October 17, 2013

We've shown yet again how we can waste a good crisis

Posted in International Economy · 127 comments ·
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With all the noise, spin, political point-scoring and special interest lobbying over the past 24 hours, it is difficult to assess where exactly this Budget is taking the economy and, more significantly, what is the overall game plan.

In terms of the latter, Michael Noonan said: “One of the primary tasks of this Budget is to lay down the conditions for a successful exit from the bailout programme at the end of this year . . . We are well on course to do this.”

But we are well on course to do what exactly? Over the past four years, economic policy has been reduced to targeting the budget deficit as a percentage of national income. This can be achieved by either raising the growth rate or by reducing expenditure and raising taxes.

Given that raising taxes and reducing expenditure reduces the growth rate, the Government needs to have to do something extra to push up the growth rate of the country. This means deep and meaningful changes to the way the country does its business, changing areas that are underperforming and driving up productivity in key sectors.

Much of this means taking on vested interests in the economy, whether that is from restrictive practices on the left and/or the banking elites on the right.

In short, it means weeding out the ‘insiders’ who want the economy – and by extension the society – to remain just as it was before the crash. This implies acceptance of the fact that borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today is not an option, particularly if it is borrowing just to maintain the status quo.

Many countries have used their crises to change fundamentally the way they did business. Finland is a great example of a country that used a banking/housing/fiscal crisis to change its education system, to demand more from its public service and to change its banking culture profoundly.

As a result, in social terms, Finland has shifted from a lowly position in education to being the best in the world today. In corporate terms, this intensive focus on changing the old ways, resulted in the emergence of Nokia as one of the premier telecom manufacturers in the 1990s and early 2000s. (Nokia has now fallen victim to the relentless cycle of competition but that’s the way the big, bad world works.)

In the past few years the Irish economic establishment has had a choice: it could have focused on the growth rate, but it didn’t; instead, it replaced economics with accountancy and focused on cutting and taxing.

As a result, here’s the deal today: Ireland will exit the bailout in a few months most probably with the benefit of another €10bn standby facility which, though not specified, must be a precautionary measure in case the banks haven’t enough money to cover expected losses from mortgage defaults as more and more people are unable to pay their loans.

So we will still end up borrowing more money next year. The target for the budget deficit will be 2.9pc of GDP in 2015 (plus the €10bn standby facility). The Irish economic establishment’s objective is to continue borrowing – rather than balancing the books and paying our way – because we can’t generate the growth to achieve the standard of living that the politicians think we deserve.

This type of prosperity is rented, not earned. Instead of emulating the Finns we only did half the job.

After three years of a bailout, nothing significant has been done to change the way we do business. Without these basic changes, the economy is not on a higher growth trajectory. The growth rate will still fall short of the economic vibrancy needed just to eliminate government borrowing. We simply add to tomorrow’s debt burden to live above our means today.

Ultimately you have to earn your prosperity, yet the stated ‘success’ of Irish policy, as seen by the ‘exiting the bailout’ mantra, will be to borrow from respectable pension funds to pay back hedge funds based in tax shelters who took a gamble on Ireland’s attitude to economics in 2011. That’s what ‘getting back into the market’ means in plain English.

So let’s think about it. We exit the bailout simply to borrow from different people to maintain a lifestyle we patently can’t afford and nothing has been done to drive growth or productivity.

Take our education system, which yesterday got a boost. But who will get the benefit? The public who are served by the system or those who work in the system itself?

In Ireland, 80.56pc of all education costs are wages. This compares with 60.7pc in the UK. How can you change an education system if you can’t touch four out of every five euro spent?

If we were getting profoundly better results than our neighbour on even the most basic metrics, we could possibly justify this disparity. But that is not the case.

Figures produced last week show that in terms of literacy for all adults, Ireland is ranked 19th, while the UK is 14th in the OECD. And, in terms of numeracy of all adults, Ireland is again 19th, while Britain is three points ahead of us in 16th place.

The UK is paying much less on educators’ wages and getting better results. Across all metrics on this study Britain beats Ireland on every score, meaning it beats Ireland big time in the public benefits of the education system – using less money.

Wasting money is everywhere in Ireland and nothing has been done about it. Think about the citizens paying bank bondholders in full but the State – the owners of the banks on our behalf – can’t even enforce a €500,000 salary cap for banking’s top dogs.

Without deep changes to the way the economy is run – across the board – Ireland joins one of those nations that didn’t use the crisis to dramatically change itself.

Exiting the bailout therefore simply means making legitimate the status quo. The insiders are protected and the outsiders – those without a stake in the economy – suffer.

This is why the Budget doesn’t have any coherence. In terms of where it is driving the economy, there is no evidence of any direction.

Bits are pro-business and bits are pro-taxes, bits are pro-welfare and other bits seek to take away. The banks will now be used as an instrument of tax collection, snatching Dirt from depositors and passing on levies in the guise of a ‘banking tax’ on charges. It is one step in one direction, followed by a little nudge in the other.

It is difficult to expect anything different from a Coalition pulling in opposite directions to satisfy ideological and party-specific biases. That’s what they do.

However, failing to make deep changes and rendering legitimate the failed status quo (at a time of global economic transformation) doesn’t roar ‘success and courage’ – rather it shrugs ‘cynicism and a lack of ambition’.

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  1. Adam Byrne

    Subscribe.

  2. hibernian56

    Morning Adam,

    Nothing is going to change as long as the sheep keep voting for the Muinteoir (civil service wolves). When I see Muinteoir Noonan giving any kind of speech, lapping up the attention I an baffled. He is an ex school teacher, with a part time degree in economics, with no experience. Of course lets not forget the hordes of “just behind the scenes mandarins, with equally few qualifications.

    Than look at the “opposition”, Muinteoir Martin another school teacher.

    It’s a farce. Move along people, your leaders have spoken, now pay and obey.

    • Adam Byrne

      Morning hibernian56 – you are right and it’s a tragedy. A country down the toilet.

    • woodsey

      But isn’t it up to the politicians to direct the civil service and not just act as benign observers? Like D Mc W I’m also puzzled by this departure from the bailout. Politicians seem to hail it as an opportunity to place even more Irish bonds on the matket in order to try and fund a lifestyle that we demand but can’t afford. What exacltly is going on here?

      • michaelcoughlan

        It’s a mistake to believe that our lifestyle has anything got to do with policy. The govertnment’s interest lies in protecting banking interests first which the proceeds of the bond sales will be used to benefit.

        Michael.

      • Ryu Hayabusa

        Hi,
        It’s a load of old tosh. The monkeys are spewing out exactly what the organ grinder is feeding them.

        They’re too blinkered to focus attention on pressing matters like the ever expanding debt pile, Debt to GDP/GNP ratio, the increasingly onerous interest on debt burden.

        Noonan is like a broken record crowing about the ‘fabled’ leaving the bailout in mid December.
        His myopia is mind-boggling!

        Plus the Walter Mitty style growth projections which have little basis.

        Steady growth of 2% would be running to stand still and even that looks hopelessly optimistic given current trends.

        These clowns are just happy to ride the debt carousel and then think they can just swan off into the horizon with their busty pension packages just like Bertie, Biffo and Harney et al. (without a second glance back at the carnage they’ve left in their wake)

        Christ, when are people gonna wake up?

      • Ryu Hayabusa

        Okay mini-rant over. I’m fine now!

  3. EugeneN

    I don’t have much time for Irish teachers, however: The figure for all adults is a deliberately misleading. If David is comparing the education levels now achieved he should compare 16-24 year olds with 16-24 year olds in the UK. In that case, while hardly spectacular, the Irish figures beat the UK. He maybe should have chosen some other country. Probably fewer people over the age of 50-60 went to secondary school back in the day.

    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/oct/08/italy-spain-oecd-literacy-numeracy-league-table

    The UK showed a relative decline over time, Ireland didn’t. However relative decline is not actual decline ( the UK actual results stayed the same, but the relative position of 16-24 fell as other countries in the top OECD stayed the same). The numeracy of most posters here will be suspect indeed.

    As for Finland, I hear good things about their education system but nobody has ever explained why? What do they do? Can we even do it?

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi,

      As far as I know the Finns put more money into the pre school learning area.

      Regards,

      Michael.

    • Declan Conway

      Actually, the UK has three universities in the top 10 in the world, according to the latest rankings, and a very healthy 31 in the coveted top 200, so they must be doing something right.

      Ireland’s universities are falling down the tables, with the odd small exception. They spend the money on education, we’re cutting – but not wages.

      Finland actually spends less than Ireland as a portion of its GDP but it spends it better and a lot less on wages.

      However, they pay each teacher more than in Ireland, they just have fewer of them.

      They pay teachers a wage similar to that paid to accountants or solicitors. Average annual pay for teachers in Finland is more than 90,000 euros.

      Also, teachers have to be educated to Masters level.

      And class sizes are small compared with every one else.
      Average class size in Finland is 9-11 pupils.
      Theyt

      • EugeneN

        The universities thing is a red herring. Its not what the report we are talking about says, nor is it about under graduate performance. And those surveys tend to be people mentioning already famous universities, which are probably a) famous because they are famous b) attract the best post grads because they are famous.

        There is a clear disconnect between measurable performance of 16-24 years ( as clear in the actual report) and number of famous universities per capita. I doubt if Finland tops the latter table. The US is bottom of the OECD 16-24 year old numeracy and literacy table, but has world famous universities.

        The UK shows a relative decline in 16-24 and Ireland didn’t. Therefore David’s claim is incorrect (The UK is paying much less on educators’ wages and getting better results. ), or his stats misleading.

        Call it a lack of numeracy.

        • bonbon

          There is a famous lack of numeracy at the most Famous, Harvard, in the name of Larry Summers. Famously Harvard fired this illiterate after a “bad bet”, not to mention his behavioral traits. Infamously he supervised the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Even this numbskull saw the writing on the wall, withdrawing his FED Chief application.

          Even the thickest can be famous!

          • michaelcoughlan

            No one espouses more than you numerical illiteracy bonbon!

            How manny times have you been requested to stop diverting the board to glass stegal?

            Michael.

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            Larry Summers, the not to be next Federal Reserve Chairman spoke with Charlie Rose this week about what he called “sad and difficult” times in Washington.

            He proclaimed, “Nobody should be proud of the governance process that produced the last several months” and added that if the economy could grow just a wee bit faster, all this talk of slashing and/or burning food stamp programs, Social Security benefits and the like would be entirely unnecessary.

            Guess the shutdown put paid to those aspirations eh Lar???

            He followed up with..
            “[I don't know] why the obsession should be with entitlements — like the test of a country is did we scale back entitlements? No! The test of the country is did we have a stronger economy for our children than we had for ourselves. That’s what is in doubt and that’s what we should be focusing on.”

            Great but Practically everything he’s ever done has been in contravention to this ideal.

            When they figured out what a cretin he was they started calling him Larry.
            Whatever happened to ‘Laurence’

            The very fact he was touted as a possible Fed chair shows how warped the US financial system and its machinations has become.

            Leisure Suit Larry, the (Diet)Coke head! Take a bow Laurence.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Re Laurence;

            Living proof that the more you fuck the thing up the higher you get promoted. Same as here.

            Seriously though being stupid is very mportant because when the whole thing comes crashing down the fact that you are sp stupid you don’t make the connection between your behaviour and the calamity going on.

            This means that you
            never have to deal with the psychological consequences of your own action.

            THATS WHY stupidity is a very necessary part of the atfibutes of the assholes in charge.

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            Now they’re saying Larry reportedly turned down an offer to lead the Bank of Israel.
            I’m sure they’ll be crying into their creamy hummus.

            Being so thick as to be unable to grasp the consequences of their actions should be a card Kenny & Gilmore will play with relish.

            How about a two week Waterboarding Staycation in Guantanamo Bay?
            That might make them more ‘psychologically’ aware.

            It is of course as bad here if not worse undoubtedly.

            The lack of accountability here is right up there with any comparison someone would care to make globally.

            The setup in the HSE being the shining example.

            Now Mickey Martin is calling for the head of Octor Dicey Reilly for telling porkies, in true Godfather style..
            ‘Bring me la testa de Jameso Reilluccini!’

  4. Adelaide

    Spot on, David.
    Question: I heard on the radio yesterday that 50% of the country’s total future budgets will go to pay debt repayments. Is this figure true? And if so for how many years? The interviewee described this figure as ‘borderline sustainable’. Sustainable for whom? What’s the correct figure?
    Thanks for any clarification.

  5. Noonans Kids

    The Popes Children written by David explains the population boom that followed the visit by the Pope.

    Later this year …9 months and thereafter to be precise the new population boom will kick-start again .Why ?

    Increase prescription charges will prevent Irish girls/ladies from buying birth control tablets because they will not be able to afford them and thus forego them .Blessed he that Cometh.

  6. The muinteoiri can’t think outside the curriculum! According to J.K. Galbraith we should pay attention to achieving social balance by investing in public services, such as education. This can be a great driver of the economy. Politicians often give lip service to this idea, but when the chips are down, and we have a full blown crisis, they falter.

    Multinational investors often cite the level of education as a reason for relocating to an area. Similarly infrastructure and other public services.

    With their eyes glued to the accountancy books, the muinteoiri have lost sight of the objective, as you say.

  7. cianireland

    Being the first EU bailout success story and re-entering the open market gives us back a little sovereignty.

    Mostly, it gives us leverage. Should we make it out of the bailout despite being in dire straights, Europe then has a vested interest in keeping us out. Needing another bailout would amount to a massive failure of the flawed austerity married to debt socialisation dogma; they really won’t want that to happen.

    At that stage, our weak politicians will have a strong hand to seek debt write downs. Will they know how to play it and have the nerve to do so? I doubt it.

    It is the clear upside to getting back into the markets, LEVERAGE FOR DEBT WRITE DOWN.

  8. DMcW:In short, it means weeding out the ‘insiders’ who want the economy – and by extension the society – to remain just as it was before the crash.

    yes…but

    DMcW:Think about the citizens paying bank bondholders in full but the State – the owners of the banks on our behalf – can’t even enforce a €500,000 salary cap for banking’s top dogs.

    Above is your explanation, isn’t it?

    Allow me to get to the nitty gritty for a second using our national parks just as an example.

    In a nutshell, back in 2009, I made a written business proposal to the then Minister for environment Mr. Gormley, and I ran this briefly by Paul Sommerville when he was running for office as well, and he too found this to be a well thought out business proposal and was supportive, announcing that he will personally look after that should he come into office.

    Here was my offer. There are six national parks in Ireland. Their websites truly are a sad joke and a ridiculous buisness card. I wrote to Minister Gormely and offered him to visit all parks and take 360 panoramic tour pictures, deliver them to the NPWS including all tools and setups required to implement them on their websites. FOR FREE! Of course I supplied him with credentials and references.

    The endresult would have been multiple HD virtual tours through all the national parks including interieur tours where suitable.

    This would have taken considerable time, know how, and front up financing from my side creating these high resolution tours from all parks using a custom made professional robotic device that I got from a befriend german engineer, state of the art technology. The time frame was one summer and autumn to get all the parks shot. Each park would have had around 10 virtual tours delivered to them. Ready to be deployed by their webmaster without any trouble. Roughly four months time from start to finish.

    In return, all I asked for was to be allocated a place in each park to setup something where my fine art prints from working in the parks would be on sale for the public, so the risk would be 100% on my side. Estimated saving for the NPWS around 50,000 Euro.

    Within 2 days Gormley replied and allocated his private secretary Eddie to follow this up with me. I can not tell you anmore how often i called then, wrote emails, asking on status quo and calling a meeting to kickstart this, endless!

    It took them over three months to react. In my own words: They currently see no need for enhancing the web experience, should they require such services in the future I am free to participate in a tender. Blah blah.

    Here you are, someone is willing to take a risk on his own cap, offering a top quality product, 100% for free, and burocratic red tape as well as an insider clique are prohibitive for such engagement.

    I agree with you, nothing has changed David, nothing!

    • and btw. as for weeding out the insiders, Paul Sommerville did not make it into office, and as you know, a loss for Ireland that was!

    • rcly123

      Hi George R.
      - why don’t you do this anyway? Make your own website, and subvert the government altogether.

      Don’t know if you have heard of Creative Commons license’s (http://creativecommons.org/).

      If you can do this, I’m pretty sure you’d make a return just through the publicity and advertising possibilities on your _own_ site.

      … anyhow, just a thought. Sounds like a terrible lack of ability from the government.

      • Yes, they talk all day long about their commmitment to entrepreneurial spirit, to be so important for Ireland and all that, but in fact their policies kill that economic pillar in Ireland, and they rather enable multinational corporations rip off instead.

        What the Hell…shrugs

        At the end, the only force that can weed out the insider destroying the future of generations to come in Ireland is, the only true sovereign, the people, and they had…. well…. I better shut up now. ;)

    • cianireland

      I think this is a great idea.

      Please do it in any case. If you don’t seek the concession to sell art you will get it done more easily and it will still be a fantastic resource and therefore profitable…

      Great idea.

      • Thanks for your thoughts and ideas.

        I no longer do landscape photography / large format fine art printing in Ireland. I settled for much warmer shores :) and left Ireland, like so many.

        Anyone, feel free to pick up the idea though! It might be worth a shot if you do this right! To give you an idea and part of my package for example was shooting aerial photography from 20-40 feet up, enabled by quadcopter drones with attached panorama robotics. Yes, I am serious! :)

        Quadcopter with custom made attachments around 7K-8K. Robotics around 2K (well, mine was much more expensive, but there are mainstream tools available now, it is not 2009 anymore!) Software arond 1K, depending on what you have already. Gigapano Pro, Focusstacking tools etc.

        You do not need to go to such extremes, you can also do this from the ground, however, for special landscape virtual tours this gives superb birds eye perspectives.

    • oh, and btw. one National Park saw fit to steal my work, clearly copyrighted work and publish them on their site for advertising purposes.

      I had to slap them hard to make sure they remove them from their website.

    • To those who want to know what this was all about. Here is an example from of a friend of mine. The blinking spot brings you to the next tour, and you can hold down your mouse botton to control the rotation, left, right, up, down.

      http://www.360impressions.de/TourCan.html

    • joe hack

      Great idea regardless of the outcome – if I worked for the national parks I would not allow anyone to sell their wares in any of the parks.

      Would idea not encourage a virtual walk in the park!?

      • Why not?

        Did you ever visit Grand Canyon, Arches, or any other of the grand national parks in this world?

        I too would not allow to sell leprechauns made in China, of course not.

        However, at one walk around in such a park I saw massive tunnel tent installations, approx 30 meter long, huge suckers, all rotten, not taken care for. I then talked to the responsible Gardener and suggested to him to reinstate their function, grow organic food and herbs and have a bi-weekly market event in the park, use the proceedings to invest futher etc.

        Answer?

        He would have loved to do that, but every penny theoretical income, will be going back to Dublin and they decide what to do with it. I mean fro christ sakes, a bunch of technocrats in suits sitting the whole day in the office in Dub, right.

        Money being tight and tighter for the parks, such ideas would allow them a certain economical freedom and ways to invest where it is badly needed, the parks are going down the drain anyways in the past 5-10 years, despite all the whitewashed media news about them.

        But to allow them to become more selfsufficient, would also mean to get rid of a couple of Suits sitting in Dub shoveling paper all day long.

        God forbid! LOL

  9. cianireland

    Incidentally, I agree with this article, as depressing an indictment as it is, it is important that we remind ourselves of how little was achieved when we had the opportunity.

    This recession has been a nightmare for Ireland and will continue to be. The silver lining could have been tackling the waste and inefficiency endemic in this country, letting it bounce back fitter and stronger.

    Alas turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and our politicians have allowed the private sector to be gutted. The result is 300,000+ educated private sector votes offshore leaving 400+ thousand voting to keep their benefits and a heavily skewed to public sector electorate.

    It will be more difficult than ever to pressure the cost base and seek efficiency as our democracy will be driven by the will of the Public sector/those on benefits. It seems the best we can hope for is to reduce our debt to GDP ratio via what would be entirely fair debt write-downs, whilst willing recovery in our trading partner economies, which in turn would boost the Private sector in Ireland.

    This is not intended as an attack. Benefits are vital and the public sector do a good job. We just need to be more efficient, this is a fact. Unfortunately there was a clear mandate to seek change and we didn’t get it and now we are more like the Ireland where you are a farmer, public sector employee or emigrate for opportunity.

  10. Original-Ed

    This is down to earth – it lays bare the total lack of forward thinking in our administration. All they’re doing is moving the same pieces around on the same table. They have analysis coming out of their arses but they haven’t a clue what to do with it. They haven’t a forward plan or the balls to manage on, all we get, is the same old, same old incompetence hidden under a mountain of political waffle. The future is bright, alright, but only for the administration and their rolls-Royce pay and pensions. To the ordinary joe, they’re now like exotic animals in a zoo – all you can do is watch them play among themselves.

  11. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    An important article which raises important questions the most important of which is the question which direction the budget is designed to take the economy in.

    If you take the view as you do of a classically trained economist your analysis is correct. However let’s look at the detail and we will arrive at a clearer picture.

    The most telling detail for me was the increase in Dirt to 41% on savings which gets minimal interest rates as it is. In other words if you save money you loose wealth especially with this new tax, the government is forcing people to spend money to stimulate the economy. Further the banks have been allowed favourable treatment on previous loses to bring them into nett neutral tax liabilities at the same time OAPs have their phone allowance taken. Young people have their dole cut to €100 I presume to force them to emmigrate or into a very badly paid “job”.

    In the final analysis you will see that the govt is not trying to take the economy in any direction at all but in fact is cotinuing to subjugate it and the population for the benefit of hopelessly insolvent banks.

  12. 5Fingers

    Turkeys do not vote for Christmas. But inevitably, Christmas comes.

    The thing about being a turkey is that you think every day is getting better. The grub keeps coming, the weight is on the up and up and all the trend lines are heading positively. Crisis? What crisis? It was just a matter of moving numbers around and squeezing a few people who were not important. All is good as long as you are not one of “them”.

    Lots of stuff looming and Ireland has no plan. How can it? It is a land of fraudsters and hoodwinkers. All are focused on an end game but never bothered about the intervening work involved and who is impacted.

    Christmas is coming.

    • michaelcoughlan

      “Christmas is coming”

      When the international financiers come for the keys of the bedroom to stop ye having kids because they need the tax revenue more than the Irish family they will be the only thing coming.

      Michael.

  13. Adelaide

    “Take our education system…”

    Education Farce, News for Parents :

    Anyone with children in secondary school should be aware of the following.
    My friend’s story should alarm all parents.

    She recently emigrated to Australia for good due to recent events. For the last 20 years she worked for the State in evolving Refugee programs, working her way to the top as she’s an extremely capable lady in her late 40′s. Anyhow, earlier this year the government closed down the body she worked for, laying off 200+ people. Those on CID’s (‘Contracts of Indefinite Duration’), she reckons about 100, were told they’d be redeployed according to their skill set. A week before schools returned this year after the summer break she received a letter stating that, as she holds a HDip (she never pursued teaching after her HDip as it was not a career for her) and held a degree in English Lit & French (she has not spoken French in 20 years since her college days) that she will be teaching Leaving Cert French in X School. She was horrified. Her protests kept to nout. She would replace the existing French teacher who, though well experienced, did not hold a CID.
    She stuck it out for a couple of months, googling French in the evenings to prepare for her classes pretending to be a teacher. She’s away now in Australia working in the field of her expertise, vowing never to return.

    The important point is that her story is being replicated in every school across the country. All her 100 former colleagues on CID’s were redeployed to secondary schools based on the flimsiest of reasoning. Not only that, in this X School 10 people from other ‘recently closed’ departments across the board started pretending to be teachers in September alongside her, replacing existing teachers who did not hold CIDs. They referred to themselves as ‘The Parachutes’ (parachuted into no-mans land). Their average age was mid-40′s.

    What was most shocking was the principal told them that in forthcoming Halloween Parent’s meeting to not volunteer their backgrounds, that the parents will blindly ‘assume’ they are talking to bon fide teachers.

    What she found most shocking was that those of the 10 starters along side her who did not HDips replaced teachers of non-curriculum subjects, in particular, an elderly receptionist from a now defunct government quango is now the new full-time Resources Teacher, ‘dealing’ with the disabilities of Special Needs teenagers, ‘dealing’ is not the appropriate word. My friend has words for what is happening in our schools under the nose of unsuspecting parents but these words I can’t repeat here in public.

    If you are a parent check out who is teaching your children. You may get a nasty shock.

    • McGoo

      If that’s true, I’m shocked.
      Anyone who could wilfully do that much damage to Ireland’s only real long-term source of wealth (the education of the next generation) just to meet some short-term numerical target should be excluded from any decision-making role for ever!

      But it’s only anecdotal. Do you have any real facts/numbers?

      • Adelaide

        I’m relaying her story with her permission. Yes, it’s only anecdotal (what else could it be?) but she’s not prone to exaggeration. If my children were of school-going age I would not rest after being made aware of such scheming, true or not true, I would find out.

        • Adelaide

          Thats an extrordinary story. We/are they replacing teachers who are retiring?

          Best

          David

          • Adelaide

            No. They are simply replacing Teachers who do not hold a CID.

            CID holders can not be laid off (jobs for life), but as in my friend’s case, the gov have closed down their depts and so the gov have to redeploy CID holders somewhere.

            My friend and her colleagues spent January to September idle on full pay while awaiting redeployment. Their skillset can not be redeployed in practical terms because their departments no longer exist. It’s madness.

            My friend asked for redundancy knowing that her chosen career was effectively over in this country. Nope. The law won’t allow it, it’s redeployment only.

      • cooldude

        I’m not shocked or even really surprised by this lady’s story. I find it quite typical of the way things work throughout the so called public service. The only people they are interested in serving is themselves and this applies right through from the muinteori downwards. The tax payers are looked on as cash cows to keep this whole stinking corrupt operation going. One third of the country is now supporting the rest. If they can’t get enough tax off them to keep their entitlements they borrow money to pay for them. This borrowing to cover entitlements is plain and simple theft off future generations because this crowd of jokers are too corrupt to put their house in order.
        It’s not going to change one bit because the two thirds will always vote to increase taxes on the cash cows to keep their so called entitlements. There is no solution under our current system but this is unsustainable and will eventually crumble under the debt mountain. Until then there is no solution to this type of selfish crap that the public masters are carrying on with.

  14. I think, it is well worth remembering and those who know me, on rare occasions, I agree with DMcW. :)

    DMcW:In short, it means weeding out the ‘insiders’ who want the economy – and by extension the society – to remain just as it was before the crash.

    This is the crux of all things really, and without sorting that one out, all the rest remains nothing but a chat in the pub.

    Ditch the constitution and start from scratch, this would be a start in deed.

    The people of ireland deserve it, and we owe it to those who are coming after us.

    Just my 0,05 grams of Gold,

  15. these selfsame Insiders prompted The Govt Of teachers Accountants To guarantee The Banks The few So called economists Were And Are Yes Men Or Insiders as you call em David.
    80.59% Goes On wages as compared to Britain’s 60.7 But David That’s Only In Education the HSE Who Run a mickymouse Health Service are The same 80% Wages. the rot goes right through All Govt Departments A system where top civil Servants Set There Own and TDs Wages Is Flawed Surely, The more A TD gets The More These top dogs Get And If They make A balls up they get Promoted. Some Of These Top Dogs Recently Resorted To Threatening OAPS Over the Household Tax. These Are The Insiders Or More Like The Untouchables That Keeps Us Bogged Down.,

    • DB4545

      Did you really expect fresh and creative thinking from a man embedded in the Hep C scandal? Given the choice of protecting the Citizen or the State he chose the State.
      Contrary to an earlier comment there is forward thinking from Government. They can look forward to index linked obscene pensions while taxpayers are bled dry to pay for them. A risk free unearned pension unrelated to any “normal” level of income for the average Citizen.
      A retired Taoiseach gets a weekly pension of 3000 Euros which is equivalent to 16 weekly dole payments. At least if an unemployed person returns to work they can contribute to society.
      What have retired politicians contributed since this disaster? One in particular acts as the agent for a Swiss hedge fund that wants to buy State forests(Coilte) for a pittance. Another is an advisor to Healthcare companies selling products to the HSE.
      These people made decisions while in office that have destroyed our economy and sovereignty. The IRA with all the havoc they wreaked on this Island couldn’t manage to do that. These parasites should be on trial for treason and not collecting unearned pensions.

      • hibernian56

        I always like this time of year. It always reminds me what a pointless exercise private pensions are. I have 3, each is effectively worthless despite spending thousands on each.

        Cash hoarding from now on is the way to go thank you very much.

        It’s sickening to think of the weekly threatening ads from the Civil Service propaganda machine. Time to file your taxes. You must pay your TV licence. It’s the law.

        Their law.

      • michaelcoughlan

        The former head of BOI was hired by a us based asset recovery business and his job is to find out where the dodgy loans and easy pickings are!

        Talk about a nazi being hired after the war to find where the bodies are buried!

      • Ryu Hayabusa

        Economic treason. The very thing Pat Rabbitte accused one Mr. Carey of the former administration of.
        Plus he balled it up into a fake, indignant rant for dramatic effect.

        He’s now one of the perps. Volte Face.

  16. joe hack

    “It is difficult to expect anything different from a Coalition pulling in opposite directions to satisfy ideological and party-specific biases. That’s what they do.” – that’s the way the Irish people voted – that’s the trouble with democracy…the will of the people…’take’…

    If i was a Republican in the USA I might use the above DMW opinion to bash Obama and the Democrats.

  17. CorkPlasticPaddy

    It’s all very well to be making such comments on this site. The thing is is there and politician or politicians who’d have the ‘balls’ to do anything to change things????

  18. 5Fingers

    There will be no change because to attempt to change things by the average punter means a loose it all and crushing defeat without making a dent.

    We live in a dramatically biased winner take all world (super rich, super affluent, super whatever that is magnified by media and our current tech). People naturally follow these winners. Winners are influencers and can lobby and they get the world they want by manipulating the weak representatives of our people. They put the small man’s skin in the game to their gain and they are helped because of the halo effect of “Winner Take all” – they are the quintessential core of what being “inside” is all about.

    I cannot help but find David’s attack on insiders as disingenuous. Like all journalists he cannot help but like winner take all scenarios and their outcomes in terms of being able to work close to them and gain accordingly. Indeed we know full well David laments the lack of sufficient numbers of these types for Ireland. This is the unfortunate nature of all media, journalism and influencers and lobbyists. The further unfortunate side effect is to reinforce the mess we have in this country…why should winners choose to wreck what works for them. When you win, you consolidate. Why should the government disrupt winners? they get to loose influence afterwards – fees are only based on how good an impression you made last. Far better to run down teachers wages more, give lower paid public service another kick and throw the odd note of horror at a banker getting paid too much (in the scheme of things its actually nothing). Commenting on inefficiencies is a nice fashionable way of looking sensible and prudent. While the desire may be for good economics, the article’s thrust is accountancy based.

    So there will be no change other than what spontaneously emerges and gets suppressed for the disaffected. Journalists will report, people will buy the papers and the world grinds on and Winner Takes All proceeds to consolidate their gains.

    You want change? Look at the influencers and their toolset.

    • 5 Fingers

      Interesting angle. I will have to digest and think a bit about what you have said.

      Best

      D

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi,

      I couldn’t disagree more. Change starts with yourself. When you master and demonstrate personal change you inspire others to do likewise.

      Start with yourself. I’m telling you it really really works.

      Michael.

      • 5Fingers

        Michael, I am just pointing out the facts and effects of media in our winner take all world. Little guys have next to zero chance of changing anything. You or I would not risk trying to disrupt or dilute the deleterious effects of winners to likely costly effect. You first? OK?

        We live in a horribly unequal world. I have no answers for escaping this Darwinian like landscape except to point out that clichéd answers of it starts with oneself is not tenable.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi 5fingers,

          I feel you pain. However let me point out respectfully a number of personalities who have made Enourmous changes by becoming self starters. One of my heros is a self confessed grumpy old fart called bob geldof. When presented with millions of starving human beings in Africa and all of the corruption and inequality there he cajoled people into organising live aid in the mid 80s when there was no Internet and the technology was still analogue. There are millions of Africans, millions 5fingers, who woul be dead only for him. When he demonstrated personal leadership even Bono followed him.

          Mandella, mother Theresa, mama Tina, green peace, etc etc etc etc all faced with the same obstacles and all undeterred.

          You must first shift your mind from focusing on the wrong and start looking for the good. It’s much harder to achieve this in practice but with discipline and repetition you will do it. Remember that you find in life what you look for. At least 80% of the people in the world are good moral people. Stop looking at Peter Sutherland, Lyod blankfein, Ben Bernanke, michael O’Leary, Bertie ahern, professor hone-a-scam and other abject failures (failure and success is different things to different people).

          Start looking at the lives of Mandella,
          geldof, Paul Hewson, Brian odriscoll,
          the collison brothers, gay Byrne (broadcaster and road safety activist. Latter carer has succeeded in bring down the death toll on the roads big
          time) etc etc etc. You nerd to achieve a shifting of focus. Do it over and over until your new outlook becomes second nature to you.

          Best of luck and respectfully,

          Michael.

          • Adam Byrne

            What exactly has Brian O’Driscoll ever done Michael apart from running around a field?

            I was forced to endure him (for family reasons) last night on The Late Late Show.

            A wholly vacuous individual whose vacuousness was only surpassed by the slimy turd who was ‘interviewing’ him.

            Bread and circuses I tell you.

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            Hi Adam,

            At least Damian Dempsey wasn’t on. Now that really would have been excruciating!!.. at least i’m hoping as I don’t watch that turgid tripe.

            He is quite high up on the RTE luvvie list so its only a matter of time before his kipper resurfaces!

            It’s all part of their propaganda.. Think happy happy thoughts, try to distract them from the crumbling pillars and the ceiling about to cave in…

          • Adam Byrne

            Good point Ryu!

            Knobends the lot of them.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi 5fingers,

          “You or I would not risk trying to disrupt or dilute the deleterious effects of winners to likely costly effect. You first? OK?”

          I’m doing everything in my power to achieve just that with Limerick community grocery. Me first exactly.

          when you look at the world complaining about change you are dreaming,

          when you look inside your own mind and initiate change you awaken!

          respectfully,

          Michael.

  19. DB4545

    We’re easygoing laid back people. We change once a century, 1690, 1798 , 1916. We’re overdue, it won’t be pretty but it is needed.

  20. DB4545

    We’re easygoing laid back people. We change once a century, 1690, 1798 , 1916. We’re overdue, it won’t be pretty but it is needed.

  21. DB4545

    We’re easygoing laid back people. We change once a century, 1690, 1798 , 1916. We’re overdue, it won’t be pretty but it is needed.

  22. Paul Divers

    One of a couple of good articles since the first months of 2013. David, you appear not to be Tory and neither do the the people of Ireland but you are Tory. You would go for the suicide option in seconds if O’Leary and Bono told you to lead the charge. You made it very clear who your friends are

    You are a stateless Paddy preaching from the pulpit while the rest of us are playing the game and taking the punches. I am doing an internship and my partner is unwell with a heart condition and we were stripped yet again. Do we complain. Do we fuck.

    You shameless schmuck.

    • michaelcoughlan

      “Protect yourself,your family

      That is all that matters”

      Amen Barry.

      Stay sane in the four courts Barry.

      • michaelcoughlan

        I meant this post for redriversix below.

        “while the rest of us are playing the game and taking the punches. I am doing an internship and my partner is unwell with a heart condition and we were stripped yet again. Do we complain. Do we fuck”

        My heart breaks for you. If you live anywhere near Limerick and I can help in any way let me know.

        Michael.

  23. Paul Divers

    Public sector IT departments are in a panic because Windows XP reaches ‘end of life’ next year.

    They don’t know what to do. The backroom guys hate the web and are mistrustful and the front end gals are too lazy to use their imagination. They’d rather chat about Downtown Abbey

    Internal politics is ripped apart and the cold wind of change meanders through the coffee corridor. Not many smiling faces and people get through the day alone or living in the 9 to 5 bubble

    I then I saw the reason for it all

  24. redriversix

    A game changer…A seismic event..

    21 June 2012

    An Taoiseach announces retrospective capitalization of our Banks from E.S.M.
    18 Oct 2013

    Wolfgang “Amadeus” Schauble announces that this will not happen…..

    not a word from anyone,media,radio..nothing

    Nobody brought in from Government to explain themselves ……no accountability for these lies & spinning…

    Yet again more crap from Government who clearly have no fear of reprisals for their continued fraudulent announcements and acts of betrayal against the Young ,the sick, the elderly,women and small business

    Has a the file entitled “untermensch” been introduced to Government records ?

    The budgetary evidence from recent years could support this claim.

    We will not be leaving any bailout programme soon,it may be dressed as something else but I assure you the I.M.F,TROIKA OR E.C.B will not be going anywhere soon.

    We have become a compliant outpost on the periphery of Europe torn between two fathers ,America & the E.U like a frightened child afraid to upset his cruel stepmothers for fear of reprisals.

    Dail Eireann has become a F.O.B [ forward operating base] for Euro & U.S corporate masters and they will do nothing to extract themselves to this Financial War being fought over the weakest in society

    As long as Government Ministers get resupplied by Corporate slicks & chinnocks carrying their pensions and promise of greater things & promotion to the mainland..nothing will change.

    What our Government failed to do in utilizing our natural resources to improve the lives of the citizens of this land.Corporations will be allowed to asset strip our resources as the reward for occupation.

    The Shock Doctrine……..

    Protect yourself,your family

    That is all that matters

    • michaelcoughlan

      “Protect yourself,your family
      That is all that matters”

      Amen Barry.

      Stay sane in the four courts Barry.

      • redriversix

        Will do Michael. …

        Although we cannot give up in Court and will operate “within the system”…

        If it was nit so serious for people in financial trouble, it would be laughable.

        Have a great day.Be happy, do the best you can one day at a time, scrap fear stress & anxiety

        Take back your life, realise whats important

        Barry

    • DB4545

      I pointed out that we change once a century. I honestly don’t know what the tipping point will be. Emigration has been our curse and a safety valve for generations. Maybe it’s better that people choose to protect their family by working overseas rather than agitating for change at home. Previous waves of emigration had the luxury of a world that wasn’t in Global recession and they could move to regions that were growing. A wave of returning emigrants forced home may change all that. A hundred Euros a week won’t pacify that anger.

      • bonbon

        If you mean “we the bankers, we the oligarchy”, no change is expected. Oligarchy has been 99% of our history, and the current expression, the Anglo-Dutch British Empire is at it again. A look at Obama’s “healthcare” is enough to prove that.

        We the people must immediately dump this oligarchy, and the best way is to take away their toys with Glass-Steagall. The diaspora have likely seen this global oligarchy at work, as it did before 1921.

    • 5Fingers

      I feel very humbled reading your posts. I wonder how do we make people like you go viral? And yet I know that that of itself will likely lead to discrediting.

      The only media I trust are books about ordinardary people. No affectation. Just their lives – even if fictionally portrayed. We need plain narratives by ordinary people … Not sensation or news. Keep posting.

      • 5Fingers

        This was for Redriversix.

        • 5Fingers

          …And others here who tell it like it is on the ground. One of the main reasons I like coming here.

          • redriversix

            Well…after a couple of years talking to people around the Country about surviving debt…I have decided to grab the bull by the horns and stick my rather thick neck out…………

            Friday 17 January 2014

            The Stillorgan Park Hotel

            “An Evening with me”

            A talk about surviving debt,loss & the Court’s system….

            Life after debt….
            living without stress,anxiety or
            worry,one day at a time.
            about recovery,failure & success
            most of all what I think is really important……..you,me & family

            Some funny stories..some sad stories..all real…

            Tickets €15.00 each including Tea/ coffee & some Lincoln & Mikado Biscuits

            Limited to 80 tickets
            contact redriversix8@gmail.com
            or 0873905099

            Come and maybe get some inspiration & a few laughs…..or heckle.

            or watch me fall on my ass..!
            but don’t worry… I have learned how to get back up… !!!!

            Thanks for the space David ! I will do a gig at Kilkenomics in return..!!

            Cats outta the bag now……..[ gulp ! ]

  25. Voltex

    Ok..great piece..but I have an observation. On DMW last article I posted the following on the 14/10/13 on his FB page.

    ” A much respected academic, Larry Greiner, in one of his organisational models, described how by going through a crisis organisations (or national economies) are spurred into revolution and then through an evolution of structure and mechanics. In other words..we move on to the new and improved version..hopefully a bit like our economy!”

    Its funny that the title of the subsequent article is as above. As someone completing a MSc if I ever wrote something without citing the author its considered a crime worse than murder!! A little acknowledgement of Prof. Greiner is probably appropriate Id say!!

    • bonbon

      I could have sworn I say something about Greiner alright. But it seems to have vanished. Post the link to the blog entry.

    • bonbon

      Don’t tell me you are doing an M.Sc on the “recovery”?

      It is urgent you have a look at this, LaRouche Riemann Eonomics.

      Of course Peer Review might have convulsions, but have Fun!

      Ireland – An Economic Revival Based on Marine Transport, Engineering and Scientific Exploration.

      A serious subject, would’nt you thnk?

      • Voltex

        Nah..my MSc will be in business and mgmt. My thesis is based around business entropy and how organisations respond prescriptively and then descriptively..but theres clear associations with how firms behave and react and national economies.

        A fascinating article you linked and definitely worth further discussion..but maybe I’m too used to reading peer reviewed journal entries, Id like to see some research to back up the assumptions. None the less a very interesting opportunity.

        • bonbon

          Human economy is based on anti-entropy, witness the increase of energy flux-density over millennia and the increase of relative potential population density, and longevity. Firms that use these principles of economics, or rathre firms operating in a healthy anti-entropic economy, have a totally different attitude.

          Now note the attempt to counter this : decreasing energy flux-density, Obama’s health-care to reduce longevity, and the CO2 boys that claim 1 billion is optimal population. This plays out in firms too. The entire outsourcing/offshoring game is entropic, ruining both economies, and witness the green energy bubble, now bursting. The finance funding this is intrinsically opposed to the economics principles I touched upon above, intrinsically opposed to humanity, by being “practical”.

  26. bonbon

    The only thing coming out of Finland is Olli Rehn and Liikanen Light, not beer mind you, rather utterly incompetent “proposals”.

    What has got into DMcW’s bonnet?

    Olli Rehn Admits New EU Law Will Steal Depositor’s Money

    Why the Liikanen bank reforms fall short from FT banking ed.

    Falling short of Glass-Steagall will meaning stealing deposits, after the budget.

    Some here are falling all over the place.

  27. bonbon

    What is going on here : none other than Daily Telegraph finance and economics expert AEP praises Gilmore?

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Europe’s debt crisis credibility hangs on thin Irish thread

    The City speaks!

    • bonbon

      “It is of course a fallacy to claim that Ireland’s ability to survive the poisonous 1930s prescriptions imposed by Brussels proves that austerity “works”, and a second fallacy to claim that Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece can therefore pull off the same feat.”.

      I wonder which 1930s recipe? Hjalmar Schacht austerity maybe? Hitler’s minister and head of the Bank of International Settlements?

      Personally I much prefer FDR’s 1930′s genius, Glass-Steagall and the New Deal, RFC, TVA. AEP could get on board, after all the City’s Financial Times editorializes for this.

  28. Adelaide

    David. Cease and desist.

    “End of the bust as shares hit a five year high”
    Today’s Front Headline on The Independent

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/end-of-the-bust-as-shares-hit-a-five-year-high-29673302.html

    What a relief, the nightmare is over. Phew.

    • Adelaide

      It’s no coincidence that this headline came out a few days after the Budget.

      That’s because it was a brilliant Budget. It’s an obvious connection when you think about it deeply enough.

      Again. Phew. What a relief. Excellent news.

    • bonbon

      “The global outlook is the strongest it has been in five years and now looks more sustainable,” said Dublin-based Investec economist Phillip O’Sullivan.

      Investec? South Africa? Look it up.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi Adelaide,

      I really enjoy your posts. This one is a bit like rr6. I’m sensing very subtle sarcasm. Am I correct? Just curious because I can tell you a surging stock market with gold rising is evidence of inflation. It is in fact one of the last opportunities for bulls to exit. The US is up against the debt ceiling come the end of jan.

      • bonbon

        $85 billion per month printing is hyperinflation. No more evidence needed.

        Sarcasm aside, the US can and must deal with this as FDR did in 1933.

        • Voltex

          The Fed is not just printing this money out of nothing…they are actually buying stuff for the cash!

          • bonbon

            What stuff, may I ask?

          • joe hack

            What stuff, may bonbon ask?

          • cooldude

            I think the mix of assets is $45 billion of mortgage backed securities from the commercial banks (ie pure shite that is not worth half on the open market but allows the banks to keep gambling) and $40 billion on longer dated US treasuries that absolutely nobody wants because China and Russia are trying to get rid of this shite as quick as they can. The former is open monetization of debt which is always a precursor when hyperinflation is not too far away.
            Recovery my arse this is going to get a whole lot worse.

      • Adelaide

        Hi michaelcoughlin.
        Yep, sarcastic. There’s nothing independent about The Independent… Max Keiser keeps saying on his show that when gold reaches $1400 that that’ll be the trigger for the demise of the dollar, as all trading algorithms are set to buy at the $1400 point. Hence the powers-that-be are and will do everything to keep gold below this price point but they’ll ultimately fail, according to MKeiser.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Thanks for that re keiser. He’s not always right. They have a long way to go printing money before the final default.

          Thanks and regards,

          Michael.

          • Voltex

            I have no time for Max Keiser..he a sensationalist. Russia Today is as bad as Fox News.

          • bonbon

            MK reports on the sensational criminality of finance from London to Wall Street. It is beyond mosts’ ken, but see below the sensational fine JPMC must now pay. There is no “neutral”, “value-free” formulation possible for this bestiality.

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            Ol’ Maxy really has a ‘hard on’ for Dimon.. not that he’s the only one gunning for him.

            Maybe he just shouts the loudest is all.

  29. bonbon

    Swiss Author Gian Trepp: Our Anti-Oligarchical Tradition Is the Basis for Glass-Steagall

    From 1291 Switzerland dealt with oligarchy. A very interesting comment :

    “Prof. Mueller says: More regulation for large banks which are active internationally, and less for cantonal banks, which are active nationally. This is wrong, Trepp writes, because it would offer cantonal banks the possibility of turning into speculative banks.”

    • Voltex

      Again from an organisational perspective Id agree with Mueller. Lawrence and Lorsch’s Contingency Theory suggests that at a local level organisational sub-units are best equipped to deal to changes in the business environment..so they should have the ability and authority to act as needs be.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi voltex,

        The world is beyond solving its financial problems with theoretical responses.

        What’s needed is action at the local level even as local as the person themselves.

        Sincerely,

        Michael.

      • bonbon

        Contingency Theory is behavioral economics, often cited by DMcW. “The best way to organize depends on the nature of the environment to which the organization must relate”.

        It looks like Noonan and Enda are “optimizing” Ireland based on the EU contingency. Look at the result. the Budget is a contingency plan.

        What is the error here? Simple – it is taken from animal populations as all behavioral economics is. The result is bestial.

  30. bonbon

    HYPERINFLATION IN STAY-OUT-OF-JAIL CARDS: JPMorgan Chase has just signed a deal with the Justice Department to avoid criminal prosecution for massive mortgage fraud. According to a news flash from Huffington Post, the price tag is $13 billion, including $9 billion in fines and $4 billion in compensation to mortgage holders who were ripped off. Do Obama and Holder really believe the American people are so stupid as to believe that a crime of such magnitude that it warrants a $13 billion penalty does not warrant jail time for Jamie Dimon and other top JPMC execs?

    This is sensational, yes indeed $13 billion is. It is time for the Pecora Commission! And then putting these TBTF’s through Glass-Steagall.

  31. bonbon

    I wonder if Dimon’s Contingency Plan coffers are big enough? The other TBTF’s are sure now in a mad animal scramble to stock their war-chests. Imagine the behavioral scurrying, how they run! What rationality!

    And this after giving Obama marching orders, replying “Yes we Can”.

  32. bonbon

    Many here have noticed the potential of Thorium. CarAdvice did an interview :
    The thorium-powered car: Eight grams, one million miles

    “Limits to Growth” is a pagan religion. We have’nt even begun to use high flux-density energy. Some say Thorium was suppressed as Plutonium was needed for that pagan religion.

  33. bonbon

    Exactly as Obamacare would do and as the new Dutch Royal Self proclaimed recently :

    James Fitzsimons: This Budget is punishing the elderly for living too long – Indo today, quote :

    “ALL eyes to the future, but if you’re elderly and can’t see too far ahead then Michael Noonan’s Budget just hammered another nail into your coffin – maybe the last one.”

    This is now in full swing right across the Transatlantic. It is nothing else than a “useless eaters” policy. It is but a short lurching trot from behavioral economics’ “incentivizing health” to nudge-wink incentivizing short lives.

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