I mentioned it was a light hearted view, and a more beneficial use of billions of euro instead of handing it over with absolutely no benefit to the country.
      You know the government wil get it back in taxes anyway! the stimulation might just serve as the kickstart needed as long as controls i the finance area follow closely behind.

  20. Reality Check

    +1,Cooldude.
    Do you have an Email address I could contact you at?
    I have some questions re US treasuries.

  21. Reality Check

    Grey fox sorry for the mix up my comment was not intended to offend either.
    The whole circle of love via taxes & the multiplier does not work either I’m afraid.
    It just misallocates capital.
    A really good read that debunks all the Keynesian/multiplier claptrap that abounds .
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Economics-One-Lesson-H-Hazlitt/dp/0517548232/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332413275&sr=8-1

  22. Reality Check

    Padraic Email sent & thanks!

  23. Indeed a good article – I met one of these guys on a flight out of Knock recently, he had a small business with some earth moving plant that had gone belly up – borrowed up the hilt for plant now not working and therefore not earning. Bit like having a fleet or planes not flying. He was working in London, paying rent there and trying to live off nothing so he could pay as much debt off as possible. He was a sad young man in his late 30s he said ten years ago I was full of hope, my wife was expecting our first baby we were applying for planning permission to build a massive house and the building boom was just swinging into a frenzy. Now I am broke have a failed business a huge house with a massive mortgage, 3 children and a crumbling marriage. This David is the truth of the tragedy that befell many people.

  24. Johno

    I think this was a great article but I think the question really should be ‘ Why are the ECB and the Bondholders been given priority over our families? ‘

    I do get what poster like PaulDiv are saying , some people did go mad buy ‘ investment ‘ properties and some people did borrow more than they knew they could afford.

    I don’t know how many people who borrowed their deposit from the Credit Union didn’t tell their mortgage provider and told them their parents gave me them a gift of 40k for the deposit.

    It was wrong of them to do this but I know that some of them felt that is they didn’t get onto the ‘ ladder ‘ now they wouldn’t be able to do it ever.

    Debt is a personal choice to a certain extent. Nobody really makes you take out that extra credit card or to re-finance your car for a brand new one but very few finance companies done proper checks on people to see if they could afford it the debt. I know if I was out with the lads for a few pints on a sat night and if someone was stuck for a few we would of course buy them a few pints. But we all knew who would pay it back and who wouldn’t. I never had a problem buying a lad a few pints even when I knew he wouldn’t or couldn’t pay it back. Some of the other lads did have a problem with it and didn’t buy him any. I don’t think I could turn around to same fella who I bought pints for back in the day , who I knew couldn’t or wouldn’t buy back the pint , now and say on the 22/03/09 I bought you two pints now I want them back.

    Same principle must apply now to people on their debts. The banks must share the responsibility that they lent money to people who couldn’t afford to pay it. Banks must of known people couldn’t afford the mortgages they took , or maybe they we were only interested in getting back their initial loan they gave to the property developer.

    People aren’t perfect , they make mistakes. Can anyone honestly say they haven’t made one?

  25. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    “Teeling is right. A massive debt deal is the only solution”

    Teeling is WRONG. A massive debt WRITE DOWN is the only solution.

    “It is not if but when”

    Yesterday preferably.

    “What do you think?”

    Me personally? The bank managers who have consistently lied to the minister for finance (who has sovereign will) after the banks were nationalized should be tried for treason. Will this happen? No. The corporate psycho’s who controlled the various banking companies and who broke section 60 of the companies Act preventing loans from being procured to buy shares in the same company aka the deal done to unwind Quinn’s fuck up on the CFD’s in Anglo (The banks money being lent to cover margin calls on a failed CFD play when even a two year Old’s risk management guide stipulates that you CUT YOUR LOSSES QUICKLY) And what happens? Why payoffs all round of course. Massive Pensions etc.

    “Do they merit a break?”

    Yes we merit a break. Will we get one? No.

    Will the Constitution of Ireland be respected? ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING ME? You know what Jay Leno said about the US constitution? The rest of the world should try and adopt it since the US government had given up using it for many decades now (even though it was a very forward looking document) especially the references contained in it regarding ownership of the nation’s currency.

    “We put the interests of the ECB over and above the Irish family?”

    DO WE? I don’t, you don’t, Morgan Kelly doesn’t, Constantin Gurdgiev doesn’t and like you them and me who do our jobs properly we are surplus to requirements. We have to find work abroad because in Ireland we do the worst thing possible. WE DO OUR JOBS PROPERLY.

    Ireland is being turned into CUBA and should be correctly titled Eiruba. I turned 40 a number of weeks ago and this generation who has to emigrate twice won’t come back again not because of the fear of being shafted more times than Jordan on female Viagra but because would you or anyone else land your kids into a shithole like Eiruba? Not me.

    I cried reading the article David. All 20 stone and 6’5” inches of me. I just can’t believe that so little is thought of the Irish People and so much of jobbery etc. We are looking at an Iceland type breakdown before Christmas and it may be the best thing because it will force the government to do what Morgan Kelly has said “take out yer erasers lads and where it says creditor on the documents from the ECB regarding AIB and BOI rewrite the word owner.

    Problem solved.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi David,

      Your comment in the last article re JGB’s should be weighed against the fact that the only time we have to worry about the Japanese sense of logic is when they are in an aircraft in close proximity to a US aircraft carrier.

      The reason that money is going into JGB’s is because in a world where corporate psychopaths are in control of the world’s financial system where else would you put it?

      The Jap Government can always print more currency to pay the bonds which will affect the cost of imports surely but internally the effects would be less disastrous. As the value of the currency would fall this would help exports.

      As for japan and nuclear power plants the people are more important than the country so Japan would only cease to exist when every Last Japanese person had died which isn’t going to happen anytime soon nuclear aramagadeon or not.

  26. donalvti

    Not for the first time I come away from reading one of David’s articles with the slightly queasy feeling that the floppy haired one is bullshitting for Ireland again. But is he? What’s the ECB got to do with austerity? David says that the best solution for a heavily indebted nation is ‘not more debt but less debt.’ Surely if the government abandons austerity it will have to continue borrowing to pay day to day expenses.(Assuming it could find some idiot to borrow from). The 18,000,000 p.a. or so the Govt is borrowing won’t go away just cos we told ECB to f off. I agree it would be nice to be able to walk away from some or all of our national debt but we will still have to stop Govt. lashing out the money it can’t raise in taxes. Am I missing something?

    • donalvti

      Sorry lost a few zero there, should read the 18,000,000,000 the govt it borrowing….

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi,

        First of all I am not an economist so forgive me if I say something incorrect. There are two ways to correct the shortfall; cut costs or expand the economy. We can’t expand because the state is supporting AIB and BOI who are now the problem. Take them out of the equation and new money will flood back in because we are recording a trade surplus with the rest of the world and have a highly motivated and productive although dwindling workforce.

        The biggest problem that no one has talked about is that if we continue to wait all of the people who can use this new money to create wealth will be long gone never to return to be fucked over again either literally or metaphorically here in Eiruba because as sure as shit the mammy’s boys and girls who are in their safe state jobs aren’t going to be the ones to lead the wealth creation charge.

        • paddythepig

          How much of the 16 billion shortfall in 2012 will go to AIB or BOI?

          • michaelcoughlan

            I think it will be all over shortly paddy because those banks are hopelessly insolvent and their bailout means the sate can’t cope. Sooner or later either their full mortgage books will have to be sold and the banks forced to start lending or they will have to be sold. Dermot Desmond’s assessment is to sell them. Morgan Kelly want’s ownership transferred to the ECB. The big players will sit on the side-line until one or the other happens.

            If it happens sooner rather than later we save the money.

            Regards,

            Michael.

          • donalvti

            Very little I think – I’m open to correction.

          • goldbug

            @PADDYTHE PIG

            IRELAND BORROWED MONEY TO PAY FOR BANKS.

            IN TOTAL HOW MUCH….?

            THIS DEBT HAS A COST TO TAXPAYERS…ongoing…

            NAMA COSTS…BAILOUT OF EU BANKERS HAS A ONGOING PRICE.

            …IT IS CALLED SERVICING….BANKER SERVICING

            INTEREST PLUS PRINCIPAL -> PROPPING UP EUROPE COSTS IRELAND DAILY.

            DO NOT BE FOOLED -> IT ALL ADDS UP.

          • paddythepig

            donalvti

            You are on the right track again. The answer to my question is zero.

          • Harper66

            lets put your question another way Paddy. How much will the banking bail out cost over its entire lifespan.
            And who do you project to will be the ones paying it?

        • coldblow

          Michael: “the ones to lead the wealth creation charge”.

          Can we afford to lose this proven entrepreneurial excellence?

          In other words, all the Del Boys will leave and we’ll be left with the Rodneys and the Grandads?

    • paddythepig

      No, you are hitting the nail on the head.

      • Paddy and Donalvti

        I agree with both of you that the books must be balanced but that is an accountancy issue, not an economics issue. However the way you do that with a decent company with a bad balance sheet is you get your creditors in a room and tell them the company can”t pay and you do a deal with them.

        We should do the same. No biggie.
        Best

        David

        • Tony Brogan

          David
          When your company has a poor business plan an orderly payment of debt will not work. Even when reducing the debt to zero a company with a bad plan will only go in to debt again.
          The company must restructure the business plan and probably under new management if it is to have a chance to prosper.
          The new structure should be
          Leave the Euro to regain sovereignty
          Allow commodity money to circulate along side the fiat so people have a choice.
          silver coin is the first choice.
          Issue the currency through treasury
          close the Central bank of Ireland
          Coins are produced by the Irish mint and distributed via the post office, a nationally owned corporation easily utilized.
          No monetary value engraved or stamped, just the weight and purity.
          Government by decree instead states a monetary value at least 20% higher than world spot price of silver at close of business on the london bullion exchange each Friday. Such value rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 for simplicity.
          Such monetary value guaranteed by the government that it will never reduce.
          The monetary value can increase if the world spot price rises to be less than 20% of the stated monetary value in the new Irish currency. Once it has risen it will never reduce from the new high in monetary value.

          The people would save in siver coin as it is inflation protected whereas the fiat note is not.
          coins will be produced by the mint to meet demand. Demand will be sated when there are no premiums asked for the coins on the open market.

          This can be done at no cost to the treasury or the Irish people as the government will buy the bullion at world spot prices and issue into ciculation at least 20% higher thus earning a seigniorage after minting and distribution costs. The country would thus accumulate silver bullion to national reserves as well as providing a benefit to the people with the silver coin.

          The world as you are well aware is coming to the end of the unbacked, irredamable fiat currency experiment.
          There will be a commodity based monetary system installed around the world, and Ireland may as well be prepared for it.

        • paddythepig

          I disagree David.

          Balancing the books is an economic issue, what’s more it’s a social and moral issue. What is wrong with the expectations of this current generation that a country like ours can be run on 35 to 40 billion of a tax take, like it was in 2003 and 2004? It is morally wrong to lump the excessive lifestyle expectations of a spoilt Celtic Tiger Generation onto the children of the country.

          What about the immoral Croke Park Deal?

          What about the insane overstaffing in the public service? What about the cowardice of the Government in giving overly favourable retirement terms to retirees in a stupidly overstaffed bureaucracy like the HSE?

          A good company first of all looks within itself, and makes the appropriate adjustments to live within it’s means. Only after that is fully done do you start looking at your creditors.

          There is plenty of money to run this country. But we are barely at first base in reforming our cost base.

          • donalvti

            hear hear!

          • Harper66

            You want to put an end to the Croke Park Agreement?Then put a stop to the gravy train that is funding the Croke Park Agreement. Also while you are mentioning over staffing in HSE etc you should also mention grossly overpaid senior Civil severants and our politicans and our growing number of quangos.

            Refusing to bail out our banks and inviting new banks in would have been the best action to take it would have pulled the rug out from underneath the entire system.

            also you seem to be pushing the idea that the banking bail out is costing nothing so would you mind answering how much is the entire banking bail out going to cost over its entire lifespan?

          • paddythepig

            Gee I don’t believe it, I agree with something Harper66 wrote. Good first paragraph ; don’t forget though to add middle and lower paid public (not just civil) servants, and public service pensioners. And all those overpaid teachers, nurses, lecturers, and guards who are all still getting their increments. Increments need to become decrements.

            Now where did I say the bank bailout cost nothing? Harper66 is trying to put words in my mouth.

            What a pity it is that Harper66 wasn’t in the Cabinet that fateful night in September 2008. A man of his wisdom would have ‘pulled the rug out from the entire system’, and ‘invited new banks’ in. And everything would have gone smoothly. That’s a well thought through plan (rollseyes).

            But why are you asking me about the full bank bailout cost, why don’t you tell us if you know it. I know what my answer is to that question, but out of curiosity I’d really like to see your figures first since you pose the question.

          • Harper66

            Answer the question Paddy.

          • paddythepig

            Tell us all where I said the bank bailout would cost nothing Harper66, Mr International Banking Expert.

            Produce the evidence. A direct quotation please, with a time reference.

            Tell us all, why do you put words in poster’s mouths? Why can’t you debate an issue with someone based on what they actually said?

      • Harper66

        will you answer the question paddy?

        • paddythepig

          You have failed to produce any evidence for your distorted and dishonest comments. You are a fraud.

          No go pay your household charge, and cop on.

          • Harper66

            Paddy,
            Am I correct in assuming you are attempting to avoid answering the question?

            C’mon Paddy, tell us how much the banking bail out will cost the state and therefore the tax paper over its entire lifespan?

          • paddythepig

            The real question you should ask yourself is why you are a such a liar.

          • Harper66

            when your finished with the impotent name calling you might get around to answering the question –

            How much will it cost the Irish state in total to bail out the banks ?

            If you want to avoid answering for another while I can always remind you next thread.

          • paddythepig

            Liar66, don’t put words in other poster’s mouths. It’s bad manners.

            Go pay your bills, rather than trolling on the internet.

          • Harper66

            Okay. Your not going to answer. I think anyone reading this blog knows why you are not going to answer.

            I must admit theres no need for the level of abuse you’ve been flinging at me. While I rarely agree with your posts I have always read them with interest. That is up until now. I never took you for the type to get nasty when a discussion wasn’t going your way.

          • paddythepig

            You got away lightly you sanctimonious git.

    • EMMETTOR

      Ok, so the insolvent Irish-registered banks are not costing us anything? Excellent, whats the effin problem then?

  27. Reality Check

    @Michaelcoughaln “Eiruba” lovin it, except it’s too damn cold here

    • michaelcoughlan

      Thanks. I mean it literally because the only job worth having will be a government job or a job with a company supplying services or goods to the government.

      • michaelcoughlan

        And I forgot to mention that in such a system the only thing you need to be able to do to succeed (just like those surrounding Bertie after he succeeded in reaching into the highest office in the land by dragging the land and office down to his level in the gutter) was the same thing as the other misfortunes in North Korea, Cuba etc. is to say “Dear Leader, comrade, brother no1, You de man Bertie”

        • hibernian56

          I’m no pinko, but comparing the “forgetful one” to Castro is stretching it. Castro has had to put up with about 50 years of dirty tricks, embargoes, sabotage, assassinations and outright terrorism from its big neighbour to the north.

          Bertie Ahern on the other hand is a self serving scum bag.

          • michaelcoughlan

            I was actually comparing the way promotions are awarded. Loyalty to the regime is what counts not ability. Castro by the way is a patriot even if misguided.

  28. michaelcoughlan

    G-Sucking across the Universe,
    On the starship G-Sucks,
    Under captain Jerk,
    G-Sucking across the Universe,
    Things aren’t getting better,
    Things are getting worse!

    Greetings to my fellow Clingon’s clinging onto the belief like Emanon Gimmiemore that things are getting better (things aren’t getting better, things are getting worse) I invite you all to peruse at your leisure the following links one by no less an organisation than the new York times and the other our own NAMA;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html?_r=1

    http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/the-vampire-squid-goldman-sachs-selected-by-nama-to-advise-on-loan-sales/

    Hello Suds,

    Looks like another guy who wanted to do his job properly just like McWilliams wasn’t good (bad) enough for g-sucks. Surely to GOD suds there must be some vestige of patriotism in you from the time you spent playing rugby dreaming of playing for Ireland to remind you that now more than ever has an opportunity presented itself to you. Are you going to treat Ireland in the same shameful manner Greece was treated or proceed to rape Roisin at her most vulnerable?

    • michaelcoughlan

      Just in case you muppets were too lazy to read the link here is the letter from a retiring executive published in the New York Times and these guys are advising NAMA. Look who THEY think the muppets are!

      Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs
      By GREG SMITH

      TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm – first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London – I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

      To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

      It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.

      But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.
      I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.

      When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.
      Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.

      How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

      What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients – some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t – to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

      Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

      It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.
      It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

      These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.
      When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a derivative was, understanding finance, getting to know our clients and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what we could do to help them get there.
      My proudest moments in life – getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics – have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.

      I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm – or the trust of its clients – for very much longer.

      • coldblow

        Michael

        Thanks for the link which I read – it’s what Kunstler referred to in his latest blog post.

        However, as an article am I alone in finding it so bad it’s funny? GS’s culture (“the culture that made me love working for this firm”) apparently used to revolve around “team work, integrity, a spirit of humility”.

        Is this the firm that Galbraith takes the p*ss out of relentlessly in his Great Crash (about 1929), that discovered at a very late stage the secret of leverage, then leveraged to the hilt, and ended up with shares worth practically nothing?

        This article is well worth reading, as a lesson in how people can delude themselves.

        • EMMETTOR

          +1 One of the most striking things about the current situation is how many of the Functionary Class, who run the financial institutions for the Elite, tore those institutions apart from the inside, in order to enrich themselves via their insane bonus systems. This is, I think, what Smith is talking about in his letter but obviously from an GS insider’s viewpoint.

  29. When I was living in London last year I knew a load of those Irish dads who worked in the City financial district, flew home at the weekend on a Ryanair flight and back again early Monday morning, had a mortgage and family at home and bills to pay in the UK & Ireland.

    I was younger and had no mortgage or anything but they were really pushing themselves to the limit for their families.

    desperate stuff

  30. EMMETTOR

    One thing alluded to in David’s article is how Economics has been hijacked by Accountancy. Economics is actually a social science, dealing with people rather than just material things. Many of the arguments presented as economics in the debate about the current state of the world economy are actually book-balancing exercises which ignore the political element of economics entirely, presumably because those presenting them see no alternative to their own views. Economics deals with “the relationship between ends and scarce means, which have alternative uses”.

  31. The title of David’s article says it all. Why must Irish families be shanghaied into carrying on their backs the vast stones that might (or might not) re-build Pharoah EU’s pyramid? Aren’t there more liberating things to be done?

    Prosper Australia’s video/doc “Real Estate 4 Ransom” suggests how we might exit the financial morass if we have the wit. http://realestate4ransom.com/

    • cooldude

      Hi Bryan, I watched the video and it is very interesting especially the tax ideas. I don’t think they fully explore the whole boom/bust cycle well enough and the crucial role central banking and fractional reserve banking plays in all of this. A website I find very informative on the origins of these problems along with potential solutions is the Thrive website. Especially good is the problem bit and also the part on economics. I hope you like it
      http://www.thrivemovement.com/the_movie

  32. cooldude

    This is a very interesting discussion between David’s old friend Max Keiser and Mark O Byrne from Goldcore in Dublin. Well worth a watch. The interview is the second part but the first part is vintage Max in full flow about the banksters and is worth a look also.
    http://maxkeiser.com/tag/keiser-report/

  33. molly66

    Money we the Irish people don’t owe should not be payer in any shape or form,noonan putting what we don’t owe into a bond so as to become even more money we don’t owe further down the line is crazy insane .

    • redriversix

      this deal could turn out to be a red herring or a smokescreen.

      Nothing officially agreed

      • molly66

        When the sly government start leaking stuff they are up to no good for this country, I think this is to do with the compact and it’s all part of the over all plan to get it passed Europe must say ,thank god for the Irish people for voting this bunch of misfits to run the country and sell us down the river.

  34. redriversix

    According to Max Keiser,Central Banks have bought up to 3 tonnes of gold in the last two weeks

    Check out Max Keiser on the 22/3/12.

    • Hi RR6. imagine what life would be like if there was no internet and we had to rely on the Irish media for ‘news’. It gives you the creeps I bet

      I like Max Keiser because he always gives it both barrels and talks in plain English. Like our host he can explain things in terms the layman can understand

      However there are still those who are incurably conservative and for whom Kevin Myers is the poster boy of integrity

      • coldblow

        Hi Paul

        You obviously don’t understand what makes Myers tick. Conservative is such a loose term it’s of little value most of the time. You could describe someone as conservative who bends with the prevailing winds, and this obviously is the opposite of what Myers is. In any event, Myers speaks in plain English if anyone does, it’s just that many people don’t like what he says.

        A fellow student in my old German class in the Goethe Institute, a smart woman in general I’d say, had a thing about him (this is going back about 13 years) and, if I remember rightly, thought he had issues with women and that he had had a stunted childhood. Or something like that. She must have had her reasons, but I couldn’t follow it at all.

        I’m afraid, as is often the case, that you can’t understand what’s going on here without reference to psychology. Myers seems to be an intravert in that his starting point is looking for sense in what is going on all around. (This is not a prerequisite for independent thought – Eoghan Harris would be a case in point, but while Harris can be contrary over a range of issues he is clearly unable to sustain it over everything in life, seeing as this is not his default setting, as it were. Perhaps Myers is an extravert in the Harris mould.)

        I didn’t used to read Myers, probably while he was writing for the IT, which I avoid where possible, but I think I generally found him to be annoyingly cranky. However, he is honest in his reasoning and, in the face of all the facts, I find his thinking is moving (by compulsion) much closer to my own, or vice versa. Basically, like myself, he is working from the principle, which can at all times be empirically proven, that most of what passes for public opinion is BS. (David recently commented here that the consensus is sometimes correct – actually this is the only real extravert article of faith, as the consense is by definition always right, so he’s just being polite – but I don’t think it happens too often in Ireland anyway.)

        If you haven’t alread read it, look at his autobiographical “Watching the Door” about his experiences in the North. Believe it or not, he started out as a republican and shared all the studenty opinions of his peers. (I’m proud to say that I never shared the opinions of my fellow students – perhaps I should be ashamed rather than proud, but I’d first need someone to explain to me convincing why that should be the case.)

        Myers is in any event far from conservative insofar as he is a libertine.

        I think the following extract from John Waters’ laughable wiki entry, which I happened upon earlir today, is apposite:

        “Waters attended the Electric Picnic music festival in 2010 and wrote that he felt a sense of dissatisfaction with the event, concluding that there was a lack of meaning underpinning events at the festival.[15] Sunday Tribune journalist Una Mullally replied that if John Waters felt disconnected or out of place at the Electric Picnic, that it was because the country had changed, and continued “perhaps this is the first Irish generation who have purposely opted out of tormenting themselves by searching for some unattainable greater meaning and who have chosen instead just to live”.[16]”

        Could Myers have made that last sanctimonious statement? I wonder. Could he have joined GS and enthused about its culture, its humility etc? Again, I wonder.

        As for myself, I don’t torment myself looking for meaning – I’d rather torment people here instead.

        I have chosen just to live. FFS!

        • EMMETTOR

          I have actually read Myers book. It’s enjoyable in parts but clearly a work of fiction. Anyone who comes out with that “I used to be a pinko but now I know the truth” BS cannot be taken seriously. Myers and Harris are a pair of Walter Mitty’s who’s opinions should be actively ignored, for your own mental health.

          • Colin

            You’ve clearly never heard of the following phrase;

            “If you’re not a socialist at 20, you’ve got no heart. If you’re not a conservative at 40, you’ve got no head.”

        • EMMETTOR

          Colin, of course I’ve never heard that phrase, it’s so clever, every time I hear it I laugh ’til I stop. Anyway, what I meant to say was that the idea of Young Kev as some sort of right-on leftie student sounds pretty unlikely. I do remember thinking that many sections of the book, however, sounded even more unlikely, if you read it with your head.

      • redriversix

        Kevin Meyers !!!!!!!!

        hehehehehehehehehehahahahahahahlol!!!!!!!!!!!! cant breath !!!!!! holy shit Pauldiv,you trying to kill me !

      • Look on Max’s site for ‘ an Interview with the Irish Times that was never published”…. it is good, especially at the very end when he finally… sigh.. comes to the nitty gritty…. pricing that is!

  35. Philip

    The issue of debt and how it will be managed or otherwise is a side show to the what has really happened – i.e. the hollowing out of western economies by cheap labour and lower worker rights from the east. The rush is on now to chase that labour or manage it from one of the power centres/ big cities. Make no mistake though – if you are blue collar/ shop floor and over 30 you are out of a job and long term unemployed. If you are middle management, or in a service industry, you’ll do better in a larger population centre.

    Cost of doing stuff and making stuff is increasing due to 1) lower competition and 2) higher energy costs and 3) Bigger debts.

    Confidence has taken a bashing and there is no sign of recovery.

    David’s Mortgage Widow and Orphans has been around for decades. We are now truely mimicking China where vast numbers work abroad in rough conditions rarely seeing their families. We are slowing becoming easternised both in terms of worker rights and costs.

    The lies perpetrated in the IT last weekend on lifestyle choices was profoundly abhorrant and even with all the spin they could muster, they could barely push it beyond 50%. A sample of a few hundred out of 100s of 1000s does not allow one to arrive at any conclusions where spreads can be in excess of 20%-30%.

    Poeple are being torn apart – just take a walk and open your eyes. Until the likes of Kenny, Noonan, the cosy elites and many others in Brussels, Frankfurt and Strasbourg are similarly wrenched from their families on a regular basis we will see no change.

    • EMMETTOR

      I’ve been thinking about the growing resemblances between the EU and China recently, some of which you describe here. There is also the way in which, when a section of the economy failed (financial institutions) a centralised decision was made to pull resources from other sections to prop up the failing part. This is something that could easily happen in China or N Korea but could never happen in a normal capitalist democracy. Clearly, in many ways, the EU has deliberately deviated so far from the capitalist norm that it is now a centrally planned economy, or as China is now termed, a State Capitalist system. China and the EU seem to be converging, at least in their choice of Political & Economic systems.

      • bonbon

        I think China is amused at the EU antics. And it will not be fooled into some kind of “rescue”. It is watching the convergence of Obama and British-EU war mongering, and along with Russia knows very well it is the target.

        China has repeatedly stated it follows FDR’s reconstruction and New Deal ecnomics – the 3 Gorges is after all based on the TVA.

        It turns out FDR’s interest in the Shannon Scheme was the TVA inspiration, giving us the China 3-Gorges!

        • coldblow

          If I were Homer, that pleasant roamer
          I’d write a poem on a noble theme
          To tell the story and to sing the glory
          Of that wonderful project, the Shannon Scheme.
          ‘Twill light our houses and stitch our blouses,
          ‘Twill milk the cow and churn the cream.
          ‘Twill plough and sow, and reap and mow,
          ‘Twill raise our dough, the Shannon Scheme…

          … All along the border our lamps are shining
          With the electric light from the Shannon Scheme.

          Our Parliament from us was stolen
          By cursed fraud and by foreign plan.
          But now thank God that they are restored,
          And we’re sitting once more in College Green.
          Just passing laws for the Irish Free State,
          Which I hope and honour, you will uphold her name.
          And enjoy with pleasure our greatest treasure
          The electric light from the Shannon Scheme.

          Seriously, did FDR get the idea from the Shannon Scheme? I never heard that before.

  36. David the article reminds me of a story I read in a book about the famine

    The huns went to the house of a man named Diver (same name as myself) near Laghy in Donegal and lit a torch threatening to burn the house down. The man could not pay the rent and said ‘feck it give me the torch’ and burned it down himself rather than let those buggers do it

    He maybe went to Glasgow on a cheap ticket and like many Donegal people would have found a home from home in Clydebank. I often wonder what happened to him

    The moral in this tale is that there is always the option of starting all over again. Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom before we wisen up to the things that are really important in life

  37. harryangel

    Hi,

    I enjoyed the article David, as I enjoy most of them.

    A lot of the time I read the argument that Ireland needed a bailout regardless of the odious bank debt being attached to the state.

    My understanding is we ran a (however boom fuelled) surplus pre fiasco. Can anybody tell me, what the fiscal gap was before we bailed out the banks?

    harry

    • EMMETTOR

      Just look at how much the bank bailouts are costing us. Anyone who says that we needed a bailout before the Irish-registered banks failed is either lying or blind.

  38. Lefty Goldblatt

    Can we afford the “rich” anymore ?

    There is this great schism between the investing class – and the rest of us.

    Guillotine the investorati ?

    • Imagine

      There is no Mahon Tribunal ,
      It isn’t easy when you try ,
      Imagine all the Barristers
      Costing Two Hundred and Fifty Million .

      Imagine all the jobs we could have had ,
      Imagine we keeping our homes,
      Imagine meeting our neighbours
      Now they are ALL GONE

      hmm hmm hmm

    • EMMETTOR

      This thought enters my silly head at regular intervals. My answer is no, we cannot afford the rich. Look at how much of the planet’s resources and wealth they use up. Much of the wealth that they accumulate is effectively taken out of existence. If it’s invested, it’s invested in Get-Richer-Quick schemes, rather than production. The money earned by the poor, in contrast, goes straight back into the economy, soon as it’s earned. Think of the productivity gains produced by something as mundane as the computer you sit in front of, which allowed one person to do the work of many. Where did those gains go? Into the bottom line and straight to the Swiss bank accounts of the rich.

    • bonbon

      Robespierre, Danton, Marat again? There is incontrovertible evidence 1 of those murderous 3 was trained in London – the Guillotine was a British project. That operative translated Newton’s works to French. And the first victim was Lavoisier, chemist, followed by the Polytechnic learned. France was literally decapitated, to London’s benefit.

      We should use bank seperation (Glass-Steagall financial guillotne) to the great dismay of London instead. Only 1 of the 8 French presidential candidates now refuses – Sarko.

  39. coldblow

    Georg, where are you when I need you? Tell me again how it’s just one big Opus Dei conspiracy. What new privileged information has been brought to your attention? Tell us what we must do, Teacher.

    And where’s Colm these days? Last time I looked he was over on irisheconomy, crunching numbers and getting all technical: “Agreed, however…” Come back Colm and lead us towards the light.

    • redriversix

      No your grand thanks Colin..stay were you are , sure your very busy.!Don’t mind Coldblow , his only kiddin !

      • Colin

        I’m staying here rr6, but as for Colm, well, he declined David McWilliams kind offer of a chat over a pint, preferring to peddle his conspiracy theories elsewhere

    • Look Coldblow…. no problem, I offer one-on-one consulting as well, payment upfront, 750 per hour, minimum booking is three hours, payment upfront.

      Then you have my full attention!

      • Colin

        Don’t all rush in at once guys, please form an orderly queue for Baumann’s Conspiracy Consultancy Clinic.

        He’s caught that terrible affliction called crony capitalism I see. Maybe he accepts monopoly money?

      • LMAO. El Classico!

        Those rates sound very reasonable Georg

        Sing me up for a multiple booking. I will even pay extra to jump the queue. If you know what I mean wink wink.

        Hor Hor. Old boys together

        • Would not take a dime from you Bro! :)

          The speculative employment of reason with respect to nature leads to the absolute necessity of some supreme cause of the world: the practical employment of reason with a view to freedom leads also to absolute necessity, but only of the laws of the actions of a rational being as such. Now it is an essential principle of reason, however employed, to push its knowledge to a consciousness of its necessity (without which it would not be rational knowledge). It is, however, an equally essential restriction of the same reason that it can neither discern the necessity of what is or what happens, nor of what ought to happen, unless a condition is supposed on which it is or happens or ought to happen. In this way, however, by the constant inquiry for the condition, the satisfaction of reason is only further and further postponed. Hence it unceasingly seeks the unconditionally necessary and finds itself forced to assume it, although without any means of making it comprehensible to itself, happy enough if only it can discover a conception which agrees with this assumption. It is therefore no fault in our deduction of the supreme principle of morality, but an objection that should be made to human reason in general, that it cannot enable us to conceive the absolute necessity of an unconditional practical law (such as the categorical imperative must be). It cannot be blamed for refusing to explain this necessity by a condition, that is to say, by means of some interest assumed as a basis, since the law would then cease to be a supreme law of reason. And thus while we do not comprehend the practical unconditional necessity of the moral imperative, we yet comprehend its incomprehensibility, and this is all that can be fairly demanded of a philosophy which strives to carry its principles up to the very limit of human reason.

          Immanuel Kant, 1785 – Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals

          • bonbon

            The only thing to note is that Kant simply Kan’t do it!

            Kant attacks “pure reason” which does not exist, unable himself to demonstrate Creative Reason, the uniquely human capability which Kant completely lacked.

            To see violent Greenie (ex-Minister) Joschka Fischer kissing Kant’s foot at Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) recently proved the point.

          • Hahahaha

            Yu are always good for a hearty laughter Bonbon

  40. Harper66

    The cost of Anglo promissory notes.

    The government is on the hook for €3.1 billion every year until 2023, with smaller annual outlays due until 2031. This year’s sum, due on March 31st, represents around 2% of GDP. From next year interest payments on the debt are due to be counted against the budget balance. To meet its deficit targets the government will have to make further cuts. Hence rising pressure in Dublin for a deal to restructure the payments.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21551066

    • molly66

      We always come back to figures that we can not pay they can defer this to a later date and in the now watch the dept grow and grow and when we get to that later date we will still not be able to pay it.if we stay in the EU with all the rules and red tape our country will be put up for sale ,any accountant can see we can’t pay this so I would ask what is this government going to do to pay the 3.1 billion now kill this country well I have news for this out of touch government you and the F FALL party have already done this.

  41. molly66

    The latest thing I found strange was I rang around to get the best quote for my car insurance and I got a good deal only if I payed there and than no hp over the year this makes me think that big insurance companies are low on cash reserves ,there customer base must be getting smaller with the domestic economy in free fall and there was me thinking exports and farmers where going to save Ireland.

  42. bonbon

    Try to “cut a deal” with Euro ideologues? Look at what happened in Berlin. Merkel has become a classic ’68er and it is all just a matter of opinion!

    Merkel Meets Greek Trade Union leaders, and Expresses Fear of Being Attacked

    March 23, 2012 (EIRNS)–German Chancellor Angela Merkel was confronted with the ugly consequences of the brutal austerity being forced on the Greeks in a meeting with Greek and other European trade union leaders today.

    Ioannis Panagopoulos, the head of Greece’s General Confederation of Greek Workers, who attended the meeting held in Berlin, confronted her with the “disastrous effects” that the relentless tax increases, pay cuts, and job losses were having on Greece. He presented `facts and figures’ explaining why such policies were failing to either boost the country’s competitiveness, or improve its debt load. “Instead, these dangerous policies have failed and are leading the Greek economy to a slow death,” he was reported as saying. “Last year alone, the wages in Greece in the private sector fell by 25 percent, and in the public sector fell by 40 percent.” Displaying a `let them eat cake attitude,’ Merkel would not be convinced, saying it was “clear” both sides had “different views,” and asked whether she would be attacked if she visited Greece.

    Meanwhile, the Greek press continues to report that government officials fear mass protests during Independence Day parades and celebrations on Sunday, March 25. While 7,000 police will be deployed in Athens, and the public will be forbidden to enter the area near the parade reviewing platform, elsewhere, in the port of Volos, no grandstands will be set up, nor on the southern Aegean island of Rhodes, where local officials were heckled and pelted with cartons of yogurt during a parade earlier this month commemorating the anniversary of the Dodecanese Island’s union with Greece. In Thessaloniki, authorities plan to go ahead with the annual parade by schoolchildren on Sunday, nonetheless. Members of a local group involving local private and public sector unionists said they are planning to stage a protest against the event. In the prefecture of Imathia, teachers and pupils are planning a silent protest march to express discontent with the government and its ongoing austerity drive.

    The Police Union itself has protested its deployment. The Panhellenic Federation of Police Officers’ (POASY) statement said: “This is not our mission. Societal problems and the anger of an entire nation cannot be faced with suppressive measures.”

  43. bonbon

    Remember all that printed money recently? Where is it going to indeed. This is why we must have murderous austerity?

    ECB: Money Injections Not Intended for Real Economy

    March 22, 2012 (EIRNS)–In an interview with {Bild Zeitung} today, ECB President Mario Draghi answered objections that his EU1 trillion liquidity injection might cause inflation, by saying that “to a large extent the banks which borrowed money from the ECB did not put it into the economic circuit, but used it to meet obligations.” Thus, Draghi admits that the ECB wants the banks not to use liquidity for productive purposes (“economic circuit”), but to roll over debt.

    With this, the ECB reveals its total incompetence and insanity.

    And that is exactly why Draghi received the strong support of the equally incompetent and insane Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke, who in Congressional testimony this week stated that “financial stresses in Europe have lessened” (Bernanke) and “the European economies have made very significant progress” (Geithner). Why? Because of the “actions by the ECB, particularly its LTRO, which provide cheap financing to cash-starved banks” — just as London ordered.

  44. bonbon

    Another bright idea, likely to be peddled and copied.

    London Announces a New Stealth Bail-Out: “National Loan Guarantee Scheme”

    March 22, 2012 (EIRNS)–The March 21 British government Budget Report, besides proposing ho-hum killer austerity, announced yet another killer bail out, in the form of the new National Loan Guarantee Scheme. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presented the details. It amounts to a stealth bailout of select banks, which are to be able to run a type of carry-trade operation, with guaranteed returns. The banks which have so far signed up to participate are Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander UK, Royal Bank of Scotland, and the new British bank Aldermore.

    The scheme is that these banks will issue government backed corporate bonds, in order to finance loans to – in propaganda, small and medium-sized businesses. The retail banks are to have up to 20 billion pounds. They are to give small-biz borrowers credit at 1% less than the so-called normal loan rate, but the banks can sell their government backed corporate bonds at less than this, and pocket the difference.

  45. stiofanc02

    Thank you Phil Hogan.
    Criminals must be wringing their hands. Phil Hogan has just given them license to go and intimidate elderly people to pay the “Household Charge” by Knocking on doors of those who havent paid.

    Starting April 2nd they will be on the streets with “proper identification required”.

    You must be joking, does this guy not realize the amount of thieves who will be posing as “authority” from the council with fake credintials?

    They are on a looser on this one. How much is it going to cost to collect this money in petrol,wages, admin.,
    badges? Visits by Gardai for fraudulent collectors?

    WTF??? is this cretin thinking?

    This is a wind up right?
    Right? The newspapers ran the story as a windup, right?
    Please tell me this is a bad joke.
    Over a hundred f’kn euro?!
    And how all of a sudden are they going to,by April 1st, determine where to send the Nazi door knockers to anyway?
    Please tell me this is a wind up.

  46. Lefty Goldblatt

    The size of bankers bonuses is a measure of how aware they are of the collapse that is coming to the monetary systems.

    It is clear they are trousering every cent they can extract – question is where are they putting it?

    Property?
    Gold?
    Diamonds?
    Guns?

    This is a time for credit unions to offer an alternative to the banking elites. Our Polticians need to be hanged alongside the bankers and wise-guy developer scoundrels.

    A rope is bio-degradable and re-useable. Its the gift that keeps on giving!!!

  47. Crystal

    The thrivemovement.com site has had a million+ hits and there have been many comments suggesting that the Thrive DVD be made available free in the hope it will go ‘viral’ as the ‘Koni’ Youtube video has, resulting in 85 million hits. Kimberley Gamble has responded saying they are considering all the suggestions as to how to reach more people more quickly. I was thinking of ordering the DVD and showing it in the local community hall also car boot stickers?! Any other ideas out there? I like the Thrive movie as it is very inspiring and optimistic about the future.
    Speaking of inspiration check out the wonderful post at http://www.thrivemovement.com/finding-way#disqus_thread see comment 3-’helping people along’ posted by Tevin. If as Einstein said ‘problems are not solved at the level of mind that created them’ this amazing post is certainly seeking solutions at the highest level of consciousness and is well worth a read!

  48. Next chapter worth a calendar entry:

    Short after April 22nd

You must log in to post a comment.
× Hide comments