November 23, 2015

Ireland is backing itself

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 70 comments ·

On the fifth anniversary of the troika’s arrival, let’s be clear on what has actually helped us recover

Six years after its inaugural outing, the atmosphere at the Global Irish Economic Forum on Friday in Dublin Castle couldn’t have been more different. Back then, there was a palpable sense of panic and many reasons to be fearful; this time, there was a sense of a steadied ship and many reasons to be optimistic.

This weekend also happens to be the fifth anniversary of the bailout. That was the weekend that the IMF rocked into town and nailed their demands to the door of the Department of Finance.

One of the more galling episodes in the run-up to this anniversary has been watching the IMF’s chief negotiators pointing the finger of blame at the ECB about Frankfurt forcing successive Irish governments to take on odious bank debts rather than burning bondholders. It’s a pity they were not so vocal on the issue of odious debt at the time, and it underscores just how pointless this institution now is, in Europe at least.

Let’s remember what the bailout was in reality. The bailout wasn’t so much a bailout, which at least visually conjures up the image of a friend in a canoe bailing out water to keep the canoe afloat. These European bailouts were really a response to the financial markets declining to lend to the stricken states.

Once the private sector refused to lend, the public sector had to, or the economies would have imploded. This is where the IMF and the EU came in. They lent to us, and we committed to do certain things – and this public commitment, and the troika’s oversight, coaxed the markets to lend to our government again.

But everyone knows that a balance sheet with too much debt, like Ireland’s, is made more robust by less debt, not more debt. The bailouts mean the opposite. A balance sheet that was laid low by too much debt was forced to take on more debt. However, as the ECB undertook to buy all this debt if necessary, the risk premium of this debt fell – the rate of interest fell.

Is a country with more debt less or more risky? Traditionally, you would say more risky, but with the ECB backstopping the government bond market, the opposite has occurred. However, in terms of what prompted the Irish recovery, while Italy, Portugal and Greece remain in the doldrums, this bailout doesn’t explain things adequately. For example, the chief baiter of debtor countries, Finland, is now in recession, so it’s clear that the state of the public finances isn’t sufficient to explain the recovery for the man on the street. If public finances alone were sufficient, Finland would be booming.

What affects the man on the street are the employment opportunities around him in the real economy. The government’s narrative is that the recovery – which is still fitful – was due to some European confidence fairy which magically spread confidence dust all over Ireland after the bailout.

But the bailout only replaced private creditors with public creditors. We are still debtors, just to different creditors.

I don’t buy the government’s story – not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t, as a trained economist, see how this eurozone transmission mechanism might work.

A much more plausible reason that would explain Ireland’s recovery and Finland’s recession, for example, is the fact that incontrovertibly the Irish economy is an Atlantic economy. We do most of our trade with the Anglo/American world, most of our investment comes from the English-speaking world and over 80 per cent of all Irish exports are generated by American multinationals. Trade between Ireland and Britain is now €1 billion a week.

As a result, when the Anglo-American world does well, it drags its little cousin, Ireland, with it. In the past few years, this Atlantic economy has been doing exceptionally well, and the resulting trade and investment have pulled up Ireland with it.

As domestic demand fell in response to the balance sheet implosion of 2008 and the subsequent austerity, some of this demand was replaced by demand from America and Britain, allowing Ireland to stay afloat.

Once the ship was steadied slightly, people could then relax a bit about the future and so we see what Keynes described as “animal spirits” begin to take over. Animal spirits are what make people spend a little more, invest a little more and take a bit more risk, because they believe in the future and – as they say in sport – they back themselves.

Why do people begin to back themselves? People back themselves because other people back themselves.

What I mean by this is that we are social animals and we are profoundly influenced by the group dynamics all around us. We are easily and quite irrationally influenced by the actions of others. We behave as a herd rather than as sovereign individuals. We do things because other people do things. This means that we are programmed to get giddy when everyone else is giddy, and also we get depressed when others get depressed. We are creatures not so much of habit but of other people’s habits.

Over time, people become confident from the bottom up, not the top down. This leads to people taking a bit more risk, maybe opening a business, and then demand begets more demand because we all buy and sell to each other. Therefore my spending becomes your income, and vice versa.

Economists call this the business cycle; I prefer to call it human nature. Time tends to heal balance sheets, if you can buy enough of it. The bailout allowed Ireland to buy a bit of time – and it is time, not some enormously sagacious economic policy, that is in the process of healing Irish balance sheets. Animal spirits emerge as we are programmed to be optimistic and to believe that the next venture will be the one that works, so we get back on the horse!

That’s it. No miracle, just human endeavour.

  1. Antaine

    Subscribe :-)

  2. ross81

    “We’re backing ourselves”…could this be AIB’s next ad in the series? It’d feature bankers slapping each other on the back, giving high fives and going to pick up the new Porsche. The voiceover would end with “we’ve recovered, why haven’t YOU?”

  3. Colm MacDonncha

    The Banksters have also found out that they are more or less immune from the consequences of their misadventures so can now lash away with their NAMA buddies. That snorting noise in the background is from the ECB Trough…

  4. michaelcoughlan


    A well written piece. However let me re phrase; Young Irish people in record breaking numbers are backing themselves to make a new life abroad with the last 3 years showing the highest levels of emigration since the foundation of the state.

    The Irish at home are backing their prosperity in fleecing the endless supply of dirt cheap European labour arriving here in min wage jobs and fleecing those same misfortunes with skyrocketing rents.

    When you say recovery I presume you mean the Irish state? You hardly mean the people do you?


    • Deco

      And the state is fleecing the young people working in the economy here. The housing supply in the East region is bottlenecked. The motor market is rigged via the “industry” (they are retailers, not manufacturers – but they call themselves the “industry”). And retailing is manipulated with local authority rates.

      We have the IFA – general secretary style economy. Thousands of small farmers in the West operating on subsidies, so that the Beef oligarch can make a fortune, and so that the main lobbyist is on a fortune.

      Simply put, there is far too much centralization of power (and therefore wealth) in the system.

      Some of the peasants are waking up – but not enough.

  5. Hopefully at the end of next January when Eurostat statistics for debt to gdp (Sept 2015) are released, we will get confirmation that our debt to gdp is below 100%- a bit like a family realising their house is no longer in negative equity. It doesn’t seem fair that Finland are expected to stick to 60% debt/gdp, while 6/7 Eurozone nations are above 100%. I thought there’s nothing wrong with borrowing more money for capital expenditure to create more jobs- it’s hardly a case that the Finnish government can’t identify any possible capital projects.

    • Colm MacDonncha

      Indeed Tim there is nothing wrong with borrowing to create jobs. It is when the borrowing is used by the wealthy to invest in assets and shares that the problem occurs, as the demand for assets and stocks artificially inflates their cost creating our old friend the bubble. And it now seems that the only money available for investment is being given to the already wealthy to increase their portfolios,and we all know where that’s going to end…again.

      • Deco

        What about borrowing to pay for the Taoiseach’s wife’s cousin to get appointed to the board of a quango on the institutional state, when the electorate reject him for not even being good enough – based on the abysmal standards that apply in Kildare Street, D2 ?

  6. redriversix

    It is the State that is recovering…not people…people are busier & working harder but rates & wages are almost in the Ground.

    If you go outside cities like Galway , Cork or Dublin…you will not see any recovery…

    Enjoyed reading the article though.


  7. Mike Lucey


    I think you are ‘away with the fairies’ as regards Irish folks on this comment, ‘What I mean by this is that we are social animals and we are profoundly influenced by the group dynamics all around us. We are easily and quite irrationally influenced by the actions of others. We behave as a herd rather than as sovereign individuals. We do things because other people do things. This means that we are programmed to get giddy when everyone else is giddy, and also we get depressed when others get depressed. We are creatures not so much of habit but of other people’s habits’.

    A lot of business people were bitten hard by the implosion and now tend to think / research for themselves rather than ‘follow the heard’, once bitten twice shy.

    Many self employed of my generation, the baby boomers, had never experienced hard times until the 2008 bomb went off. We really should have taken far more notice to how our parents and grand parents went about matters with level heads and a frugal policy of not getting until they had saved to buy.

    As for the next generation of self employed, what I would call the Internet generation, I feel they will be far better equipped to figure out what to do and not to do as they now have an abundance of information to hand if they care to dig around for it. For the most part I feel they do not rely on the information being puked out by the pop media. Hopefully the alternative media will not be stifled by big business.

  8. DB4545

    David why not complete the title and the reality that Ireland is backing itself..into a corner. Who are you making comparisions with? If you see us as an Atlantic economy how are we doing compared to Iceland for example? They told the banks to fuck off with characteristic Nordic directness. We did croppy lie down and sold out our children. We’re still engaging in our favorite national pastime accepting fiction as reality.

  9. CorkPlasticPaddy

    Good article, David, but there’s just one problem in regard to what you stated in it. Some of us don’t follow the crowds in how we think and do things for ourselves. If all of the Irish people behaved and thought in that same way then maybe the whole country might be a whole lot better off than it is now.
    You were probably right in what you had to say about the country not going into such a deep depression after the crash back in 2008 due to the fact of we belonging to the English speaking Atlantian family, but even so this country still had to go through a fair amount of hardship it owing to the total ineptitude shown by that of our own politicians, bankers as well as that of the clowns that are supposedly running the EU!!
    The ordinary people of this country have gone through hell over the last seven years and the majority of them are still going through hell and will continue to do so unless by some miraculous ‘Road to Damascus’ change those very same people change their own outlook on life?
    Things can change for the better for the majority of people if they’d just stop and think about who they intend to vote for in the next general election. We’ve seen how FF and FG/Labour have done things down through the years and how austerity has worked for a certain number of the elite and their ilk, well, now is the time for the Irish electorate to do some serious thinking about what they want for themselves and their future descendants. We all voted for reform back in 2011, but instead of reform we got more of the same if not worse than before. Next Spring is going to be our next chance to make a substantial change in how our country is run, so, there’s really only one choice people have to make and that is do you want more of the same or do you want REAL change not some watered down form of it where the political and economic elite forge even further ahead on the backs of everyone else. The choice is now in all of our hands. I know who I’ll be voting for next year and it certainly won’t be for Enda and Joan or Michael!!

  10. McGoo


    I read your article as saying that the Irish economy is recovering IN SPITE of the “help” and “leadership” and “experts” that have been inflicted on us. I agree. People have recovered from the shock of the crash and are just getting on with life.

    You briefly mentioned a very interesting point, which might merit an article of its own – interest rates going down when debt, and therefore risk of default, is actually increasing!!!

    This craziness is caused by the central banks method of creating QE money; they buy huge amounts of government bonds, so the the governments are literately “borrowing the money into existence”. This bond buying drives up bond prices, which drives down interest rates. The bond market is being totally rigged.

    So, is the bond market a huge bubble waiting to collapse (and drive interest rates through the roof) or will the central banks manage a “soft landing” when/if they stop QE? I have no idea, but very interested in your opinion.

  11. Pat Flannery

    Today’s announcement of the latest Pfizer/Allergen “inversion” deal underlines David’s assertion that “over 80 per cent of all Irish exports are generated by American multinationals” and that “the Irish economy is an Atlantic economy”. Yes, but it is a false economy. It is a Potemkin economy based on US corporate tax cheaters fleeing the US rate of 35% for Ireland’s rate of 12.5%.

    As a result of this myopic economic policy one Act of the US Congress could wipe out the entire Irish economy. There is already a strong US Congressional movement to end “inversion” deals.

    Ireland is in far greater danger of becoming pauperized (again) by the Anglo world than by becoming enslaved within a German-led EU, as anglophiles like David would have you believe.

    • SwordsLetting

      All our eggs in any basket is not good, but it also makes me worry what will happen if the British do ever join the single European currency.
      We are slaves to the debt but nothing seems to have changed for the wealthy.
      Insulting as it is – DMW is right – creatures of other people’s habits – sheep herd to the polling booths when they’be bothered to register to vote.

    • Deco

      Ireland’s Potemkim economy.

      The economic activity is usually fairly real, but the statistics are utterly meaningless.

      David – Please quote that. It directly contradicts the “message” from the politicians, and jokers like Dan McLaughlin and Austin Hughes.

  12. “These European bailouts were really a response to the financial markets declining to lend to the stricken states.”

    Funny I thought the Bailouts were to prop up the banks which had over leveraged to the point they were insolvent, broke , bankrupted and that nothing has changed in the last 5 years.

    The difference being the taxpayer was loaded with a national debt that was doubled overnight. That new debt being odious debt.

    The term odious debt is used without an explanation of what odious implies other than a rotten stink.

    “successive Irish governments to take on odious bank debts rather than burning bondholders.”

    “In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable.”
    Odious debt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Odious debt can/should be revoked. Where is the recommendation for this?

  13. “But the bailout only replaced private creditors with public creditors. We are still debtors, just to different creditors.”

    Not true. We did not just have the existing debt owed, transferred to another. We still owe the debt that existed and then we were force to assume debt that belonged to others.

    The debt was doubled. DOUBLED. The extra debt was foisted on to the people by having the taxpayer assume a private business debt that was not theirs in the first place.

    • paddythepig

      Funny how you don’t mention that most of the debt was ‘foisted on the peopel’ by paying social welfare and public sector salaries.

  14. DB4545


    I wasn’t trying to be negative with that comment Michael. I’m a natural optimist but that inclination comes from living in reality. We have a “hollowed out” society to use that odious corporate phrase. What evidence do I have to support that assertion? We have revelations that a key figure in the Irish Farmers Association was trousering over 500K a year. This in an organisation that has a turnover of 12 million a year. I thought farmers were the definition of realists but these fantasy figures show otherwise. On the other side of the fence we have graduates on jobsbridge living on a pittance.

    How many more are trousering close to that kind of money in semi-States or as heads of trade unions or some other backwater quango that we don’t need? Ireland isn’t backing itself the well connected are fixing each other up and are financially raping the ordinary Citizens of the State. Call me sceptical but I’d put good money that this saw the light of day because someone got shafted or didn’t get fixed up in the golden circle. How can a normal society function with such subversive activity just beneath the surface.

    We’re living in a toxic fantasy State. It’s like watching a man drive past in an expensive S-Class mercedes. He can pretend to himself and bystanders and try to give the illusion that he’s the owner, but the owner rigs it so that the driver fills the tank out of his own pocket and when you check further you find the reality is that he’s the chauffeur and the car is leased through some offshore tax haven. That’s the role of the Citizen in this State, he’s a serf driving the economy for the benefit of others.

  15. mike flannelly

    No recommendation to revoke Odious debt. Nobody wants to enforce Laws in Irelands Courts of Justice.

    Vague and unclear agreements are not enforcable in “Contract Law”.
    100% of variable mortgage customers thought that their interest rates would rise and fall in line with market interest rates. Their contracts were vague and unclear with regard to interest rates. Vague and Unclear contracts WERE enforced.

    2005 to 2009 Investment mortgage products had ZERO investment value from day one. The financial products were not fit for purpose and should have ALL been restructured to limit consumer mental and financial damage. At least Two Consumer Laws were broken with these products. Result- Coercion of bank customers into firesales.

    Forced repossessions and firesales.

    New money commentators tell us that it costs 400,000euro to build a two bed apt in Dublin. They seem to be completely SILENT when it comes to banks forcing firesales and repossessions of two bed and three bed houses for as little as 100,000 euro.
    New money commentators tell us that the central bank has capped house prices relative to our incomes.THEY ARE WRONG.
    The central bank has put a “cap on unsustainabe debt”. You can pay what you like but you cannot borrow unsustainable debt. 250,000 euro will get you a three/ four bed house outside Dublin. 300,000 euro will get you a three/ four bed house in parts of Dublin.
    They tell us that it is a good idea to cap unsustainable debt(false value debt) but it is the “wrong time”. 2015 is the Wrong time to cap unsustainable debt.

    ARE NEW MONEY COMMENTATORS seeking a Recovery or a RETURN?

  16. Off topic but relevant to recent postings. While we are diverted to local issues the world is still subjected to policies of empire building. If one looks hard enough one sees that the empire building has changed from being state sponsored to corporate sponsored. Looking harder yet one sees it as sponsored by those seeking to control the world through the use of money (freely printed as increased debt charged to the taxpayer ); The advocating of the use of GMO crops that enable the control of agricultural output around the world (control the food and you control the people); and the vilification of anything that will get in the way of this agenda.

    I am in the process of reading Seeds of Destruction

    It is a most illuminating book about the agenda of world control by those who believe they are the “elite”.

    It is about the GMO crops, poisonous chemical sprays, and destructive seeding and tillage practices that contribute to the sterilization of both people and land. Eugenics plays a large part in this planning.

    Banks fund the corporations who fund the foundations who educate the brightest and best in these practices. Being a trained economist, or any other specialist does not in any way guarantee the truth of the tree of knowledge. In fact in many ways , quite the contrary.

  17. Ireland is backing itself–into a corner. The floor is painted over more than once with debt. No way out for any country. No matter how much time goes by the debt cannot be paid as the world GDP is smaller than interest charged on the debt. Also the debt is increasing at a faster rate than the economy.

    It gets worse not better as time goes by. I am not sure if it is head in the clouds or head in the sand analysis. It matters not. The longer we wait, the bigger the mess. As ordained by the aforementioned ‘elite’. The longer we wait the greater likelihood that people will demand relief in exchange for loss of liberty.

    Patrick Henry–Give me Liberty or give Me Death.

  18. mike flannelly

    There used to be a STANDARD called – the RIGHT thing to do and the WRONG thing to do. Elders and Leaders were ONCE wise people that knew how to enforce these standards.
    The Irish Constitution is there to protect the greater public good and “supersedes” any UNDUE INFLUENCE or MISREPRESENTATION that highly “connected” stronger parties have over normal citizens of normal resources.

    There can be no constitutional JUSTIFICATION for powerful resourced corporate people to overrule the greater public good of any state.

    I can see NO constitutional justification in the Irish Political or Irish Bankers responses to the mortgage debt crisis for bank customers.

    The “FAILED” FG/Lab Bankers Enquiry after SEVEN years will offer no justification for our Bankers response to the plight of Irish families with financial anxiety.

    There is not ONE politician in Ireland that had the strength/ability to stand up to IRISH BANKERS UNDUE INFLUENCE and
    Unconstitutional legal claims with regard to mortgage contracts.

  19. DB4545

    There is no justification Mike. It’s just theft and fraud. We have a toxic political class.You know subversives run the show when you see the posturing taking place for the next election. FF and SF or FF and FG in power? The government will always get into power. The mafia started out as the protector of the little guy. It was subverted by power to oppress the lttle guy. Different Country same ethics.

  20. Tull McAdoo

    I see where Joan Burton has decided to give those on welfare 75% of their weekly income as a Christmas bonus.
    Now either Joanie is anticipating an election soon, she is afraid of being haunted by the ghosts of austere Christmas’s past or some of the handlers at the labour party have told her to reconnect with the proletariat in the spirit of Christmas and the odd second preference blah blah.

    Anyhow it is all welcome “Joan of Austere” and in that spirit let me dedicate this tune to you…….Goodnight Ireland, Sleep Well and take it away Mr Barry White and “can’t get enough of your love babe”…..

  21. Late evening news Here on Salt Spring Is.

    Allergan of Ireland does a reverse takeover of Pfizer. 15% corporate tax rate seems to have decided the HQ will be in Ireland.

  22. US is in recovery. I’d hate to see what the Current food stamp numbers of 50 million people would enlarge to if the US was in recession!!?

  23. Total US debt is an average of 750,000 dollars per family. On a Program “Conversations with Conrad”, Conrad Black chatted with Mark Steyn.

    It was the suggestion that the US is on fast track to be the first country to have negative billionaires. Steyn laughed and said that will be the average person or every resident will be born owing a million dollars or more.

    It was also stated that the political class has no intention of reducing or paying off the debt. As far as they are concerned, the debt is no problem.

    Also the US justice system is broken. 97% of all cases are settled out of court. The majority paying up whether guilty or not as the legal process of defense takes many years to get a verdict and hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in costs.

    Black mentioned it cost 27 million to defend himself to get a not guilty verdict on most of the charges but he remained convicted of one and served his time in prison as the sentences were concurrent.


    The scandal isn’t what’s illegal — it’s what’s perfectly legal

    “Back in 1999 GATA spent its first substantial money on legal research by a major anti-trust law firm. The lawyers reported that our hopes for suing the U.S. government for rigging the gold market were pretty much dashed by the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which established the Exchange Stabilization Fund within the U.S. Treasury Department and which, as amended through the years, conferred on the ESF the power to trade in and presumably rig not just the gold market but every market:”

    As has been stated. There is no such thing as a free market and has not been for 80 years.

    time for a change!!

  25. “Or perhaps, Zero Hedge could have written “stocks explode higher on news that Greece is official dead” – as per today’s catastrophic 50% plunge in the National Bank of Greece’s stock, towards its guaranteed date with zero (likely by year-end), you can bet that the massive economic carnage, and social and political unrest, racking the “bailed-out” PIIG (with a realistically accounted for $600+ billion of debt) will go exponential – just as it is, or shortly will be, in the hopelessly indebted nations of Portugal, Brazil, and Puerto Rico – and heck, even Finland. Not to mention, the increasingly welfare-dependent United States – including its “wealthiest city,” New York. And of course, the granddaddy of coming economic implosion – China. Trust me, the Fed wouldn’t have called an EMERGENCY, CLOSED-DOOR MEETING for this coming Monday if things weren’t that bad. Let alone, as the House of Representatives passed a “Fed Transparency Bill.” Which, while it will clearly be vetoed by Obama, may NOT be if a Republican President is elected next year.” –Andy Hoffman

  26. [...] • Ireland Is Backing Itself (David McWilliams) [...]

  27. LouCampbell

    Good article. I have a question: my understanding of the troika supporting the recovery (indirectly) was that their investment allowed Irish banks to establish a semblance of security on the stock market, which in the long run, allowed them to remain afloat and ultimately to finance the growth of the economy. Is that overly simplistic?


    What do you say to the premise of many independent people that the US stats are a lie. The US reports a recovery but no physical measurement supports that premise. Those that report a recovery are aiding and abetting the lie. They misinform their subscribers.

    • Pat Flannery

      Sorry Tony, these US unemployment statistics is not a lie

      In fact I am surprised to see my home city of San Diego listed 158th out of 357 with 4.6% unemployment. Everything here on the ground points to full employment. There are “Now Hiring” signs everywhere. They appear as giant banners on General Dynamics NASSCO to handwritten signs in the windows of the humblest of mom-and-pop stores or restaurants.

      I have no idea who the 4.6% are. I can honestly say that I do not know a single unemployed person in San Diego. But then again I live in La Jolla, not South East San Diego, where I assume most of the unemployed live. What I would really like to see is a breakdown of that 4.6%. It may tell us more than we would like to know about our demographic world hidden within our economic world.

      • StephenKenny

        There is always a problem with snapshot unemployment figures – people are no in work for short periods for all sorts of reasons – just taking a month or two out between jobs is one.

        The unemployment figures are not really the interesting ones to me – they were an interesting indicator 30 years ago, but have since become a political goal which has opened them up to considerable manipulation.

        For me, the interesting figures are total income divided by the number of people in work, and number of people in work divided by those of working age (not in education). Neither of these look very hood at the moment.

      • Well that is interesting Pat.
        Where is all this other info coming from then?

        What about this report. He makes a living selling info to industry.

        What about the 50 million reported as on food stamps. Is that not true?

        The US labour participation rate is reported as being the lowest for a generation or two.(1977) That is 62 percent of the US population that is employed.

        Is it just because the baby boomer are all retired?

        What about the fact the FED has not raised interest rates because the economic recovery is too tenuous? 6 years later.

        52% of US on benefits. will that reduce the deficit spending.?

        Have I fallen down the rabbit hole and I am with Alice in Wonderland?

        Somebody is not telling me the truth. Who is it?

        Enjoy your day Pat.Stay well.

        • Pat Flannery

          Hi Tony, I am not disputing your “alternate” sources. But it does remind me of the man whose wife caught him in bed with another woman whereupon he protested “what are you going to believe, that which you see with your own eyes or that which I am telling you as a fact: I am not having sex with this woman!”.

          Kinda reminds one of old Bill Clinton doesn’t it? My eyes see full employment here in San Diego, listed 158th out of 357 in unemployment, bad enough, but you say that only 62% of the US population is fully employed and that 52% are on benefits.

          Maybe I should get the heck outa here.

          Maybe I live in a very special corner of this country called the US or maybe one of us have fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole. But, like the good wife, I see what I see.

          Or maybe that’s what I want to see, because I like it here. Maybe Bill Clinton never had sex with that woman. Maybe its a case of lies, damn lies and statistics.

          Maybe we will never know. Maybe it’s all just one big rabbit hole. I must hop along now.

          • ” but you say ”

            But I do not “say” Pat. I read and report and comment.

            It is not what you want to see or what I want to see, but what we actually do see.

            It is very confusing. I see rampant manipulation of statistics when it comes to the markets by interference from government agencies or government sponsored corporations.

            I see vast inflation of the money supply around the world with the only beneficiaries being the financial asset classes and the military industrial complex. No benefit at all to the lower 80% but enough benefits to the ruling classes and the one tenth of one percent creaming the best for themselves.

          • Pat Flannery

            Tony, Obamacare? It’s like the proverbial camel – a horse designed by a committee. It seems to benefit only the drug and insurance industries.

            It is not much good to know that you cannot be refused insurance cover, if you can afford it, which most people cannot, but are forced to purchase it.

            It is a capitalist “solution” to a human need. What we need is a social-based affordable universal health care as you have in Canada and in most civilized countries around the world.

          • Pat
            I gather that the medium and larger employers must enroll in Obamacare for all full time employees.

            Is there any truth to the fact that thousands are being hired just part time so the boss does not have to enroll in the plan and be subject to the increased contributions.

          • Pat Flannery

            Tony: yes, as an example a friend of mine who used to work 20 hours per week for Trader Joes in order to get health insurance now has to work 30 hours because Obamacare sets 30 hours as the new part-time/full-time mandate. Many companies use 27 hours a week as a “safe harbor” in case an employee accidentally goes over due to overtime.

            Despite the fact that only employers with 50 or more employees are subject to the mandate it has changed the work place. Many people now work two jobs with no benefits. The corporations win again. And many people are still without health care.

          • Crony corporatism wins again.

            That may be an answer to the puzzle of “full” employment as calculated while average wages have fallen and family income is down.

            Big Pharma wins as it sells remedies by the thousands.

            William Engdahl,, Seeds of Destruction, is a very good book I am reading. Big bankers, Eugenics, GMO crops, Poisonous pesticides. All controlled and combined to kill, sterilize and pauperize the masses. Rampant elitism unleashed.

          • Pat Flannery

            Yes Tony, the exponential growth of “part-time” jobs needs to be fully examined as a social phenomenon. Economists need to design metrics to fit this new situation.

            As far as I know there are no labor statistics showing the number of people working two jobs. The authorities may be double-counting. We need to know the algorithms they use. I guess they think we are too dumb to understand them.

          • I never thought of that.Two people. One working but at two jobs may be counted as 100% employment rather than 50%.

            The employed working at two part time jobs makes less than at a full time so family income falls too.

            There are thousands and thousands under employed way below training level and capability. Wasted human capital.

          • Pat Flannery

            Tony, exactly. That is what I see on the ground here in San Diego, little or no unemployment but everybody working two jobs with no health benefits.

            I can see good middle-class jobs out there, we just don’t know how many there are vs. minimum wage jobs where most of the growth seems to be. We need to see the statistical trends. I suspect they are not good which is why they are not being shown to us.

            Employment and health care issues are tied together in a modern mixed economy. Countries like America need comprehensive labor/healthcare legislation to preserve a middle class, which is a prerequisite for a healthy “mixed” economy. The political problem is achieving the “mix”.

        • Since 2000 US income is static or declining in both individual and household income.

  29. Wills

    article hits the head on the nail but at he same time one could add into the mix the facts that financial technicians on behalf of power elites exploit this aspect of human nature to rob, steal and plunder the energies of the labours of the common folk.

  30. redriversix

    How are we having a recovery ?

    Why are the markets strong. ?

    War in the middle east

    War in Africa

    Oil at $43 a barrel

    Are not all the traditional indicators that Economists have used pointing towards recession & depression ?

    Is it because of Q E ?

    Is it further proof of market manipulation ?

    Is their a another ticking time bomb in Commodities ?

    Is the insurance market ready to implode ?

    Can we really have a debt based economy that is sound ?

    Strange times

  31. mike flannelly

    responses to “Nurses and strikes

    Confused Citizen.

    November 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm


    The OECD Health stats tell us the following about Irelands nurse numbers and bed numbers per 1,000 population compared to other OECD countries.

    In the UK they have 8.2 nurses delivering 2.8 beds per 1,000 population.
    In Spain they have 5.2 nurses delivering 3 beds per 1,000 population.
    In Israel they have 4.8 nurses delivering 3.1 beds per 1,000 population.
    In Poland they have 5.5 nurses delivering 6.5 beds per 1,000 population.

    In Ireland you can walk past a 91 year old man on a “Hospital Trolley” for 24 hours. Not enough nurses to staff more beds.

    In Ireland” WE “have 12.6 nurses delivering 2.8 beds.

    We are constantly told by Irelands BLOATED plastic lefties that – The answer is of course MORE NURSES.

    ” This is no country for very sick children that have to rely on charitable donations for their needs or OLD MEN.”

    Perhaps there is a Bloated part of society that is “BACKING THEMSELVES” to infinity , but at a cost to very sick children and OLD MEN.

    Bloated Irish Plastic Leftie pensions and Lump Sums above the contributory pension level must be based on contributions “ONLY”. There is no big magic pot of money for select citizens pensions while ignoring the needs of the sick.
    SHAME ON THE NEW IRISH LEFT that put themselves above the non secure workers of Ireland and our sickest children and old people.

    Irish Plastic Lefties are a bit like Irish New Money Commentators.
    The plastic leftie tells you that they have taken the cuts. BUT FROM WHAT BASE? – Spain, Portugal, Poland, France, Germany.
    The new money commentator tells you that rents have gone up 15%. BUT FROM WHAT BASE? What percentage of average net pay goes on rent?

    • Deco

      When this crisis emerged, I stated at the time that the IMI (Irish Management Institute) and the Post graduate sector in the university Business Schools needed to have a serious review of what they were producing.

      I was referring to the “calibre” of moron running the banks, and the rest of the financial sector. But it also applies to the state sector.

      Morons in charge. The nurses are good enough – just look at the manner in which they get employment in other countries.

      The political system in this country depends on state employment prospects for enthusing canvassers. And all the political parties are participating in this sort of nonsense.

      We need seperation of state and the political machines. It is very hard to achieve. But it is the only prospect of fixing the state system.

      We currently have the opposite. It peaked under Ahern. And now it is the “turn” of the FG and ILP political cliques.

  32. redriversix

    Their is no recovery , only War

    We are living the Dystopian times created by writers in the 20s & 30s

    Their is a boom in Weapons sales and aircraft..Helicopters too…cannot have enough helicopters.

    too much debt = scramble for resources = imperialism.

    Scramble for resources = creating debt = imperialism

    We are destined to destroy ourselves..first socially then physically, but slowly…very slowly.

    It is extraordinary how calm the world reacted when N.A.T.O shoots down a Russian Fighter bomber…just kinda “ah dud thats kinda bad like..but hey ! shit happens”

    Now Obama says maybe Assad should stay..???? !!!!! Hey Obama ?


    if you wanna attack someone to get your rocks off …why dont you attack Saudi Arabia ????

    They been attacking you for years… too scared ?

    Now they attack the fracking industry by pumping out cheap oil , flooding the market and closing down competition..not that i am a fan of fracking….

    America is almost self sufficient in Oil

    In a world now dominated by bad guys , corruption & bond Villains….I think Russia look more and more like the good guys every day…if todays events are to be measured so simply….

    But that is how are beloved Western ideals and Governors want us , isn’t it ?

    Kept Simple

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