February 27, 2014

If a person's better off on the dole than at work, we have a problem

Posted in Behavioural Economics · 134 comments ·

Sometimes when people write about economics, it is easy to forget that behind every economic statistic is a personal story.

Each sanitised economic figure when shorn of its personal testimony rarely reveals much. That is the point of aggregated data: it serves to dehumanise. But this process misses the central political point, which is that each economic data publication should move us to think about the society we live in because each figure is a father, mother, husband, wife, daughter, brother or sister.

Behind this antiseptic world of economic data are the human stories, perhaps most poignant when we are talking about people who have no work.

In recent weeks I have been getting a lot of emails from people who feel that our welfare system is acting as a disincentive to work. I have been getting emails from people in work and people out of work. I believe this to be a fascinating spot where the welfare system meets the wage structure.

If, as most of the letters suggest, the system is acting as a disincentive to either go back to work or for those in work to work harder, then we have a major problem.

At the same time, I also realise that nothing should more anger someone stuck on benefits through no fault of their own, than a reasonably well-off economist who writes in the paper, complaining about welfare rates. So you are not going to get that here.

Instead, I am going to relate a story, which came in to me from the north-west from an unemployed middle-aged man with children.

Dear David,

I am a 54-year-old sales & marketing executive who has now been out of work for just over four years. I have worked for both multinationals and indigenous firms alike. I have been on benefits for the last four years. My wife works part-time and brings home c €250/wk. (c €13,000 p/a). I am getting the jobseekers allowance for me €173/week and FIS (family income supplement) of €168/week.

I have three teenage kids who have medical cards and we get a bin waiver of around €200/year. One of my daughters is at university and she gets her fees (and registration) paid and has a maintenance grant of some €2,500/yr. Without this, we could not have afforded to send her to university.

My younger son hopes to attend university. I will also claim the grant and same maintenance support for him.

Regarding my mortgage, I have an arrangement with my bank to pay €100/wk off my mortgage until my financial situation improves. At an interest rate of 4.4pc, those payments just about cover the interest and reduce my remaining mortage balance of €89,000 by about €1,200/year.

Now here is the rub – if I were to return to work or take any paying placement job, the family would lose all the university support, all our medical cards, the bin charge waiver, the dole and the FIS. I’ve provided this box calculating what I would lose.

Then of course the bank would demand full monthly payments on the mortgage of about €1,400/month or about €16,800 a year.

So David, I calculate that the cost of returning to work is €45,552 and this is the cash value. In order to earn this amount of disposable income, I would require a salary of between €68,000 – €69,000 and subtract my wife’s €13,000 P/A.

I want to work and I want a job but why would I take a job that ends up with me having less income than I have now and not being able to provide for my family?

The minimum wage is roughly equal to my jobseekers allowance & FIS and I’d prefer to work, but the loss of benefits (third-level grants and medical cards) is the killer.

The system doesn’t work!

We are stuck in a rut with no way out, bar the black economy. There are ways around this impasse, but why should I have to revert to subterfuge, the black market and deceit instead of the Government getting its act together and sorting this mess out?


Can you hear the frustration in this father’s voice? Can you sense the gradual realisation that he is in a financial cul de sac? If he tried to go straight and get a job, he loses so much that he would have to get a very well-paid job for all the sums to add up

And as he remains out of work, he knows that the chances of getting a very well-paid job begin to decrease because people want to employ people who are already in jobs.

On the other hand, he knows that he could do a few ‘nixers’ to supplement his income.

This means working in the black-market, but why should he break the law simply to do the right thing by himself and his family?

Some may argue that this is an isolated case and doesn’t imply a general problem. But that is not what the people who actually run this country – the Department of Finance – actually think.

In 2011, the boffins in Merrion Street did some calculations on this problem.

They divided the gross income when unemployed by the net after-tax income when a person is employed. This is called the replacement ratio. They suggested that anything above 70pc would be a serious disincentive to looking for a job.

Department of Finance figures reveal that – particularly for a couple with children – you would have to earn a massive salary for there to be a clear incentive to drop benefits and go back to work. Indeed, even at twice the average national wage, most people are still in a position where going back to work isn’t that attractive. These figures would tend to back up the suggestion from the letter writer.

I realise there are different interpretations put on these figures, but the letter from a father after four years out of work is indicative of a major problem at the core of our system.

If we choose to carry on as things are, why should he try for a job unless it pays him extremely well? And – another way of looking at things – why would an employer pay these high wages if what is driving up the wages isn’t potential employer productivity but the necessary cushion needed above benefits to make the job attractive?

We can put our heads in the sand because the answers are too awkward but that’s hardly a strategy.



David McWilliams writes daily on international economics and finance at www.globalmacro360.com

Subscribe to receive my news and articles direct to your inbox

  1. Deco

    When a person is better off running a “charity” than running a business, we have a problem.

    When a person is better off becomming a canvasser for a political party, than becomming an engineer, we have a problem.

    When a person is beter off as a retired politician, than as an active participant in the workforce, we have a problem.

    When a person is better off being a garda who keeps their mouth shut to funny goings on, than telling the truth, we have a problem.

    When a person does less work, employed by the HSE, than if they were on the dole, we have a problem.

    When a person spends more time on FAS courses, than actually working, we have a problem.

    When a person qualifies as a nurse, and then does to wrok for Britain’s NHS, we have a problem.

  2. Dorothy Jones

    Excellent letter to David, Deco comments spot on

  3. The guy should take work in the black market if he can get it.

    Who cares about “the law”?

    The laws of this country are drafted to keep the parasitic elite in situ.

    Break the damn law! Laws are there to be broken.

    Corrupt politicians break the law every day and never give it a second thought.

    The government screws its citizens constantly.

    Screw them back until they collapse.

    An eye for an eye.

    The man should take a job in the so-called black economy.

    Live outside their perverted so-called society and don’t lose a minute’s sleep over it.

  4. We are not required to request permission to live from some makey-up ‘government’ of a half-baked fake construct called a ‘nation’.

    • Adelaide

      100% spot on, Adam.

      This gentleman can not think for himself. He’s been conditioned and brainwashed by a defunct 20th century dogma, only when he informs himself of the objective mechanisations of 21st century will he cease writing childish letters and regain control of his life, his mind and his individuality.

      If he is a man-child waiting for the government to lift him out of his rut then Joan Burton will soon rescue him with her recently announced ‘Gateway’ employment activation plan for the long term unemployed. He’ll receive a weekly top-up of e20 to work 20 hours per week for his local county council and should he refuse he’ll be kicked off the dole. Obviously he will be replacing a council employee who was actually earning a viable wage thereby saving the council money in wages. Hang on, this sounds familiar, this is another Jobbridge scheme!! Ah yes, another government nail in the principle of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work at the behest of a Labour minister.

  5. hughsheehy

    In addition, even if earning Euro69000, he’d have to add in the costs of commuting, the costs of feeding himself at or near the office (higher than at home), the costs of getting “respectable clothing”, etc.

    And that’s before we count the fact that he’d also be spending all day away from home and probably incur a bunch of other costs that he could avoid if he was at home. He’d work hard and have NO net benefit at a salary of euro 69k/year. Never mind doing nixers, if he stayed home he could take up a sport or a hobby!

    If you want to see how being on Ireland’s welfare system compares with working in Ireland (or more seriously working in – say – Germany) have a look here. http://www.oecd.org/social/soc/benefitsandwagestax-benefitcalculator.htm

  6. douglaskastle

    OK 2 things.

    One, the gentleman in question does have a point, but the implied solution is that the government is paying him too much, and raising the issue may result in the “Benefits” he is legitimately entitled to being reduced or removed.

    The fact that a person on benefits can pull down an effective worth that someone on ~E69,000, which is probably up in the top 15% earning capacity in the state of a single earner (that is admittedly an educated guess, but I was recently a job hunter in the Irish employment market) is ridiculous.

    The system/state should help people who are struggling and need help in their time of need, but it also should give you enough of a boot up the arse to make you want to go back to work, if you can.

    Second, there is such a short sightedness on the part of taking this first job. Yes, again correct, it would leave him worse off than he is RIGHT NOW. It does however get him back in the system and make him more presentable, CV, networking, etc., and he might be able to iterate himself into a much better situation in a number of years.

    I look at this scenario like going back to college full time for a masters, on the face of it you are not earning for a period of time, but you take that financial pain because you believe your long term gain is worth the short term pain.

    Sadly I have seem this situation up close too often, they feel at that age, there isn’t enough time until they retire at 65, so they try and eek out an existence until whatever pension scheme kicks in, this is another case where our culture has let us down.

    In fairness, I am 40 now, by the time I get to it I am sure retirement age will no longer be 65, try 75/80.

    • hughsheehy

      He MIGHT be able to iterate himself into a better situation in a few years. But RIGHT NOW he has kids in university, etc,. etc., etc.

      I’m not sure it’s fair to accuse the letter-writer of short sightedness.

    • Aimo

      I think the article is more than a little disingenuous in that €12,000 of that money would be going to pay off the mortgage on his house. The guy is, lazily, assuming that the bank would not be willing to meet him midway on increasing his mortgage payments.

      So there is some silliness here, first, we have a guy sitting on a presumably €200,000+ asset who is getting social support from the government. He is actually using his dole money to slowly pay off his mortgage for crying out loud, how ridiculous is that.

      Also putting forward a father of six as a typical Irish person is silly. Most people on the dole are like myself, a single person, renting a room in a house, getting a total of €236 a week for the dole. After bills, rent, etc are paid I have about €80 a week to live on, hardly the life of riley. So lets see, what salary would I need to be earning to double my disposable weekly funds (assuming you can even call that disposable since it pretty much all goes on basics like food).

      So to have an extra €80 a week, which would make an immesurable improvement in my standard living I would need to be earning about €316 * 52 = €16,432 after tax. Working full time, on minimum wage nets a salary of €17,992 euro per year which would leave me with €329 euro per week to spend, or take the amount of money I have left after bills from €80 to €173 euro.

      This story is silly, this guys problem isn’t that he is unemployed, it is that he has a family of eight and a mortgage.

  7. douglaskastle

    You’re right, I don’t know the specific letter writers case, and maybe it is wholly untenable in his case, however DavidMc did present his case as an example of a greater problem with the system and there are many other people in this situation.

    But there are solutions, I returned from Australia recently after 12 years, it is not unusual for students there to wear the cost of being university educated, sometimes well into their 30s (HECs loans and all that). It is noble to want to put your kids through college by yourself, but it is not the only way, some time you got to front up and say this situation is not working and changes need to happen

    The tone of the content is, the situation it too hard, so I’ll do nothing. The situation should be that trying any thing should be better than trying nothing, it shouldn’t be a Simpsons episode.

  8. kinsele2

    I am in full time employment for the last 10 years (mid 30′s) and feel equally frustrated. I recently got a €2000 per annum wage increase, which in the current environment for employers who need to source their income from the real economy of people who want to buy things other people create (in a company with about 100 employees) is a pretty large increase.
    Before tax, this is about €167, after tax, it’s about €77. My wage is reasonably above the national average, so I qualify for almost no benefits. I looked into getting a mortgage at the end of last year, and the sums look something like €200,000 mortgage, for a house which looks identical to the one my brother bought for £70,000 in the late 90′s. By the end of this loan, I will have given the bank, in cash after tax, about €165,000.
    My wife doesn’t work, so for me to consider buying a home would leave us with disposable income per week of about €300 (€47k salary). This is before we have had any children that want to go to university and have medical expenses etc., again where we will not qualify for benefits.
    I’m looking at emigrating later this year, because I simply won’t sign up to working for the bank, after I’ve already helped for my part with bailing them out through heavy taxation, and will contribute a lottery amount of money for an individual to their profits, to receive an automated letter in 20 years time after I’ve missed 3 consecutive payments that I may be kicked out of my own home.
    I won’t qualify for another raise for probably about 18 months from now, but even when this time comes, I don’t think the extra €60 euro this will give (assuming further tax increases) will much change any of this.
    I’ve no idea if it’s better elsewhere, but I’m damn sure I’m going to try. I’m completely disillusioned with the Ireland of today, and while there seem to be plenty of sensible voices around, nothing looks like drastically changing to me.

    • Good luck on your travels man. There’s a world of adventure out there.

      • ps200306

        Adam, do you not see a slight dichotomy in your recommendations to the guy in David’s letter, and the ones above. On the one hand, Benefits Guy should keep taking the money and also work nixers. On the other, PAYE Guy should emigrate and enjoy working somewhere that you can afford housing and don’t get screwed by tax. The two are not unrelated you know.

        • The guy in David’s letter shows no inclination to leave Ireland.

          I was wishing the chap on the forum good luck on his travels. If he changes his mind and wants to stay, then that’s his business.

          If he stays, I suggest that he also finds ways to rip off the state because that is what the state is doing to him.

          Personally I’d recommend everyone to live and work overseas for at least a short period of time.

          I don’t see a dichotomy at all – in fact the statements are complimentary, notwithstanding the fact that the second one was a mere ‘bon voyage’.

          Besides, if I DID want to produce a dichotomy, I could – that’s also my right. As is the right to change my mind in the blink of an eye.

          • ps200306

            I don’t think you’re getting it. The guy on benefits is able to get them only because that money comes from taxation on other people. You’re also recommending that people cheat on their taxes or emigrate to where conditions are better. If nobody pays taxes, nobody can be on benefits. It’s a simple zero sum.

            I also disagree with your “socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor” theory. I’ve been pretty well off, but I can assure you I paid “capitalist taxes” commensurate with my pay. In fact, when I earned seven times the national average pay, I paid twenty times the national average tax, such is the progressiveness of our system.

          • jeeaaan

            Totally disagree with you.I have lived abroad for many years and am back here being screwed by the penal tax system also.However instead of repeating over and over why it is better to screw the system,do you not agree WORK gives one a sense of feel good factor including mental health.
            Perhaps the guy who wrote to David needs to stop flying in the face of the taxpayer and get back to work.Indeed it is ironic the coping working classes are
            just that while in most parts multiple benefits going into a house make those the new wealth in Ireland relaxed no worries and guaranteed pay dates.Joan Burton should resign with immediate effect.This is where the problem lies.She is causing annomalies in the whole system and has proved she is inept at her job.However bad the situation is there is alot to be said for going to work every day ,even as the majority of workers have suffered slash and burn.Work is good for everyone,I personally despise people talking about entitlements and benefits,same people never out od doctors surgery.

          • I work, I study, I don’t claim benefits, I’m just saying what I WOULD do if I was in that guy’s position, not that I ever would be.

            I WOULD work but I wouldn’t let my family go short just to pay Enda Kenny’s salary.

          • The system is a crock of shit.

        • Of course I would like a society where tax is fair and people who need help get it. That’s how I strive to behave in my private life.

          And I’m sure you paid your taxes etc. The socialism for the rich quip refers to large corporations and banks etc. who continuously rip off people on a gigantic scale but rarely get punished for their errors.

          My point is the society that we live in at the moment is corrupt to the bone so I don’t see the point of playing by the rules that they want you to adhere to so that they can keep robbing you blind.

  9. DarraghD

    A depressing and sobering read this morning & Deco & Adam on the money as usual. It’s a sad reality that as David has mentioned before, we have completely wasted a good crisis, and 6 years into this whole sorry mess, it makes more sense for someone to stay on the dole than to take paid work. And what is the answer to all of this, I dunno…

    Deco couldn’t have put it any better, it isn’t just when someone who is on the dole, is very considerably better off than someone who is working, I’d add to that list, that when a minority of protected insiders are living under the cover of not one but two pay agreements that has protected core pay and protected all within from any redundancy that they have not volunteered for, while the majority who pay for these luxuries via the taxation system, are being bled fúcking dry and shaken for every last cent that they have, then we have a problem.

  10. What I find strange here is that there doesn’t seem to be any moral standpoint in that guy’s thinking. I know of many people who have never ever taken state benefits because the only reason they were implemented historically was for the needy. Everybody can fall on hard times so even those people might put out their hand in the worst case situation but that man should realize that getting money for nothing can never ever be equated with working. The economic equation does not make sense unless you factor morality into the equation. The social contract is that you don’t bludgeon the system. Of course there are always those who will freeload just like there are idiots who smash up bus shelters but the majority should regard benefits as aomething you reach for in desperation.
    If the consensus here is that the social contract no longer exists then you are into an amoral, nihilistic paradigm where nobody does anything for the common good, that is what happens when it all falls apart.

    • He probably paid taxes through his nose for years (as did his ancestors no doubt) which paid for Charlie Haughey’s shirts and Bertie’s dig outs.

      So I wouldn’t say he’s getting money for nothing.

      Until your so-called leaders behave legally and morally there’s no requirement for any of you to behave the same way.

      I’m not speaking for myself here because they’ll never be MY leaders even if they ascend to heaven on a golden chariot but I’m just making the point (and taking the liberty to say) that the people lower down in society who still follow the rules… shouldn’t.

      • The elites pissed on the social contract decades ago.

        Maybe even centuries ago.

        It most likely never existed in their minds in the first place.

        The social contract, like taxes, is for little people.

        Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.

        The elites would use every dirty trick in the book to rob you of your last penny.

        You should do the same back to them.

        • ps200306

          The only people you’ll be robbing are your fellow citizens.

        • That’s just not true. It’s got nothing to do with socialism or capitalism. You live in a country and you pay ‘rent’ in the form of taxes. You get schooling, roads, defence, stability. If you get benefits you are no longer paying your rent, you are taking from the collective resources. That is fair enough if you have no other option but this guy is willfully choosing to foresake contributing so that he can take advantage of other people’s contributions.
          There are always people who exploit the good will of others, if you have ever been involved in any club you will see this in microcosm where profiteers take advantage of volunteers. This is painful but you have to accept this and it is okay as long as profiteers are not in the ascendancy. If the profiteers suck the organization dry it dies just like any organism.
          You are saying that we all should be parasites but biology dictates that there must be a host. Your distinction between small people and big people is irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things. To go back to the club example there are always plenty of time rich people who do nothing volunarily. If we all based ourt behaviour on them we would have no civil society.

          • We DON’T have a civil society. Look around, we have a kleptocracy or a kakistocracy. That’s my point.

          • ps200306

            The misdoings of the Bertie Ahernes of this world amount to a very small level of “tax” on each of the 4.5 million citizens of the country. The behaviour of all of the citizens together has a very big impact on the collective good due to the weight of numbers. I’ve come across plenty of people trotting out the line that the rich feed off the poor — usually they’re not especially “poor” and it’s a pathetic excuse for freeloading off the rest of us. Frankly I think encouraging people to sponge off the state and not pay their due taxes is despicable. I’ve always paid every cent of my taxes, sometimes while working with others who didn’t, and their arguments were very much like yours.

          • The idea that a country that has brought forth the GAA has no civil society is laughable. Maybe read a book like “The Club” by Christy O’Connor or “Ireland’s Professional Amateurs” by Andy Mendlowitz just to put it into perspective. Both Irish state entities may have failed in many ways but maybe try to see some good in Ireland as a nation, the glass is not empty you know.

          • I’d rather not, sport is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

            A child’s pastime.

          • ‘I’d rather not, sport is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. A child’s pastime.’

            Well, it’s a philosophical point but if a human is to ‘mean’ anything in life then one could argue that sport is in many ways a ‘meaning making’ channel along with many other creative vehicles. To create beauty in sport or art, no matter how fleeting, can ‘mean’ a lot more in a life than all of the hours one spends at school or work or elsewhere in the machine.

            As a father of three gymnasts I can say that I am proud to have witnessed performances they have co-created with their choreographer, making something exist that did not exist before. If a life has a meaning then creating moments of original beauty seems to me to be a pretty fundamental thing rather than merely a child’s pastime.

          • Good luck to your little gymnasts oranje68.

            I also have a little girl about to get involved in gymnastics and it’s great.

            I played professional soccer for a few years and still play at a high standard at over 35s level.

            Sport is great to participate in for many reasons: my point was merely that there are many more important things in life.

  11. ps200306

    It’s quite simple really. Just stop looking at these anomalous cases in isolation. For every guy on benefits complaining that it’s not worth his while returning to work, there’s someone else complaining that it’s not worth their while staying in work. If enough of the latter emigrate or otherwise stop working, then the former will find that their problem is quite simply solved — there won’t be enough in the kitty to pay them any more, and they will have to either work or starve. (Although, that’s a bit of hyperbole, since someone with all student fees and medical expenses covered is a long way from starving).

    The disincentive to work cuts both ways. The year before last I paid over a hundred thousand in income taxes. Last year I paid zero. Basically, I got fed up working to pay for Benefit Guy’s kids’ college fees when I have better things to do myself.

    • Colin

      ‘ there won’t be enough in the kitty to pay them any more, and they will have to either work or starve.’

      Wrong! The kitty is bottomless. It is worth about €20bn each year (it’s called the deficit). It helps us pay our overpaid public servants, pay for children’s allowance to rich Daddies and Mammies, keep CRC & REHAB in business, keep the quangos ticking over, throw money in aid to corrupt African governments etc…..

      If some PAYE workers emigrate and less tax is taken in by the state by income and stealth and VAT, the state will simply go to the markets and borrow €21bn, or €22bn or €23bn (no problem sir, have some more).

      In summary, we do not run a balanced budget and therefore anything goes.

      • ps200306

        Where are you getting your deficit numbers? They haven’t been that high since 2011 and they’re falling rapidly.

        • Colin

          Key results for the 2009-2012 period include:

          The General Government Deficit for Ireland was €12,461 million in 2012 (7.6% of GDP), showing a decrease from the 2009 level of €22,368 million (13.9% of GDP).
          General Government Debt rose over the same period from €104,544 million in 2009 (64.8% of GDP) to €192,461 million (117.6% of GDP) by end 2012.


          Yes, you are absolutely right, we do not borrow €22,368,000,000 each year anymore (like we did in 2009 – all of 5 years ago) to meet the welfare bill and public sector wage bill and so on and so forth……

          So, we’ve raided the kitty to the tune of €192,461,000,000 so far, and we continue to raid the kitty……and you’re worried about the kitty running out????

          Looks to me like the kitty has no limits.

          • ps200306

            The fact that €192 billion is a big number doesn’t make the kitty limitless. You need to look at the trajectory of the total debt, and thus the ongoing deficit. Why is the deficit falling? Because our creditors will not continue to prop up government largesse that spends from money it doesn’t have. Have we already forgotten why the troika was in town for the last several years?

          • Colin

            Not limitless?

            ok…. What’s the limit then?

          • ps200306

            If I remember right, it’s five per cent of GDP this year, and three per cent next year. Or that, at least, is the plan. Without some growth to start us on the road of reducing the debt burden, you will soon see just how finite it is.

          • Colin

            In other words, it is Limitless.

            Or does it stop at say €210,000,000,000?

            No? How about € 220,000,000,000?

            No? How about € 230,000,000,000?

            You don’t know the limit do you ps200306? If you do, please spell it out. if you can’t, it means it’s Limitless aka a bottomless kitty.

          • ps200306

            Your argument doesn’t make sense. How does my not knowing an exact figure mean that the kitty is limitless? Nobody knows the exact figure — the sustainability of the debt depends on many factors: our rate of growth, the cost of borrowing and the willingness of creditors to lend. In other words, it is the job of those running the country to manage the ongoing situation. That in no way implies a limitless kitty. The simple fact that we don’t print our own currency is all the evidence needed that the opposite is the case.

          • Colin

            ‘Nobody knows the exact figure’

            -Correct, that’s why it is limitless. Has the penny dropped yet?

          • ps200306

            Ok, let’s use your logic as follows. You want to know how much you can afford to spend on your annual holidays. You have an income of x which is subject to annual review and may go up or down. You also have a variable rate mortgage on your house at r%. How much will you be able to spend on your holidays in 2015? Clearly you don’t know what x is going to be, nor do you know what r% is going to be. So you don’t know in advance how much is going to be in the holiday kitty. By your logic, therefore the kitty is limitless. Tell, you what, try spending an unlimited amount on next year’s holidays and see how that works out for you.

          • ps200306

            It must be great having such a level of certainty that us mere mortals in the real world can never hope to attain. Let me guess where you’re going on the holliers … Mount Olympus?

        • Colin

          I’ll be spending €1500 on my next holiday. That’s my limit. Not a penny more, not a penny less. You see, I do not have a bottomless kitty, so I act accordingly while you fudge around with equations and what not.

          • Colin

            When the kitty isn’t bottomless, you have to be certain, as mr micawber famously said, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

            But when the kitty is bottomless, you can do what the hell you like, including visiting Mount Olympus and spend like there’s no tomorrow while you are there.

          • ps200306

            If you read Dickens, rather than just quoting his famous bits, you’ll see that in the previous paragraph Mr. Micawber bewails the fact that his father in law handed over his daughter without knowing the limit of his ability to pay for a wedding. Did that mean there was no limit? No, as Mr. Micawber said, he was “forever floored” by it. As we will be, if we go around imagining the kitty is limitless.

  12. Wasn’t there a time when kids used to work in the summer to pay for college? Is it so bad that his kid might have to spend a summer working some crap job.

  13. In the 80 and early 90s there were no jobs in Ireland so we all went t’Ingland or to the States or to Germany. There are lots of jobs for anybody who can be arsed looking.

  14. mogrady14

    Its lazy to say people don’t want to work as they are better off on the dole. Too many people looking for too few jobs.

    Healthcare: Most of the doctors/nurses/cleaners in Dublin hospitals are non-EU. No jobs here.
    Retail: few Irish hired in chain stores
    Civil Service is not hiring.
    Cleaning jobs (do they pay minimum wage?)
    Teaching jobs – are not hiring, only occasionally
    Quangos- you need pull to get in there

    Why does nobody mention the above?

  15. I was talking about students, there are tonnes of jobs for anybody willing to travel. I know this because I live in a country that has hundreds of thousands of unfilled vacancies.

  16. AnChlairAbu

    Can’t quite believe what I’m reading. I earn considerably less than this man ever did or effectively lives on now, I have 3 kids and still the Irish sense of ‘entitlement’ staggers me. Yes I’m from abroad. And yes the Irish state handed me a lot more when I was made redundant than when I lived in the U.K. I was grateful. And the back-to-work scheme got me on my feet again. It’s way more than I would’ve got over the water. Particularly as when I couldn’t work (due to injury as a self-employed worker) in England, where after paying tax for 15 years I was ‘entitled’ to zip. Less than a year on the PAYE here and I was handed 1500 rent allowance and 500 quid a week. Not much less than my wages then, let alone compared to current market rates. However, what always strikes me when I see this kind of whining is the huge levels of mortgage debt people carry in this country and yet the home seems so sacred it can’t be re-possessed and let the market prices realign swiftly to adjust. I appreciate the Irish sense of home and the country’s history of emigration and the general culture of family is stronger than elsewhere, but, even in the Tiger years, I simply never stretched to borrow money I knew I might no be able to afford to re-pay if the schlurry hit the fan. 1400 quid a month this man is supposed to pay. That’s insane. Now I’m earning less than 30 large a year, (wife is not working or claiming) and we’re still saving money to buy but can I afford anything in my budget that’d entail a monthly payment similar to my current rent of 500 a month? Not a hope. We want a house for around 120 grand and are there any anywhere? Because people like this are still in their massive greedy tiger homes on interest-only arrears deals and so the market’s distorted. There should be homes for 2 times the national avg. income for crying out loud. People are still trapped by liquidity and the banks are gambling on seeing a situation out that isn’t going to see an end-game for some time due to their lack of teeth to go and claim them back and get the market moving with bargains. How can a man of his age, who presumably bought a house earlier in life be paying what’s effectively, I’m guessing, 150 grand of debt? People are complaining of being forced to live frugally, yet those of us who have no debt, no family capital or land gifted to us, low single incomes and who scrimp and save are shut out because the Irish banks, once again, have no steel. Shocking. I can see the Greeks overtaking at this stage. I pity my children who’ll pay for this mess.

    • Colin

      The perverted Irish banksters are in cahoots with the perverted Irish government to do all they can to meddle in the property market, to artificially assist in making property more expensive than it really should be.

      It’s a rigged market. That’s why high rent supplement payments are still paid by the state to private landlords via the tenant. That’s why banks don’t repossess property unless they really have to. It’s why rents remain high for tenants. It’s why NAMA was set up.

      They can’t and wont face the music.

      • Exactly Colin, like I said before, the whole set-up is a gigantic scam.

        Some people don’t believe that though, they actually think we have a functioning ‘society’ with these things called tax-paying ‘citizens’ who actually have ‘rights’.

        The only right that’s upheld is that of the corrupt polticians, banks and corporations (and even the ‘charities’) to screw everyone else sideways.

        This is a failed state. 100 years has proved it.

      • ps200306

        I agree with you Colin, the reason I don’t call it a scam like Adam is that there’s no big secret conspiracy involved. We took a punt on bailing out the banks, without first realising (or properly checking, due to utter incompetence) that they were irreparably holed below the water line. We are now living with the consequences of that fateful decision made in 2008 (with a little encouragement by our blog host here). You could certainly argue (and feel free to go ahead and do it) for biting the bullet at this late stage, but of course it is much too late to burn any bondholders. Instead we would be defaulting on our sovereign debt, of which our banks are major holders courtesy of ECB money — it has been Draghi policy to link the fate of the banks and the sovereign. The consequences would be the destruction of the remaining banks, loss of all deposits, and the closure to us of international and domestic credit markets. You think things are bad now? — you ain’t seen nothing yet.

        • Colin

          What’s this ‘we’ business? I didn’t take no punt. Corrupt and gormless politicians took the punt, and left you holding the baby, while they protected their perks, pensions and whatnot. I don’t remember no referendum asking for my input.

          Come out of the fog!

          • ps200306

            The perks and pensions of politicians may be extravagant but they are not the cause of our woes. There simply aren’t enough politicians for that to be the case.

            Our problems started long before 2008, when a merry alliance of populist politicians, greedy bankers, and the more-than-willing PEOPLE OF IRELAND created the biggest property bubble in the history of the planet. It’s as simple as that. We did it to ourselves.

            And yes, I use the word “we” because enough of us — numbered at least in the hundreds of thousands if not millions — actively colluded, acquiesced, or stood idly by as our putative “economic miracle” unfolded. The massive expansion of credit didn’t happen without the people all around you taking on the debt we are now paying back — did you not notice it happening? Where are all the people now who partook in it? All busy pretending it was nothing to do with them, is where. All refusing to acknowledge the effects of their collective delusion. We didn’t all party (I certainly didn’t) but neither can we get away with finger pointing at easy targets like banks and politicians.

            And by the way, we don’t *do* referendums on every public decision in this country. Try not voting for a bunch of useless incompetents next time round, or put yourself forward if you can’t find anyone else. You’ll probably find that they people of this country vote for their short term vested interest, just like they did the last several times … and will still whinge about what they ended up with.

          • Colin

            You’ll find most of us did not party during the boom years or ‘go mad’ as Indakinny said. I studied as a mature student in the tiger years, and I am now using my skills abroad through no choice of my own.

            You want to take the wrap – fine, go the extra mile and hand over more of your money to the state and re-write your will to leave the state everything (the mandarins would be grateful for every bit of help sir). maybe you did party, maybe you feel guilty, maybe everyone in the circles you moved in partied. It ain’t my debt.

            But you keep holding the baby there mate.

          • Colin

            Or else you have a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome, you could go and get yourself checked out for it.

          • ps200306

            I’d love to know who you think borrowed the money that increased the liabilities of the banks to 200% of GDP? Was it a €300 billion “digout” for Bertie? If so, how come the country enthusiastically reelected him in 2007?

          • I wasn’t here, was in the Caribbean 1999 – 2009.

            Lived in an ACTUAL Banana Republic that was run better than this place – ‘this kip’ – to quote a wise man.

            Before that I was in Hungary 1993 – 1999.

            That place was corrupt but was still run better than here.

            Even if I had been here I would’t have taken out a scam loan from a scam bank to buy an overpriced property.

            Everyone in this ‘place’ has been robbed blind by your “merry alliance of populist politicians, greedy bankers, and the more-than-willing PEOPLE OF IRELAND” ps200306.

            Doesn’t make a difference whether or not you vote – that’s all part of the scam.

            A man has to be able to stand on his own two feet and make his own way in the world.

            Whatever the scammers do doesn’t make a blind bit of a difference to me. I only comment on these things because I see weak and unfortunate people getting SCAMMED each and every day.

            Personally I’d survive on the face of Planet Mars selling red sand to the locals.

          • As George Carlin says:

            “They want your retirement money, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall St.”

            And you are on here ps200306 urging people to pay their taxes?

            You have to be having a laugh mate, they’ll still be robbing you after you are dead.

            Pay your taxes my ass.

        • No, I don’t think it’s a conspiracy either ps200306. It’s just human nature. We are fighting hard to change that but it will take time. Some places in the world are ahead of Ireland, many behind.

          • Utter incompetence indeed and a large dose of corruption.

            David advised them to guarantee the banks for a limited period of time only so as to avoid a bank run. Then the insolvent ones should have been wound down in an orderly fashion. That didn’t happen.

            Instead, the incompetent Comical Lenny went on a solo run and sold you all up the swanny.

          • Well of course in reality, Comical Lenny made these decisions collectively with his (also incompetent) cabinet colleagues.

            However, he was the Minister of Finance (which he had no qualification or comptetence to be) so the buck stops with him, or should have.

            Instead of a limited guarantee as suggested by David, he decided to implement the guarantee ‘sine fine’.

          • ps200306

            No argument from me there, Adam. There is legitimate debate (e.g. http://www.forbes.com/sites/karlwhelan/2013/10/07/irelands-blanket-guarantee-supporters-still-wrong-after-all-these-years/ ) about how much we would have saved with a more limited guarantee, however, I agree — Lenny decided he could bluff his way through the problems without the competence or adequate external advice on how to assess the actual state of the banks.

    • Joe R

      Simply a great post!

  17. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    You chickend out at the end. Do we cut the benefits or don’t we? You included before but omitted on this occasion to mention the enormous BENEFITS being handed to the BANKS AFTER they fu*k&d up royally.

    You also forgot to mention the cost of living and the real inflation rate which I feel are necessary to create a more balanced context.

    Ireland is like Cuba David. Our country depends on transfers from abroad.The private GDP is something to be controlled so it dosent get out from under the control of the politbureau.

    • baffled

      for a single person in Uk on the dole 77 per week and its 187 in Ireland

      the currency diff isnt that much

      no question that the benefits will b cut.u dont have to ask they will slash and burn benefits to feed our overlord banks instead

      a 1 tonne flea or a 1 kg dog remeber?

  18. new

    “The minimum wage is roughly equal to my jobseekers allowance & FIS and I’d prefer to work, but the loss of benefits (third-level grants and medical cards) is the killer.”

    With all due respect to the gentleman involved, is this correct?

    By my (admittedly rough) calculations he could get a minimum wage job (€8.65 X40 X52 = €17992 Gross, weekly net income approx €329 similar as he says to his current benefit payments) and he would still qualify for a small amount of FIS which would mean that his overall weekly net income would be the same or a bit more.

    He would still qualify for the full maintenance grant & student contribution for his daughter and subsequent children which has a basic gross income limit for a family his size of almost €40,000, social welfare benefits such as children’s allowance are not counted for the means assessment so he would be well under this threshold.

    He would also still definitely qualify for the medical card for 3 years as he has been out of work for more than one year and he might still qualify for it after that when his allowable expenses on mortgage childcare etc. are calculated or if someone in the family has a serious illness.

    He will also still get benefits like back to school allowance and child benefit x3 which would be €4680 p.a

    What am i missing here?

    • ps200306

      Well, one of the big things you’re missing is the man’s arrangement with his bank. He’s paying interest only on his mortgage, and seems to consider it the State’s — or any potential employer’s — responsibility to recompense him for having to hand over his originally agreed repayments to the bank. He doesn’t see any value to himself in paying off his mortgage in less than 75 years, long after he’ll have stopped worrying about it. Reading between the lines, his property isn’t worth what he originally paid for it, so there will be no retirement nest egg from paying off the mortgage and downsizing. In other words, his “investment” has gone sour, and he’d prefer to string out the bank as long as possible so that they, rather than he, take the hit of the borrowing cost. (And depending on the bank involved, it’s probably the tax payer taking the hit — again).

      • rcly123

        Hmmnn… I’m not sure the Bank is being so naive – he seems to be paying €100 p.w or €5200 p.a, which is only paying mostly the interest on his Mortgage.
        Suppose he lives to 74, meaning 20years, is he not paying €100,000 to the bank over this time where he will still have a substantial part of the €89,000 principle to pay after that?
        That is, he has the impression of owning the house – but the bank is now just his landlord, and he has forsaken ownership.
        (I know very little about Mortgage’s etc. but the sceptic in me is curious as to whether the arrangement that the ostensibly magnanimous Bank has allowed him – includes a clause whereby in the event of the mortgage not being paid-off before the man dies – could result in the Bank owning the property?)

        • ps200306

          Just noticed this. Absolutely, the bank is not naïve (see my post at bottom). This is a cosy arrangement that suits both borrower and lender — the borrower gets to stay in the house and not be foreclosed upon, the lender avoids realising a loss they can’t afford to have on the balance sheet (*yet*). This way the bank can avoid a write down, while keeping the option to foreclose at any stage in the future. Meanwhile, our economy scrapes along the bottom with the millstone of zombie lenders around its neck, and a housing supply shortage caused by the above cosy arrangement being repeated tens of thousands of times over.

    • Cuzao

      Nothing – it is a another dud letter like the one from a week ago about CAB and fictitious quotes from equally fictitious officals in fictious bureaus from the “Department of Social Welfare´´ (sic).

      Note to David McWilliams & Sidekick; it is called the Department of Social Protection.

    • CorkRob

      Doesn’t Child Benefit now end at 18 ? That would mean nothing (€0) for his eldest two kids ! So (€130 x 12) & 3 x €250 = €2310, NOT €4860 !!!!
      The €2500 Maintenance Grant for his daughter (& his son next year) is (I assume) because he is on the dole – it’s half that otherwise. No such thing as Free Education !!
      You want someone in his family to get seriously ill so he can keep his medical card ? That’s a bit harsh !

  19. pauloriain

    Personally never taken welfare….. even though I’ve spent time out of work and can’t understand how anyone can say it’s a valid choice over working.

    What’s never discussed is the money the letter writer is receiving and has been receiving from the exchequer, some of it, and at one stage up to 40% of it was borrowed money. This man in the letter…… this scumbag thinks it’s ok to choose to stay on welfare taking borrowed money, instead of going out to work. Some people just don’t get it, welfare is not a lifestyle choice, it’s there as a safety net. It’s obvious the system is stupid, this guy just shouldn’t be receiving so much.

  20. Reality Check

    In Ireland you are either the scammer or the scammed.

    And the PAYE private sector bod getting fleeced for over 50% of his/her income for doing a 40 plus hour week is the biggest “mark” there is.

    We badly need a Taxpayers’ Union.

    • Well said Reality Check but you are wasting your breath.

      There’s a load of good little boys on this thread today who are determined to keep paying their taxes while Enda and his ilk shaft them sideways – as has been the case since the foundation of this so-called ‘state’.

      That’s why things will never change. Sure they might even give Enda another chance at the next election. Sure doesn’t he mean well after all?


      • ps200306

        I’ve no problem with a tax payer’s union as a voice at the political negotiating table, in fact I’d be strongly in favour of it. I *do* have a big problem with people committing or advocating criminal acts because they personally and unilaterally have decided their taxes are too high. If I was aware of such acts, I’d shop them to the Revenue quicker than you could say “P60″.

  21. I have never been out of work, but I would say the best solution is to pay the ordinary and low paid workers more by reducing the wages of the very high paid and get rid of their corporate welfare schemes.

    Social welfare is not the problem, corporate welfare is the big problem

    Get rid of the fat cats.

    • Yep, Marx’s Theory of Surplus Value. Bang on.

      • The workers are robbed blind by their bosses and government taxes that go to corrupt politicians.

        Pay them a decent wage for their hard labour and they’ll spend more, dragging even the laziest in society into the workforce.

        • Reality Check

          The simple truth Adam, the simple truth.

        • ps200306

          Adam, this is ridiculous simpering populist nonsense. 40% of the tax bill goes on welfare alone. 27% goes on health, and 16% on education. That’s 83% accounted for right there. Add on policing, defence, and agriculture spending and you are up at 91%. There is just 9% to cover everything else. (Source: http://www.publicpolicy.ie/irelands-current-fiscal-profile/ ).

          Where’s this giant kleptocracy you speak of? What percentage goes on “corrupt politicians”? Please provide some evidence with your answer — it’s not true “just cos you say so”.

          • I stand corrected, it’s a great little country.

            I’ll keep voting for Fine Gael and paying my taxes.

            In Enda we trust.

          • I’ll say anything, just PLEASE DON’T SHOP ME TO THE FEDS!

            I’m flagellating myself over here –

            “Pay your taxes, Pay your taxes!”

            But, seriously, you have your view, I have mine, they are miles apart. We can agree to disagree and leave it at that.

            I don’t care about states and nations and citizens and taxes and parliaments and official reports and taoisigh etc. – to me they are all fake constructs.

            You can believe them if you like and good luck to you. Night.

          • ps200306

            Correction — I have my view and I provided stats to support it. You have your view, and provided nothing in the way of evidence. You say you think that “states and nations and citizens and taxes” are all fake constructs. Tell me this — do you believe in educating your children, in health care, in looking after the vulnerable, in a common good, in society, and basically in civilisation? It sounds like you don’t.

            It’s ironic, because from your posts it seems you have children to educate and care for. I’ve got no dependants, and can afford to go and buy my own health care in any country I want to. I could certainly get away with not giving a rat’s ass what happens to this sodden little Atlantic pebble. However, I care a bit more for it than that.

          • Peter Brown just gave a little 2/3 minute comment on Vincent Browne now, check it out on TV3 Player if you get a chance. A good view of how capitalism should be, not the entitlement culture he’s talking about. “Huge salaries and capitalism without the result”. He’s referring to the Rehab situation.

            The ‘civilization’ and ‘society’ that we live in is totally warped. I don’t have time to give you stats as I have my own work to get back to right now. Read ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism’ by David Harvey or ‘The Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Klein. Or many other books, there are stats in there if you want them. The citizens of most countries exist to be milked by a small sliver at the top of the pyramid. That’s my view through experience and the insights of others far more educated than me. The whole thing is nothing more than a gigantic scam.

            My one and only daughter is well looked after, thanks. And I can take care of myself too. Don’t need an employer or social welfare. I’m a man – I stand on my own two feet. Night. Really have to get back to work.

          • michaelcoughlan

            hi adam,

            What service do you provide? Just curious. Also what’s the story now with bitcoin after the mtgox debacle?


          • ps200306

            Will take a look at Vinnie B. The only question with the Rehab situation is whether yer wan is worth the money she’s getting paid, in terms of value to the enterprise. Seems decidedly unlikely to me, although I’m prepared to stand corrected.

            Naomi Klein? Say no more. A typical leftie Canadian child of classic Jewish leftie (sometimes hippie) parents and Communist grandparents. I have little sympathy for her views. (For the hopefully unnecessary record, I have no problem whatever with Judaism or Jewishness).

          • Can’t say on here Michael, the Feds are watching!

            Mt. Gox was a shambles, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. Most serious players were impatient for it to move aside and are glad it has finally done so.

            People have lost money it in though which is unfortunate for them. I can’t understand why anyone would use them in the first place. I saw about a year ago that they were a business to be avoided.

            I don’t expect Gox’s downfall to have any medium or short term impact on Bitcoin.

            That being said, no one can see the future and I’m not as goldbuggish about Bitcoin as the goldbugs are about gold.

          • ‘medium or long-term’ I mean, sorry.

          • Cuzao

            David McWilliams – privilege, like respect is a two way thing.

            Cowardly censorship from a host to an invited guest like the example above, I most thoroughly disdain. I will point out to you that your basic character is in on view and in question here.

  22. back to basics

    David,its the case of “benefit creep meets wage shrink” A pity Ireland did not heed your warnings on the bubble housing market.A pity now that world leaders -especially the US, FED,and GB- and economists, did not heed the Bill Still documentary of 1996 WARNING of the fall of the rotten international financial system.I agree with Colin that there is never a shortage of money.War and natural disasters like our floods, can magic up millions (no money though for carers,disabled or homeless)but this is not debt free money.This money is borrowed with interest and more borrowed to pay the interest and principal of 5 or ten yrs previous.This is the racket that has gone on and is going on. But the “house of cards” is due to topple shortly.Have pity for David trying to advise clients on “Global Macro 360″.

  23. rcly123

    I wonder if we are all missing a very nice example of the Economics of incentives and Government policy at play here…

    I know it’s a different way of looking at the “problem” the article is putting forward for discussion, but until now, I at least had never considered that a Government introduction of College fees, could have the effect of causing a rise in the society’s long-term unemployed.

    Let me explain… the man perceives that being unemployed has a value of ((Registration-fees + Maintenance=grant) * children ); alternatively, that there is an equal “cost” to return to work.

    Now, if there were no registration fees, the equation’s overall value would be significantly reduced; the man may be factoring in ~€2K per child for fees. (There are further policy options that could eliminate the Maintenance-grant benefit in the equation but I won’t pursue them here)

    This is an alternative way of looking at the “problem”… i.e. that the Working person is being penalized for working, rather than the unemployed person being seen as in receipt of over generous welfare support.
    If you are working and paying your taxes, should the Government not put those taxes to use to provide you (/your children) with the option of College Education? If you are a young-adult hoping to get a College Education, should you be significantly disadvantaged in your aim in the case where a parent of yours become unemployed? These are, as I see it, societal choices.

    The point is this: the Government policy of introducing fees is having an effect which the case-in-point highlights… if there were no fees, the man in question would probably not be factoring in ~€2K per child per annum “cost” to returning to work.
    (As can be seen by the man’s attitude: he appears to perceive that he will not return to work at all, so we can further assume this is going to lead to long-term unemployment).

    If you look at the welfare system, it is providing him with €340 p/w as income while he is unemployed… his children are not being disadvantaged by him becoming unemployed… I don’t see any excess in the welfare support. What I do see is a Government squandering vast sums of it’s peoples money on the one-hand, while asking those same people to pay for a College education!

    Now, I do think the man’s attitude to his situation is faulty – he is essentially arguing that because he can get free money he has a better life taking it than not… that is obviously the case – the problem with his argument is that the society cannot survive if we all think that way.

    • ps200306

      Actually the whole argument is ridiculously flawed. By far the biggest component of the calculation is the difference between the €100/week that the bank is accepting while he’s on the dole, and the €1400/month that they’d demand if he was earning. That’s €11,600 pa of net earnings or nearly €25k of gross. This is nothing whatsoever to do with welfare policy — it’s all about a bust bank that should be foreclosing on a mortgage in default, but refuses to recognise the consequent loss. Basically the whole story is a red herring from start to finish. It’s a bit disappointing that David hasn’t done the slightest bit of analysis here.

      • ps200306

        And by the way, you can bet your bottom dollar that the lender *will* foreclose some years down the road, as soon as they can afford to take the hit. So the borrower will be left without the home that he would own if he was making his repayments. On that basis it’s a bit rich to suggest he’s “better off” on the dole.

    • McGoo

      >Working person is being penalized for working

      Brilliant! Yes, of course, anything that I have to pay for as a worker but don’t have to pay for if I’m unemployed is effectively income tax!

      Putting numbers to it gets kinda scary. In order to pay that 2k university fee, a worker has to earn 4k before tax. The effective tax rate on that 4k is 100%, because working to earn it delivers no gain to the worker – they could have got the fees paid by not working at all. So, Ireland marginal tax rate is not the much-quoted 52%, it’s 100%.

  24. Cuzao

    Mod-ER-ator / David MCWilliams…( Mr Adam Byrne – I hold you to be the fairest commentator on this blog across many years – I would value your reading time and your response to the following below. It is about unfair censorship on the site. Or Deco, or RR6 for that matter. Or Tony Brogan for that matter Mr Earnest Goldbug himself )

    David McWilliams – I have to call you out for your disingenuity ( or that of your moderator ) once more. Me apart, I think this is a serious one for any fair minded guest commentator who frequents these threads.

    You invite the general public under a pseudonym or a true name to comment here and debate. The rule according to you, is to keep to the topic and keep it civil. Recently, you reinforced this in posts on the topic of ´housekeeping´. Many people stray off topic here regularly and many people have been uncivil in the past at least. Not many are banned.

    I attempted submitted the following comment, below quoted, to the comment thread of the last article that appeared here, the article on current difficulties in Turkey and some emerging economies.

    These troubled economies all have housing bubbles. Favourite words of D McW, in the past at least. The involvement of European Banks in stoking these bubbles up could mean the buck stopping with European taxpayers. While getting bailouts and guarantee protection from European taxpapers. Take Unibanco via Itau in Brazil. Biggest lender in a well overheated and overvalued market. Santander is in there big time, too.

    Anyhow back to the point – my comment was blocked from the site. Twice. It was blocked for no reason that I can see. Please read it for yourselves;


    I submitted the above quoted twice. And it was blocked twice. For what, I don´t know. It was on topic and there was no uncivility.

    I have one final thing to say;

    David McWilliams – privilege, like respect is a two way thing.

    Cowardly censorship from a host to an invited guest like the example above, I most thoroughly disdain. I will point out to you that your basic character is in on view and in question here.

    • Cuzao

      To clarify -

      If my comment is submitted, despite any nasty or off topic content, it is corralled. I had to remove it from the above to get the rest through.

    • Hi Cuzao,

      I can’t imagine any reason for that post to be banned.

      I would imagine that some kind of automated filter kicked in and inadvertently blocked your comment.

      Hopefully David will get back to you about it.

      Don’t give up posting!



      • Cuzao

        Cheers Adam for the time and response!

        • Hi Cuzao

          I am at a loss. I don’t censor here. In fact, its as open as it can be. But I do reserve the right, if someone is taking the piss and dragging the comments off topic to ask politely to stop and the if they don’t, they will be stopped. But it really has to be extreme.

          All the very best and thanks for your time.


          • michaelcoughlan


            Hes using a word somewhere that’s forbidden by wordpress like a curse word or such. I remember trying to post goldman sachs and it wouldnt let me.


          • Joe R

            1.Here is an article on new housing bubbles in emerging economies ans some others…( Link to guardian followed ) So it shows that all over the world, rich country or poor, that speculation and greed are the norm for humanity and the Goldmans Sachs proclaimed old new chosen ones ( BRICS, etc ) are absolutely no different.

          • Joe R

            2. Actually, they are possibly quite a bit worse. To me it seems they have overcompensated an attempt to catch up too quickly and superficially with the wealth of the developed world.
            Also on current accounts balance of trade and debt to GDP ratios, etc, etc there is easy available and chart-able information here at http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ on the economic performance of many countries over the last 20 years or more.

          • Joe R

            In Turkey´s case it is plain to see that external debt has tripled in the last 10 years and it quite possibly fueled the `economic miracle´ of 6% plus growth P.A.. It is possible to see that it has not ran a surplus in its balance of trade in 30 years. 30 years in the red before you include debt it has taken on. The current account has therefore badly in the red for as many years so D McWilliams number dropping of – $80 billion for last year that is neither here nor there. It was actually 20% worse just two years ago.

          • Joe R

            David McWilliams.

            Firstly, I logged in as ‘Cuzao’. The comment I originally tried to post as Joe R is above in 3 parts. A Guardian link is missing I will post that after.

            Secondly, thank you for taking the time to respond to what I brought up. I accept your sincerity and please don’t take any offense from what was said . Consider it to be an internet misunderstanding, if you could.

            I well appreciate the forum has always been an open one, which is possibly it’s best point for me. I urge you to continue that policy as much as possible. I am critical of you at times, to be sure, but I am not unappreciative of your open spirit with regard to debate.

            And Michael Coughlan;

            Thank you for your advise above. The GS reference may well have been the problem.

            Regards to you both,


      • StephenKenny

        I’ve had a few comments vanish recently – and I’m not even controversial.
        I suspect that it’s just the normal sort of snafu. Modern technology – it’s rubbish……

      • StephenKenny

        I’ve had a few comments just vanish- including one just now.

    • Regard censorship. The topic is responded to already. i have experienced 3 times where a posting did not go through and was held under moderation.
      In each case I made a polite enquiry to the moderator if they could please explain why.
      Each time the commentary was released without further comment.
      I put it down to a filter and subsequently all is well.

      I appreciate the site even though I am sometimes critical. It is an onerous task to run such a blogg.

      • You probably exceeded the limit for mentioning the word ‘gold’ in one paragraph Tony – I believe the limit is 25 haha!

        Just kidding.

        • Majority of my posts there is nary a mention Adam. It is hard not to use the G word, as it tares at my gut to not do so.

          You are following trend with 30% of the entries on this thread. Soon you will be up to my very high standards young fellow. :)

          I give up!!!

          Gold won is still the standard at the Olympics.
          Gold is still the standard for money. Even bitcoin tried to be as much like gold as it could. The only problem with it is that it isn’t.

  25. StephenKenny

    It isn’t a censor – it’s just not working properly.

  26. redriversix

    I went to work…when I was 14


    became self-employed at 26 & remained so till I was 41

    Contributed to society..created jobs were people who worked for me had GAINFUL employment..could get a mortgage,buy a Car..had a proper wage ETC ETC ETC

    I got into financial difficulties…

    Protected those working for me..i.e their jobs were saved or I got them employment else where…

    Paid the banks back just under 5 million at the expense of my family…

    Anyone receiving the “dole” or unemployment benefit has paid for it,contributed to it and they are entitled to these supports as they PAID for them.

    If Government squanders money , guarantees odious debt..that is their problem..and unfortunately ours.

    if you worked paid taxes,& contributed to your entitlements you are entitled to these supports.

    You are entitled to seek GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT.

    For the record ..their are no bin waivers…

    Their are no rent allowance available at €1500.00

    What their is however is lots of neighbors fucking each other over & giving out that they are paying for the “scroungers” or the “strategic defaulters”

    The Banks fucked you over…. not your neighbor who cant pay his/her Mortgage.

    The Government lied to you

    Banks lied to them

    Banks continue to grow more powerful as Government succeeds in turning us on each other..

    Banks will fail their stress tests..they will once again be proven to be insolvent..they will take money from your bank account to line their own pockets….they will be recapitalized.

    Government succeeds at “criminalizing” those on social welfare and branding those who cant pay their mortgage as “strategic defaulters”

    Take care of yourself…take care of your family..do whatever you have to do to survive..by all “LEGAL” means necessary.

    So quit fighting..start studying..learn you & your families worth.

    and protect them.

    Me ? I am getting back in the saddle …starting my own business [ again]..but this time working in Europe…will it be easy..NO..but it beats the shit outta stupid interviews & job bridge & fucking internships….its a race to the bottom & I am not playing anymore

    for the record ? I doubt the veracity of this letter in Davids article.

    Have a great Weekend


  27. Bamboo

    This says it all Barry. All the best of luck. Thanks

  28. redriversix

    Thank you Bamboo.

    be sure to have a great Sunday for you & yours…

    A great thing to do is make a list if the Top Ten Advantages of worrying…..!!! ;-)


  29. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2012/12/antifragile_book_interview_nassim_nicholas_taleb_on_how_chaos_and_disaster.single.html

    LG: Are you saying that capitalism is good but that 21st-century capitalism has gone too far?

    NNT: What we do today has nothing to do with capitalism or socialism. It is a crony type of system that transfers money to the coffers of bureaucrats. The largest “fragilizer” of society is a lack of skin in the game. If you are mayor of a small town, you are penalized for your mistakes because you are made accountable when you go to church. But we are witnessing the rise of a new class of inverse heroes—bureaucrats, bankers, and academics with too much power. They game the system while citizens pay the price. I want the entrepreneur to be respected, not the CEO of a company who has all the upsides and none of the downsides.

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