June 5, 2013

Who should pay the price for the economic crisis?

Posted in Debt · 6 comments ·
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RTE’s most recent Prime Time looked at the cost of the economic crisis – and who should pay it. Myself and Tim Pat Coogan, among others, took part in an interesting discussion.

Watch here


  1. David,

    I am not quite sure how to interpret this as a reflection of thinking in Ireland, as with most things I read or hear about the place these days. The central question in my view was a red herring. Its not a question, its a statement of fact: the young are always disproportionately affected when economic conditions go south because their lives are inherently more insecure. Tim Pat Coogan was correct when he said that our lives are always a struggle when we are young and there is nothing new about that. And as mentioned these transfers are informal and through families. Its the case that transfers occur between the old and the young, except instead of the parents chipping in to cover the deposit on a house as they did in the boom times, they are now covering the electricity bill or maybe a mortgage payment or two or in some cases providing a roof for their twenty-something offspring to live under. All of these points were raised at some point and RTE have just simply rehashed an old idea of yours that has now been proven to be true. Pressing people to agree or disagree with this proposal (a statement of fact, not a question) was absurd and ignores the problem which is that this situation has consequences.

    Eisenhower said in a speech to the House in 1947 (in reference to post-war Europe) that totalitarian regimes and evil (referring to both defeated Nazism and emergent communism) are forged in times of war and unrest, but are cemented in place when societies at large give up hope that the status quo is a place in which they can prosper. There is a segment of Irish society, the young, who do not speak of their future in Ireland in optimistic terms. I am reminded of that acutely when I visit there and I have friends also in voluntary exile who report similar experiences.

    The question should have been what to do in order to give people hope.

    To be fair, you did in fact touch on this, but without space to bring the point home. I do not mean to be critical of you personally when I say that, only to suggest, as you did, that we step back, and look at this from a long long distance.

  2. pauloriain

    I am losing hope after seeing that Prime Time debate. Firstly, it is very difficult to listen to Pat Kenny, he of the €700,000 a year civil service broadcasting job, and other insiders. More to the point, we are having the wrong debate…

    It is not essentially about the older or younger generations, except the older generations are predominantly the have’s. In essence the bailout was a bailout of the have’s i.e. if the banks went bust the have’s would have lost their money on deposit, their pensions and other investments would have been wiped out. In general that right now is the older generation right now.

    The right debate though is how did we get to this place? Why do we pay so much for property? Why does it cost so much to live on this small island? Why are many of the services we pay for thru’ taxes such bad value for money? How did vested interests get to be so powerful and why are the leadership of those vested interests (e.g. unions) still in place?

    The truth is we belong to a system, a ponzi scheme in the developed world, which defines success a certain way. Our definition of what is successful is the greatest failure in history, because it is so limited.

    And what are we going to do about constructing a society, a republic and place where we can live properly successfully. Nothing, we won’t honour the constitution, we’ll re inflate the property ponzi scheme, by allowing a shortage to once again exist and boom bust again in the future.

  3. bonbon

    Tim Pat Coogan got it right, and Pat Kenny is a rude ignoramus, playing some kind of a Robin Hood stealing from the old to distribute to the young. The sandwich generation are already supporting aged parents and unemployed youth who have to live at home, and face being robbed of deposits – bail-in right now.

    Still, while some did object to the nasty trick of pitting one secion against another, none said split the banks, Glass-Steagall.

    And there lies the problem.

  4. halfback

    Hello I am new to the comment section so please forgive me if I ramble. I would like to make a few observations which struck me after watching this program, David you might consider them and reply. 1. It seems to me that RTE by de-facto or design are again ramping up the govts divide and conquer agenda, ironic dont you think when we have seen what has just happened in the public service pay talks, by the by I am self-employed.Is this to be the next item on the govts reform agenda( one more transfer of wealth from one section of society to another and in so doing reducing the exchequer costs, WHILE PITTING ONE AGAINST THE OTHER).I have for a long time been of the opinion that RTE are a mouth piece for the govt,I am now sure after this program, and not one politician in sight. 2. How does it make you feel when trying to widening the debate to propose some sort of a fix to this terrible mess you are told the pre-arranged agenda must be stuck to.

    • bonbon

      Well Enda Kenny has found out his “pre-arranged agenda” is in tatters :

      Taoiseach Enda Kenny has conceded that a concrete agreement on investment into AIB and Bank of Ireland by the new European rescue fund is unlikely this year, amid increasing resistance by euro zone member states towards the move. Dublin has consistently argued that the euro zone’s rescue fund, the ESM, should be used to retrospectively directly recapitalise banks, which would allow the State to recoup some of the funds it put into AIB and Bank of Ireland.

      But senior EU sources have said the prospect of retrospective direct recapitalisation of banks is becoming increasingly remote, amid strong opposition to the move in Brussels.

      All of this is because 2 Dail majorities have played the bankers international game.

      Thus it becomes obvious the banks must be split, the investment arms left with their astronomical synthetic debts to fend for themselves with no recourse to rescue. Any attempt to cut costs, like bailing – in depositors savings simply cannot work, neither Enda’s schemes. They can do tremendous damage, but never work.

      This is the way to go :
      Franklin Delaney Roosevelt’s 100 Days

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