February 25, 2016

If we want the economy to grow, we should vote for the politicians that promise us least

Posted in Irish Independent · 79 comments ·

When Ibec warns that voting Left would lead to a period of political instability that would hurt the economy, it’s easy to understand cynicism from the Left-wing parties. Someone should remind Ibec that it was the people at the commanding heights of Irish business who ruined the economy last time.

The Irish boom/bust/bailout crisis was caused by incompetence and some of it by those who paid the heftiest subscriptions to Ibec. Unlike Greece, Ireland’s woes were not a result of Leftie-inspired government spending too much. Ireland’s disaster was caused by people who agitated for lower taxes, lower regulation, lower government spending, and spoke the meritocratic language of business while behaving like looters who happened to play golf.

However, acknowledging this fact doesn’t mean Ibec is wrong this time. Two very different things can be right at the same time. The business lobby is warning that a hung Dáil might be bad for business and that is – at a stretch – right.

The extreme Left has never delivered on its societal promises. There is no example of a country that has adopted confiscatory policies and grown rich, prosperous and confident.

The economy grows and is stable when lots of people are creating small businesses and backing themselves. This is the indomitable human urge for commerce that the great champion of democracy, John Maynard Keynes, called the “animal spirits” of capitalism.

Politicians should understand that they do not create jobs; nor do rich people. Jobs are created by general demand. Rich people don’t create demand. You and I create demand. Demand is what happens when the society has enough income to buy goods and services.

How does that happen? Where does income come from?

It comes from investment. It comes from people, you and me, going out and risking capital into projects today that we believe may deliver fruit in the morning. These are animal spirits unleashed. So if we are opening a shop, café or online business today, we believe that we will be able to gain enough business to make the returns to that business better in the future for us than if we did nothing today. In short, we back ourselves, our ideas and our own personal energy, drive and talent to create something out of nothing now that will be worth something far more than nothing tomorrow.

These are the animal spirits and these are both the will and wallet of capitalism.

First, people must have the will to take these risks, and second, we must have the wallet – or the means – to do so.

A recession destroys both the will and the wallet of commerce.

People, even the most resilient, get beaten down by the difficulties of a recession and if their capital has been destroyed by the downturn in asset prices, they will not have the wallet to back themselves.

Any political decisions that prolong this agony will destroy the animal spirits. This is why, obviously, debt forgiveness is a pro-business, pro-employment, capitalist policy as it accelerates the recovery in the commercial human spirit, which can be oppressed by too much debt.

It is also why very low interest rates help as they ease the cost of debt. Very low interest rates are a global phenomenon right now. For sure, the euro rates are extremely low but so too are British, Japanese and even American rates. These are instruments no Irish politician has any control over and therefore cannot be the subject of political instability.

Once the will and wallet of capitalism are pointing in the right direction, the forces of human nature and the animal spirits will take hold.

This is the process of economic recovery. It is a journey from pessimism to optimism that has very little to do with politicians, or business lobby groups for that matter.

The truth is, the will and wallet of capitalism are determined when the herd moves from greed to fear or from optimism to pessimism. It isn’t easy to explain. It just happens.

The State’s job is to hinder this natural process as little as possible – because it’s impossible to orchestrate. It stems from a form of irrationality.

Humans are unbelievably irrational animals, driven by all sorts of excitements, depressions, giddiness and mood swings.

Everything you do influences me, even though I don’t usually realise it. And my decisions affect you and vice-versa.

As JP Morgan observed: “Nothing so undermines your financial judgment as the sight of your neighbour getting rich.”

Equally, nothing puts the wind up you more than hearing a good friend has been laid off.

When we are optimistic, we are impossibly so. We think nothing can go wrong. We dismiss risk as something that doesn’t happen to us and we take the plunge confidently. And optimism is infectious.

We spend money we don’t have in the belief that our income is going to be bigger next year. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

In economics, this optimism is reflected in more borrowing, more spending, more investing and more debt because the animal spirits cause us to believe we are going to be richer tomorrow as a result of our own genius than we were yesterday. It is almost impossible to time when human nature changes, but we know that when it does the herd can move from pessimism to optimism quickly and unexpectedly.

After years of savings, pent-up demand is being released – and as this happens it becomes infectious. This is what is happening in Ireland right now: businesses are opening and unemployment is falling because ordinary people are buying, investing and backing themselves.

Taxes, as a result, are up and in general the economy is pointed in the right direction.

That’s about all we can say about the economy and this election.

  1. StephenKenny

    Optimism is a fine thing. Some of us even remember so far back as to remember the last time that we had such optimism.

    All systems require tension, and without an infrastructure that can produce ‘good commercial judgements’ we’re left with the money pouring back into the lowest risk, most tangible, and ‘market driven’ of investments. We live in them, and we work, if we do, in them.

    These at worst might lose half their value, whereas anything else has the risk of going to zero.

    It’s so 2000s, I’m almost expecting to wake up with more hair.

  2. Colm MacDonncha

    Which is why we need a government of balance ,where representatives can be called to heel when and if they screw it up. A coalition will always have a minority partner, and while the tail should not wag the dog,a smaller faction,be it left or right, should be able to counterbalance the opposite faction effectively. We have political representation of the worst type, the gombeen men and sleeveens who will sell their souls to stay in the Mercedes,and whose greatest fear is losing the bloated expense accounts and fat pensions that accompany office. Until our TDs cease to be exalted and overpaid, and being elected ceases to be the equivalent of a major lottery win, our Dáil will continue to be a den of incompetent,bumbling buffoonery orchestrated by banksters and big business.

  3. NeilW

    Somebody is showing their right wing credentials.

    The private sector can never create enough jobs. It is actually irrational for it to do so if you want it to work properly.

    Very simply imagine an economy where everything is made and done by robots and where the robots make themselves. Where is the money coming from to buy the output?

    So a fully productive economy is one that won’t work without somebody putting money into people’s hands first. So your choice is to put money into people’s hands, or wind back on your productivity to recreate a feudal system, or export your unemployed to somewhere more enlightened. Ireland appears to move between the last two.

    As Kalecki put it:

    “Every widening of state activity is looked upon by business with suspicion, but the creation of employment by government spending has a special aspect which makes the opposition particularly intense. Under a laissez-faire system the level of employment depends to a great extent on the so-called state of confidence. If this deteriorates, private investment declines, which results in a fall of output and employment (both directly and through the secondary effect of the fall in incomes upon consumption and investment). This gives the capitalists a powerful indirect control over government policy: everything which may shake the state of confidence must be carefully avoided because it would cause an economic crisis. But once the government learns the trick of increasing employment by its own purchases, this powerful controlling device loses its effectiveness. Hence budget deficits necessary to carry out government intervention must be regarded as perilous. The social function of the doctrine of ‘sound finance’ is to make the level of employment dependent on the state of confidence.”


    Nothing in this piece addresses the central signalling failure in a private economy. Those unemployed do not have the money to demand the products and services which would then cause them to be employed. And businesses do not have the crystal ball to get past the uncertainty.

    Therefore you need a circuit breaker. Which is what the state is there for.

    • Sideshow Bob

      There is an obvious bind going on here in that all new public debt except for bank related bail-outs of course is “verboten´´ by the EU. This works well for our sniveling, obsequious right leaning political class who have an excuse to stifle even debate on the use of State resources or even backing to lead in any way on re-investment and stimulus for the Economy in general. Present day election fantasy promises are the exception to this norm. It is always, and will always be, easier to blame faceless officials in Brussels rather than take some responsibility on the matter.

      An interesting lesson for us, I think, on the subject of relatively recent “circuit breaker´´ initiatives was the “Minha Casa Minha Vida´´( or MCMV; My Home My Life) Brazilian Social Housing programme, which was one specific element out of 6 wider Social and Infrastructural investment programme (called the PAC) instigated by the Brazilian Government in 2008/9 right after the Lehman´s implosion and the global financial meltdown.

      Between 2010-2015 Brazil delivered 2.1 million units Social Housing units and had contracted another 1.6 million units for delivery within 1-2 years for the general population. To compare this to the case of Ireland, which has 1/40th of the population of Brazil, this is the equivalent of the State here delivering 50K social housing units in 2010-2015 and having 40K in the pipeline to be delivered inside of 1-2 years. The actual Irish numbers for this period are 3.5K completions with almost nothing currently in the pipeline.

      The MCMV programme is still running in Brazil, though it is being scaled back. They pushed ahead with this originally in 2009, purposefully and deliberately without using external debt financing, or tricks like PPPs or off balance sheet debt vehicles, etc. The initiative benefited many smaller builders internally who were able to expand their operations solidly on the back of a mix guaranteed consistent income and cheaper borrowing costs via the State supports for the programme. It also has the result that right now in Brazil that is not a total collapse in construction and housing provision,too, despite other very serious and deep problems in the Economy there.

      It is instructive what a nation can do when it´s leadership chooses to make a stand on an issue. And that would have been a left wing government (the Partido Trabalhador, or Workers Party )too.

      Unsurprisingly the PT they are always subject to regular attack by right wing media elements, both in Brazil and abroad, with serious red-herring Economic arguments, and now more-so than ever.

      But what is new about that?

      ( Link to MCMV information in Portuguese: http://www.brasil.gov.br/infraestrutura/2015/05/minha-casa-minha-vida-atinge-3-857-milhoes-de-moradias )

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        “Unsurprisingly the PT they are always subject to regular attack by right wing media elements, both in Brazil and abroad”

        Ok, let’s look then not at right wing media elements in Brazil (which is what exactly?! – can you name one? – do you even speak Portuguese to read or watch the Brazilian media?), but at google trends in Brazil.

        After their debacle with following Kalecki’s advice, Ludwig von Mises is now searched more in Brazil than either John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman!

        • Sideshow Bob

          I don´t understand the following excerpt from your comment Grzegorz, nor your bringing in emigration to and from Brazil nor Galway into it in another comment. Could you rephrase it please and then I can attempt to answer.

          “Ok, let’s look then not at right wing media elements in Brazil, but at google trends in Brazil.´´

          And in regards to the following aside, mentioned above in the middle of the previous excerpt: “(which is what exactly?! – can you name one? – do you even speak Portuguese to read or watch the Brazilian media?)´´

          Band News(Canal Bandeirantes) is an obvious one they have a string of PDMB and PP connected commentators and analysts providing “opinion´´ to biased questions from sympathetic news anchors and hosts, and Folha and Estadão are little different in their bias, Globo is a bit better some of the time, and for your other questions the answers are yes, yes and yes.

          Links as follows in Portuguese:

          So, are you guilty of an attempt to play the man and not the ball here, Grzegorz?

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      How funny that contrary to what you claim, people usually emigrate – and get jobs in private sectors – from countries with big public sectors (Cuba, Poland 10 years ago, Ireland in the 80s) into countries with small public sectors (Thatcher’s Britain, Reagan’s US, today’s New Zealand and Australia, Singapore).

      “It is actually irrational for it to do so if you want it to work properly. ”

      Irrational is a strong word. Maybe you should get familiar with one of my earlier blog entries where I proved that Keynesian multiplier is based on irrational (that is incorrect) maths to see what is really irrational.

      As to Kalecki, the version of Keynesianism that he developed in the 1930s lacks any micro-foundation and is largely void of realistic content and it is even more irrational than Keynes’s.

      Even more so than Keynes, Kalecki’s gospel preached that its believers could turn water into wine. Government spending for whatever purpose (Keynes, for example, wrote that people should dig holes for the sake of digging and that would create prosperity) combined with mass consumption promised a most pleasurable way to prosperity in Kalecki’s uneducated Marxist mind.

      In particular, Brazil have embraced Kalecki’s dogmas, and how many Irish people emigrate to Brazil? Probably less than Brazilian people to Galway alone, even allowing for the size of population.

    • Robotics is the defining issue of the next decade. As Amazon automate and Apple no longer need suicide-proof dorms as robots don’t get depresse, we see the sham of Banker Capitalism’s naked arse revealed as the tide recedes.

      The clownish claims of ‘megacorp tech entrepreneurs’ who imagine themselves as free spirit buccaneers are swiftly debunked by calmly explaining that the www/internet simply would never have existed without public taxpayer largesse funding the military-industrial complex. All of the tech corps who rape digital culture for a quick buck, whilst avoiding corporate taxes in the Bahamas or the IFSC should be dressed in Pirates of the Caribbean costumery. As should their clown enablers: The real Plastic Paddies are sitting in the Dail.

      In fact, the bank suit is the new clown outfit. At least some of them have the balls to not give a damn about the Common People and their Herd Morality, mocking the Little People who pay taxes to fund their pseudo-innovation.

      When some suited’n'booted smart-arse/smart-alec shouts out ‘Fcuk you Jack!” I just hollaback “Elizabeth Warren!” and “You didn’t build that!” Then the prison bitches realise who’s Boss and lower their eyes and get back in line for the prison tuck-shop.

      Bankers with their pathetic PR lobbyist’s sandwich boards saying: “Will suck on the taxpayer teat or suck the 1% off for loose change like toothless tramps in the bus station. Shameless money sluts in the temple. Jayzus, somebody clear out the Augean Stables of international finance. Part 2 of the GFC is SO overdue…

      Having written all that, I do find some of them to be sexy when they are insouciant, shameless and so scandalous that you just have to smile in utterly non-PC admiration as they boast in the bar “I pulled it out of me arse!”

      “Dear Hero imprisoned…with all the new crimes that you are perfecting, well, I can’t help quoting you, because everything that you said rings true, Yahoo!….I am the last of the famous international banksters…David Drumm do you know my name? Oh, say you do…”

      “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

      — Barack Obama, C-SPAN, “You didn’t build that”

      “I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” Elizabeth Warren



      • McCawber

        Welcome to Utopia mate. That’s my ironic name for a future with no employment. How will 10bn people occupy themselves in about 30 years time. Not to mention the intervening years as world unemployment rises from 10% to 100%.
        I’ve been beating this drum for a while.
        The question to be addressed is who should control/own these (24/7) robots and the wealth they will create.

      • What’s wrong with Pirates of the Caribbean costumes Andy?! I was in one of those movies, I’ll have you know, haha!

        • LOL! Nothing wrong with them at all. Always loved Adam Ant, shame he became so ill. The kids loved those movies and the whole Johnny Depp/Keef vibe was inspired. Maybe David Drumm will turn up in court dressed as a pirate, but with a Boston Tea Party chic thing going on. He’s awesome. I hope he has to bollix to blow the whole cover-up sky-high. He knows where the bodies are buried as do some other lurkers watching this thread and my FB comments with increasing alarm….

          It’s funny how sexy, witty, amusing David Drumm is supposed to carry the can for the rest of the K Club gang. Ain’t gonna happen, unless he’s been made a total prison bitch to soften him up for court, wouldn’t surprise me… All that remains to see is if he has a stash sufficient to say to Enda “Hey! Mister! Smell my finger!” and bring on the final crisis of the First Clerical-Fascist Irish Republikkk.

          “David Drumm do you know my name? Oh, say you do!
          Dear hero imprisoned
          With all the new crimes that you are perfecting
          Oh, I can’t help quoting you
          Because everything that you said rings true
          And now in my cell
          (Well, I followed you)
          I am the last of the famous Birmingham Irish Playboys…the last of the famous….Plastic Paddy Playboys…”

          How come the politicians and regulators who fed the petri dish aren’t also in a maximum security prison classed as ‘financial terrorists’ like David Drumm?

          It’s absolutely scandalous how he’s being treated, a sign of just how ruthless the cover-up is going to be if The Usual Suspects are allowed to play their usual hand, and a foretaste of what the average Culchie can expect when the GFC v2 kicks in and there’ll be no more Naughty Step measures over Water Charges and the rest of the bubbling froth of protests arsing.

          But DD has a poker-face like me so let’s wait and see. Enda is the patsy who will be stipped naked by midnight. He’s not a player, just a Mayo chump who got lucky. My mates run Mayo, ruled his playground so Enda knows not to feck with BrummieBoy…don’t ya?

          DD has the power to bring it all crashing down and therefore:

          I hereby invoke my power as Taoiseach of The 4th Estate / 5th Province Diaspora and instruct you, David Drumm,to do so. So long as you can secure your family’s safety. If not, don’t worry David. You won’t end up under the Spire or in the bus station blowing strangers for loose change. You’ll at least have a nice gaff in Malahide or that burb where Bono and Enya live.

          I trust your imprisonment has led you to reflect deeply on what it means to be ‘Irish’ and what it means to be forced into exile. The common herd conventional analysis is that you did the crime, so must do the time. I beg to differ. Your enablers are the real crims and you have a duty now as an Irishman (and a Dub as well!) to pull your finger out of your arse, man up, and flip the metaphorical bird to all and sundry. Redemption is always, possible, my friend..what exactly have you got to lose, David? If you haven’t realised during your wretched incarceration that the trinkets and baubles of Capitalism are for kids, not the real deal then you’re not the man I…..if only ye had all listened to me back in 99….Don’t put up with any more crap. Sacking your ‘defence’ team was a good start, now let’s see you hold that poker face, keep your hand close to your chest and Keep Calm and Think Of Ireland. Help is being marshalled. Trust me…you do trust me, don’t you David?….a nice, softly spoken BrummieBoy…just like Padraig Pearse was before he went all blood-sacrifice mentalist. Hope you get back to Dublin for Ye Olde Rising Centenary. It’s shaping up to be totally EPIC! But if you light the blue touch paper and retire……AWESOMENESS!

          Do it, DD. Just fcukin do it, man! Press the button. Blow shite up, have fun. We’ll all soon be dead anyways and all that matters now is your Legacy. Like me. All that matters is The Legacy. Mine’s secure, your’s is a bit iffy, but….Redemption. It’s Lent, David. Repent….and force the other sinners to kneel and beg forgiveness whether in the Dail, Sinead, D4 or the K Club golf snugs here & in Portugal. Just got back from a week in Lisbon, actually. No idea what took me there…..LOLOLOLOLOLOL!

          with every good wish
          yours, in jubilo
          Mad Paddy From Brum

          oh, wait! The Election? Another comment soon come!

          “I’m asking the Court to let me out on bail on whatever conditions, restrictions, no matter how severe they have to be, so that I can be with my family, first of all, so that I can work and support my family, and that I can get through in an effective way this whole legal quagmire that I’m in…

          I’ve had 33 days in jail to think about it, there is no way on earth I can do that from a jail cell, it’s too complex a matter, hence, I’m beseeching the Court.” David Drumm



          • #Justice4DD #JailPoliticiansandRegulatorsToo

            “Suppose I told you that an Irish citizen was being held abroad on charges that have yet to be tried. Suppose this legally innocent citizen is locked up in a notoriously dangerous prison system, where prisoners are regularly subjected to violence and sexual assault. Suppose his lawyers claim he has had to be moved four times in two months because of concerns about his safety and that he is living in solitary confinement, a condition known to pose a serious risk to mental health.

            Suppose there is no evidence this Irish citizen himself poses any current risk to anyone and that he has offered to remain under secure house arrest. Suppose, finally, that in spite of all of this, the foreign government insists on holding him under harsh and dangerous conditions and that one of the reasons it gives for doing so is that it does not wish to offend the Irish government.
            If I told you all of this, you, being a decent human being, would surely feel that this situation stinks. But how do you feel when I mention that the name of the Irish citizen who has been stuck in it is David Drumm…… ”

            “Other than broad allegations of threats to his safety, we do not know what David Drumm has experienced in prison. But we do know the US prison system is a disgrace to a civilised country. Violence against prisoners is so common that a standard plot line in pretty much every cop show is the interrogation of a suspect being successfully concluded when the cops mock the kid with previews of the rape he will suffer in prison. Sexual assault is so under-reported because of fears of reprisal that official figures are meaningless, but respected studies suggest a minimum of 88,000 sexual assaults on prisoners a year, more than half of them committed by staff. Other forms of violence – beatings, stabbing and relentless psychological intimidation – are so commonplace as to be virtually routine.”

            I’ve never been raped but I know guys who have, the toughest kids on the block, often raped by cops as well as priests. Small Heath. Peaky Paddy Blinders….

            “remember, remember 21st November 1974…Boston..Belfast..Birmingham…so much to answer for..”

            If it transpires that the Irish Establishment have transpired to try and intimidate David Drumm into submission with threats of anal rape, the tortured him with solitary confinement, nobody should be even remotely surprised. Rape has been the motif of the first 100 years of the Cleric-Infested First Irish Republic. I will be lighting a candle for him at church later today in hopes that he is safe and has not been treated like all the rest of the vagrants, suspected criminals and dissidents thrown into Industrial Schools, asylums and prisons and buggered blind for daring to believe they too could be a playa, one of the big swinging dicks…

            What makes David Drumm’s fate/case so significant is that he was a Banker who rose from Skerries and thought he’d won the card game, only to find that when the chips were called in he was expected to strip naked and bend and spread. No lube. Whilst those who watched his rise, enabled his alleged crimes and then slithered away to secure retirements on the back of taxpayer funded bailouts have got off scott free.

            100 years ago David Drumm would be in Kilmainham awaiting execution. The regime change in 1916 was superficial and now they use Super Max Torture via their Plastic Paddy mates in Boston. Soldiers of Destiny? My arse.

            “the most important prosecution, arguably, in the history of the Irish State cause it refers to things which have had really profound historic consequences for Irish people…” Fintan O’Toole

            The Case Of David Drumm is epochal and in the future will be seen as far more important than today’s irrelevant election result.

            David, I hope you rise to the challenge and shows himself to be a real Irish Hero who will not be denied a fair trial by thugs in suits pretending to be politicians in a democracy. Whether you are indeed guilty of the alleged crimes or not is now an irrelevant side-show. Ireland has shown it’s true colours by it’s treatment of you. Nothing has changed. 100 years wasted.



      • oe1

        On robotics and automation, the benefits of machines in comparison to humans, is that they don’t require pay and don’t need to commute to work. The value they create goes directly back into the owners pocket. So if this value is taxed, it can be paid to fund displaced workers do other things, be it social welfare or further education and training to do other work. This is how machinery has improved and benefited society since the industrial revolution. In general the quality of our lives has improved due to technology.

        What this probably means is that people should have more spare time and maybe we could and should all have an extra day off at the weekend in the future. One for doing those jobs around the house, another for activities and excercise, and another for socialising and family events. Why is a 5 day week so good?

        So IMO we need to embrace this new automation but have much greater regulation and taxation so that everyone gets a fair return from it.

  4. ChiChi31181

    I liked this article but I do feel that government should be taking this opportunity of extremely low interest rates to spend on revenue generating assets for the future good of the nation. This could be a separate investment branch of government that builds for example the Cork to Limerick road. They could stick a toll on it (I know I don’t like paying them either but I do like driving on motor ways) and in 30 years time it would have more than paid for itself in the revenue it has generated. That does not even include the helpful economic effect that it would have by creating jobs today during construction and improving our infrastructure. Additionally the same investment vehicle could be used to start building literally thousands of off shore wind turbines. We could have the potential value of our off shore power generation valued by PwC/EY etc as potentially worth billions. Use this valuation to raise bonds to build them today. We would then have created revenue generating assets that would pay for themselves in time. Again we could build thousands of them and sell the excess energy to Europe. It would create jobs today and revenue in the future and you could use the revenue created to pay the interest on the debt and the capital repayment in 30 years time. Who is to say that they would not last longer than 30 years creating revenue well into the future. I believe the government should also step in to resolve the current housing crisis (how we got back to this situation is ludicrous) They could force NAMA to hand over land and build houses/apts etc and sell them to ordinary people at low fixed rate mortgage for cost + 10%. You could then designate 10% as social housing. Of course people sometimes get annoyed with paying high taxes when they see their money wasted and that is a very valid criticism and concern. I believe there should be openness when it comes to government spending so we can see the value that is being created and just because some money is wasted it does not mean all government spending is bad.

  5. hasbeen

    Surprised at you David, the people who tanked the Greek economy were Fine Gael’s EPP friends in New Democracy when they cooked the books with the help of major international banks, not a Leftie-inspired government. PASOK had the misfortune to win the election and open a can of economic worms that devoured it. SYRIZA are a result of and a response to the Greek tragedy, not the cause of it. New Democracy are back as a power in the Greek parliament, a bit like Fianna Fail here. The Greeks must have even shorter memories than us

  6. Sideshow Bob

    David McW,

    A timely and reflective piece of writing here. However, as I see it, as it stands we are set up to fail again, and a return to boom/bust, in particular in relation to the key economic dynamo of property, seems inevitable.

    On a societal level this failure could manifest itself in even bigger ways than ever before, in continued emigration and in regional and social division.

    The big reason that I say all of this is that despite of the property crash of 2008 our understanding of the role of housing in society, financial considerations around property in general, and Irish urbanism for the 21st century have not been altered nor revised in the least way since that crash. Nothing significant had=s been questioned not to mind changed in any way. The underlying issues that existed prior to then still exist, indeed the situation could well be worse this time around, as all figures available right now for existing viable planning permissions and the output and capacity of the building industry are still really shocking. Whether you like it or hate it, development is key to growth and our ability to adapt. This structural weakness will have serious repercussions for any recovery and drive it in a particular direction and at best a very familiar one.

  7. Deco

    If we want the economy to grow, we should vote for the politicians that promise us least


    There has been an avalanche of excessive promises from the politicians inside 3 weeks.

    It constitutes the biggest collective insult to the intelligence of the people since Irish Water.

    Cheap housing ?

    why stop there ? What about cheep booze, cheap cigarettes, cheap burger & fries ?

    The EU wants Irish housing to be expensive. All those promising cheap housing are supportive of more imperial dictats.

    Looking at the ballot paper, they are all a collection of lying chancers.

    • Deco

      There is a fundamental lie in the political promises.

      And we know that at the end of the day they will obey Brussels, and ignore the people.

  8. Deco

    A very common promise from Irish politicians is that they will make the rich pay for the poor. This is completely dishonest.

    The rich are far too powerful to be asked to pay. In fact the rich are so powerful, that they can get the EU to produce instructions that the rich are to be subsidized – as evidenced in the various “bailouts”.

    The real truth of the matter is that the politicians are good at making the workers pay for everybdoy else.

    So here we are 100 years on from 1916, and the left in Ireland wants the workers to be sucked dry. So that money can be given to the rest.

    Marxism is the enemy of the worker. Not the liberator.

    And nowhere do we see this at it most ridiculous than in the Trotskyite element in Irish politics. Behind all the talk about “worker” are a collection of dossers with a megaphone in front of their mouths.

    I really don’t get why people buy this sort of nonsense.

  9. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    “Unlike Greece, Ireland’s woes were not a result of Leftie-inspired government spending too much. Ireland’s disaster was caused by people who agitated for lower taxes, lower regulation, lower government spending”.

    Ehm, no, you appear to be wrong on that one.

    The current expenditure has grown in nominal terms by 138pc between 2000 and 2009, whereas the GDP has grown nominally only by 72pc.

    Even Mr. Micheál Martin has admitted (at his first Ardfheis with him as the leader) that their major mistake was that FF had overspent and run this country into debt, but now he changed his spiel and he criticises FG for not spending enough.

    Ireland’s disaster was caused by people who agitated for LOWER TAXES, LOWER REGULATION AND HIGHER PUBLIC SPENDING FOR BORROWED MONEY, making both the nationals and non-nationals working in this country slaves to their mortgages and upward-only rents, in order to finance things like benchmarking, as well as profligate lifestyle of the reckless or lucky-born, with their plasma screens, houses in Bulgaria or Krakow bought for speculation, and eating/drinking more than they could puke during their weekends in 4 star hotels, where people in Armani suits behaved not that dissimilarly from the worst of the worst of bogus asylum seekers in Germany.

    David writes:

    “Where does income come from?

    It comes from investment.”


    But if investment comes from borrowing (as Keyenes advocated) and not from savings (as the Austrian School advocates), then you end up with a population in debt per capita over 8 times as big even as in too-big-to-fail US (that is, Ireland under FF regime).

    By the way, the term “animal spirits” that Keynes used is not necessarily a positive one; rather it is a blind, irrational drive underlying the world of phenomena, like Schopenhauer’s Will.

    He writes:

    “Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations, whether moral or hedonistic or economic. Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits—a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.”

    Keynes, John M. (1936). The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. London. Macmillan. pp. 161-162.

    One cannot help but noticing that Schopenhauer himself advocated that we should renounce that blind drive, either by engaging in contemplation of works of art, empathy or ascesis – precisely the traits the Irish banksters, trade unionists, developers and FF old guard were lacking.

    Keynes was not that educated though and he took the phrase “animal spirits” from Wodehouse’s 1909 book “Mike” (later republished in two parts as “Mike at Wrykyn” and “Mike and Psmith”).

    “Animal spirits” denoted an adolescent attitude to authority that resulted in exhortation of the rules to the point of stretching the letter of any regulations involved to the limit, like Deutsche Bank or Anglo-Irish nowadays.

    “Then what did you MEAN by putting it there?” roared Mr. Downing.

    “Animal spirits, sir,” said Psmith.
    “Animal spirits, sir.”

    —?Mike, Chapter LI.

    In John Coates’s book “The hour between dog and wolf: risk-taking, gut feelings and the biology of boom and bust” (1st American ed.). New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1594203381 it is claimed that qualities such as dynamism and leadership coexist with less constructive traits such as recklessness, heedlessness, and in-caution.

    That’s exactly the opposite of what we need from the future Taoiseach.

    Not “if I have it, I’ll spend it”

  10. Reality Check

    Forest for the trees – I fear for the EU this spring/summer – hordes of invading rapefugees that will make the last year seem like the salad days.

    Will the lackey Irish Govt accept them because the “house is full” and Merkel worries about losing the election in Germany?

    Before you vote, Ask yourself; Which parties are against Open Borders and Political correctness?

    Which Parties are not the Globalists’lackeys?

    The Irish election is meaningless.

  11. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    My short opinion on politicians and political parties in Ireland following the debates.

    1. FG/Labour.

    I cannot express it in a better way than Mr. John Leahy from Cork in his excellent letter to the Irish Independent:


    The only thing I can add is that I think that the coalition have just been lucky in that their Dublin-limited recovery (recovery measured only in cooked unemployment numbers and bubble in assets prices, not in labour participation rate numbers and emigration statistics).

    If any other from 4 big parties was in power, it probably would not have been much different.

    If you look at the labour participation rate, you will see that less people are working now than when FG/Labour took power:


    As to FG’s proposal to support Credit Union mortgages – I would like that, except the credit unions are not in a position to offer mortgages from a regulatory point of view; would credit unions be prepared to repossess a member’s home?

    2. FF.

    Fianna Fáil is advocating giving more power to banksters than FG – it wants to get the Central Bank involved in setting interest rates (while Fine Gael is hoping competition in the market will resolve the issue).

    FF also wants a low-paid earner help a better paid worker get a deposit by capping rates to zero, which btw is not in accordance with regulator’s job.

    I like Mr. Micheál Martin as a person, this is what SF and Labour should have in mind while electing their leaders. But managing the state is not about liking, it is about taking responsibility and FF was not held accountable for anything.

    His Cork accent comes out more when he is nervous, like in his recent Newstalk interview. I know an excellent voice coach, Mr. Martin, who would help you to hide it, as you have been trying. I can contact you with her for a very small fee.

    3. Labour.

    Labour proposes a tax on undeveloped sites, which would make it even more difficult for NAMA to sell such parcels of land.

    Labour’s policies are addressed mainly to public servants and long-term unemployed not actively looking for work (only long-term unemployed and not participating in courses and internships were available for Labour’s Christmas Bonus).

    They have also made it much more difficult for single mothers to apply for part-time jobs, which I wrote about some time ago.

    4. Sinn Féin.

    Some desiderata of SF are surprisingly sound in terms of pricking the assets bubble – like greater capital requirements. Sadly, as the banks are state-owned – as SF wanted – it would cost taxpayers money and reduce the value of these banks (also, I wonder whether SF would have allowed the Irish budget to be read in Bundestag before TDs can read it).

    Most of them are unsound though. Sinn Fein’s manifesto bristles with the promise of more taxation. Despite Ireland having Europe’s most progressive income tax regime, Sinn Fein wants to raise income tax further – though their position on that is unclear as Mr. Adams is unable to answer any single question on that (I remember he once wanted the corporations in Ireland to pay 50pc tax), as he is unable to remember any data or who Senator Máiría Cahil is.

    This is not surprising, given that some of their candidates do not seem have good command of English; i.e., on the Claire Byrne show on Radio One on Saturday last December, Ms O’Reilly was unable, for five minutes, to understand a very simple question that required a simple yes or no response: Did she condemn the killing of Garda McCabe?

    “War is very, very complicated”

    “I also don’t think that it is what people want to hear”

    FF or SF, though shalt not steal or though shalt not kill; which one to choose? One is sure – it’s hard to expect any of these two parties to be transparent.

    Having said that, I am slightly taken aback as to Irish media treatment of Sinn Féin. “Gerry Adams, stop talking”. Mrs. Miriam O’Callaghan has the right to disdain Mr. Adams, but as a professional, she should not show it.

    Miriam bimbo, stop forcing us to pay you racket money called the TV license so that you can spread the property developers propaganda while enjoying your lavish bimbo lifestyle. Mr. Adams, not Gerry Adams. What bad manners. You must have been very badly brought up. You should learn better manners and less arrogance from your more talented colleagues, Ms. Claire Byrne and Mr. Pat Kenny.

    Coming back to Sinn Féin, they want to model themselves on socialist France. If they had wiser leaders, they would know that the French solidarity tax on capital has been calculated by French economic professor Eric Pichet to have cost 50 times more in capital lost to the French economy.

    In Ireland’s case it would be 1 per cent per annum of GDP for a wealth tax collecting half that amount.

    Denis Healey, the British Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Callaghan Government 1974-1976 (he ignored his own treasury officials) wrote in his 1989 memoirs:

    “Another lesson was that you should never commit yourself in Opposition to new taxes unless you have a very good idea how they will operate in practice. We had committed ourselves to a wealth tax: but in five years I found it impossible to draft one which would yield enough revenue to be worth the administrative cost and political hassle.”

    As to Sinn Féin ideology, one thing I like about it is the pro-sovereign stance. They were the only big party to warn about the Lisbon Treaty.

    However, I am afraid that with their economic illiteracy (only Mr. Pearse Doherty seems to have any clue) they would be very easily duped in their negotiations with Brussels, and Ireland would end up begging for loans from countries like Russia or China.

    They should work more on their ideology too (maybe their leaders should turn to me for grinds in political philosophy?), as reading James Connolly would only get them thus far – that is to a situation like in Greece.

    Sinn Féin ideology is not even nationalism in the traditional sense (like among the nationalists in Poland or in France), but something much less coherent, more akin to an angry mood of a drunk poet than an ideology – a narrative of righteousness, victimhood, hypocrisy, envy and self-pity, from which moral ground they launch their attacks on economic calculus. I actually voted once for Mary Lou in PE elections – ONLY because of their anti Lisbon Treaty stance – even though, from an economic point of view, she is almost a Communist and she voted in the EU Parliament to hide her expenses – but looking at Mr. Adams and his inability to answer simple questions, I think their blew their one and only chance to be the biggest party in the centenary of Easter Rising.

    It may be even too late to replace Mr. Adams with Mr. Doherty as a leader now – time is not in their favour, which cannot be said about Mr. Stephen Donnelly or Ms. Lucinda Creighton, my favourite.

    5. Mr. Stephen Donnelly and Ms. Lucinda Creighton.

    The two most articulate figures in the debate. If the Irish left and the Irish right were like that, our political debates would have been more substantive. Pity they only run for their own seats, realistically.

  12. McCawber

    David the heading on this article:-
    “If we want the economy to grow, we should vote for the politicians that promise us least”
    I would have preferred something like:-
    If we want the economy to grow, we should vote for the politicians that promise us more for less.
    Spell it out man. The state is damned inefficient.
    It’s overweight and with that excess weight comes things like “free” pensions for state employees that push up the cost of everything else for everyone else.
    The single most important thing any government can do is reduce the numbers in state employment and a lot of positives would come from that simple policy.

    As an aside – How is this for timing.
    I got my Water Bill reminder via email today.
    It begs two questions.
    Is this earlier than usual or did the government totally overlook this when setting the date for the election.
    It’s either sabotage or a further indication of incompetence by FG/Labour.
    I was going to vote FG/Labour but jaysus if they are that incompetent it would really make me wonder.
    If it’s sabotage then I’m not surprised.

    Well guys what do you think, which is it? Sabotage or Gross Incompetence or BOTH.

  13. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    “Well guys what do you think, which is it? Sabotage or Gross Incompetence or BOTH.”

    I do not believe it’s sabotage. I tell you though what I see as sabotage:


    I think it’s gas that the otherwise charming Fine Gael candidate, Ms. Kate O’Connell, should have picked up on that in case of Fine Gael’s renegate (and the papers should have hyped it up to main headlines) GIVEN THAT ALL FINE GAEL MEPs AND THEIR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HAVE VOTED IN THE PAST TO MAKE THEIR EXPENSES IN THE EU PARLIAMENT SECRET – a story brought up by me to RTE’s attention during one of previous presidential debates.

  14. goldbug



    SEE ANNEX 1 ->


  15. mike flannelly

    ” debt forgiveness is a pro-business, pro-employment, capitalist policy as it accelerates the recovery in the commercial human spirit, which can be oppressed by too much debt.”

    I voted FG in the last two elections. Then Enda went to Davos and told the world that Irish people went MAD. Enda told us that FF wrecked the economy.

    Now I have to agree with Micheal Martin
    It was GROSSLY OVERVALUED – UP FRONT BONUS – BANKERS VALUED DEBT – that wrecked the economy. – False Value Debt.

    Not FF.
    Not Building Houses.

    It was the “DEBT” on Commercial Property, Land Banks, Houses and Apartments that wrecked the economy.

    My party FG, with ALL the benefit of hindsight were in charge for FIVE years of the RESPONSE to the DEBT CRISIS.

    The MAJORITY of Irish families with overvalued debt did NOT look for debt forgiveness. They did look for ” debt restructuring” in the form of interest only payments or split mortgage restructures.

    The big Bank/ FG/Lab “SPIN” was that there are some that cant pay “high debt ratio mortgages” and ” some BAD people that wont pay ” high debt ratio mortgages”


    Failed Irish 2003 to 2010 Bankers (same 2016 Irish Bankers) insisted on voluntary sales or reposessions as the ONLY options of RESTRUCTURING grossly overvalued high debt ratio mortgages.

    Mortgages that did not meet the needs or objectives of bank customers were NOT restructured. This has had a knock on effect on consumer confidence, Irish mental health and the domestic economy.

    Failed Firesale/Repossession Bankers are now boasting of 1.5 bn profits in 2015.

    A LONG TERM sustainable banking view of restructuring 2003 to 2010 high ratio debt would reduce todays short term profits to probably .5 bn for each pillar bank, but have a multiplier effect of boosting Irelands domestic economy and their long term profits. This would also help reduce the mental health carnage caused by the Irish bankers abuse to Irish state.

    Tomorrow I will try to vote for someone that has some concept of FAIRNESS for the greater public good.
    Someone that will shout STOP to any decisions that are not for the greater public good. A normal person that has an interest in creating a reasonably fair system for the next generation.

    Reasonably Low interest rates to build shelter needs.
    Reasonably Low interest rates for couples to service their shelter needs and enjoy their lives together. To be able to smell the roses as they go down the fairway of life without anxiety of high debt ratios.
    No more than 1% profit for Irish Bankers on shelter need mortgages.

    An end to the emperors new suit style Irish banker with their bogus customer abuse profit growth.

    • McCawber

      The BERTIE word and the flagrant disregard for economic management seems to be missing in your narrative.
      Long before the crash the question was being asked.
      Can Ireland manage a boom?
      The bankers were willing accomplices.

      • coldblow

        My memory tells me that before the election before last, that is during the boom, the election where Dunphy, Waters and Harris famously discussed Ahern on the Late Late and Harris won it for him, my memory tells me that both FG and Labour made big spending promises and would have done little if anything different from FF. Where does this ‘BERTIE’ stuff come in?

        • McCawber

          The Bertie stuff is the 10years of economic mismanagement prior to your point in time memory.
          While FG et al were making promises Bertie et al were actually doing something.
          THEY were WRECKING our economy and OUR lives.

          • coldblow

            They would have done the same as them (wouldn’t they?) so what is the point in singling out FF and Bertie? FG and Labour made a big deal at the last election about ethics. Again, have their ethics been any better? Also, now I think of it, didn’t the Euro have a lot to do with it as well?

  16. The article is a bit of a filler, it goes around and around in circles. Oh well, can’t be fantastic all the time.

  17. Debt is a major problem.
    People in debt have spent tomorrow’s earnings today. Consequently there is less income next year than would have been the case than if there had been no debt.

    The largest debts are created by the production of money. Namely the central banks and their surrogates the commercial banks. 98% of our money is created as a debt and on which interest is paid.

    If borrowing today spends tomorrow’s income then having the whole world in debt will surely mean that there is far less income to spend than is actually earned.
    That is the banking system creams off the productivity of the people. It is virtually impossible to save under such conditions.

    If one wishes to start an enterprise it means one is almost certain to have to borrow from the beginning. There is no buffer for a mistake. Bankruptcy is almost assured.

    The basic problem being debt one would have thought that getting rid of the debt would be the first action of a sane people. The best way to be rid of debt is not to default but to not have it to start with.

    The best way to get rid of the debt is to reform the money system. Fire the Central Bankers. Issue money from treasury debt free with zero interest.
    Pay off the national debt . Reduce the government expense of interest payments. Reduce or eliminate income tax. The debts will be reduced throughout the economy and result in less individual debt too. More saving should result in more money to invest, greater startups and an improved economy.

    The place to start is the Money system. Reform the system to honest money and all the debts and derivatives are not possible. Now that would be simply a lot better world than the one we live in currently. Putting the same old tired politicians into power will solve nothing.

  18. survivalist

    There is a lot of the usual corporate/business propaganda seeping through here. ‘What’s good for business is good for you’ presents the usual lie that business exists to create employment, provide income, or generally spread happiness rather than to make profit via any means possible which literally includes killing its customers and/or workers to that end.

    If the business lobby is warning that a hung Dáil ‘might be’ bad for business then this validation of corporate approval for the status quo coming at a time when the peoples quality of life has been measurably undermined should be all the evidence anyone needs to see that business is booming and it comes directly at the peoples expense.

    The extreme Left has never delivered on its societal promises? Who ever has? And what are the promises of the EXTREME Left? Or is the left by definition extreme.

    I am simply bewildered by the assertion that “after years of savings, pent-up demand is being released – and as this happens it becomes infectious”. Household savings are lower now than in 2009/10/11/12 and are only 0.1-0.2% above what they were in 2013/2014. Savings just aren’t there. How could they be after the persistent decline in wages since 2009?

    What is more; it was not savings that drove spending in our boom, but debt/credit, which was foisted on the people.

    What ‘destroyed’ the economy then was the financial sectors avarice and the pro-business governments (aka FF though not unique to Ireland) who engendered 20 years of uninterrupted corruption aka corporate friendly operations.

    The destruction of the economy is synonymous with a corporate wealth grab which has seen global wealth stocks nearly doubling over the past 15 years from $160 trillion in 2000 to $267 trillion in 2015. The GFC/ depression was nothing more than a well-planned heist.

  19. That is, since the Brexit debate has emerged) gold is up 22% in pound terms, and the ascent is steepening.


    Millions of Brits will be wishing they had bought gold as the pound crashes!!!!!!

    • How many millions of Brits do you seriously imagine are in any position to have a gold position, Tony Brogan?

      I’ve just got back from London after the AFC vs Barca game and I can assure you most folk in Holloway and Walthamstow aren’t worrying about how they missed out on gold, they are worrying about how they will cope with being part of the Precariat. And I’m talking about my Middle Class mates as well who now realise their house-price gains will evaporate as Sterling is deliberately tanked and they have to pay for health-care once the NHS is dismantled after the current planned demolition.

      Those of us fortunate to have metal and BitCoin holdings aren’t representative. Most people are wage slaves and it’s getting worse on almost every level, other than the credit taps being turned on to buy more STUFF to pile into already crammed wardrobes.

      Millions of Brits will be wishing they had some power over their lives. WAIT! They do, if they vote FcUKEU and stick it to the Bankster cliques in the City and Frankfurt. Somehow I can’t imagine the English putting up with a Lisbon Treaty ReVote scam from their politicians. The Scottish may have bottled it but The English are in the mood for mayhem and just as when they told Hitler to fcuk off, they won’t care if they have gold hidden under the floorboards because they are a real Tribe, not like the Irish who have given it all away. Ah, yes! Today is Election Day. Now, should Paddy vote for FF/FG? What a difficult decision for ye all…here’s a song to ponder whilst you ruminate on your island-born-or-island-dwelling fate. You live in Canada, right? So, it’s none of your business or mine as we all know the real Plastic Paddies are found abroad, not sitting in the Dail, eh?

      Do you recall
      Some years ago?
      Up in the mountains that were white with snow
      Inside a cavern
      Mcdougal he was plannin’
      There’s gonna be a showdown with somebody he knows.

      Well he’s been there
      A year or so
      Something will happen very soon I know
      I hear him playin’ his bagpipes every mornin’
      I think that it’s a warmin’
      He’s gathering the clan.

      Soon you’ll hear the sound of people shouting
      You will see the claymores in their hands
      If you knew the reason for their fighting
      You would never understand.

      Tweedle Dee
      Oh Tweedle Dum.
      The tune Mcdougal always used to hum
      While he was fightin’ his rival clan Mcgregor
      Dishonour he would never
      The tartan of his clan.

      Do you recall
      Some years ago?
      Up in the mountains that were white with snow
      Inside a cavern
      Mcdougal he was plannin’
      There’s gonna be a showdown with somebody he knows.

      Soon you’ll hear the sound of people shouting
      You will see the claymores in their hands
      If you knew the reason for their fighting
      You would never understand.

      Tweedle Dee
      Oh Tweedle Dum.
      The tune Mcdougal always used to hum
      While he was fightin’ his rival clan Mcgregor
      Dishonour he would never
      The tartan of his clan

      Caution: NSFW if you’re reading this in the ‘Iona Institute’ as it contains blonde bint in hot pants….

      Middle Of The Road Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum


      • “How many millions of Brits do you seriously imagine are in any position to have a gold position, Tony Brogan?
        I’ve just got back from London after the AFC vs Barca game and I can assure you most folk in Holloway and Walthamstow aren’t worrying about how they missed out on gold, they are worrying about how they will cope with being part of the Precariat”

        The price of a ticket to “the Game” could be substituted. A season ticket would go a fair way, a substitution, and the morning latte, would soon contribute to a solid investment. Most prefer bread and circuses. Most will vote for the same old same old.

        Nobody here has mentioned DDI as a possible choice in lieu of the same old. Eventually people get the politicians they deserve.

        Have fun Brummie Boy. You are right, I here in Canada have no business in the affairs or votes in Ireland. It is a pity really but then nobody listens to me anyway and my opinions and voting preferences go floating of into the void without consequence.

        My only real satisfaction is “I told you so, so don’t blame me for your problems.”

      • StephenKenny

        “They do, if they vote FcUKEU and stick it to the Bankster cliques in the City and Frankfurt.”

        It’s 10 to 15 years too late to do anything about that. All the money’s gone, the continuing growth of the debts and liabilities built up over the last 15 years are necessary just to keep the current system even faintly in place.

        Getting rid of the ‘Bankster clique’ now would result in a requirement for something like a 15%-20% cut in government expenditure. It would also cause the only other functional part of the UK economy, real estate speculation, to implode.

        Given the state of the UK media, I would think that the only thing to do is to learn to enjoy what the civil service, legal system, and electorate, have so enthusiastically created, a country that is increasingly looking like the Regency, in terms of wealth division. A country of a minute elite, and a sprawling, increasingly impoverished and decreasingly educated, underclass.

  20. This is the budget for BC.


    It shows a modest surplus for each of the next 3 years.
    Nationally the Trudeau government made heavy plans. The national Budget was basically balanced before the Liberals but is now projected to be a deficit 18 Billion. Alberta , with the oil bust is negative 10 billion. Ontario is Negative 10 Billion if I remember the figure correctly, including capital expenditure.


    • Deco

      Trudeau – nothing more than a pretty face.


      Oh, Canada………weighed down by a massive problem called debt, and with a celebrity prime minister, in charge.

      This is not going to end well.

      • We have no bust as we are so well managed. Canadians are so inherently conservative. That is why when I enquired , I found people had refinanced their mortgages 3-4 times over ten years.

  21. How to run a budget off the road


    “A MARK OF THEIR DESPERATION: Illinois’ state budget and pension fund crisis is the worst in the US, save for California. From a friend who lives across the border in Indiana comes this mark of their desperation. The utility company cut off electricity to the Illinois State Police outposts for failure to pay the bill. My friend also drives an agricultural truck through Illinois & says they are setting up roadside scales, stopping every truck, and ticketing and fining if loads are even 100 lb. over limit. Clearly they are desperate for revenue.”

  22. McCawber

    It has been a very listless election campaign.

    By contrast how much fun is The Donald v Hilary going to be. Assumptions assumed

  23. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    So folks, I wonder who is David voting for – if he is voting? I doubt he will ever tell us, so any guesses?

    I reckon, based on his recent articles, his heart is with Mr. Stephen Donnelly, but he might vote for Fine Gael, given their chances (btw, do you think that Prime Minister’s Cameron for An Taoiseach Enda Kenny might actually do some damage to Fine Gael lol)?

    Surely he cannot be voting for the Party That Dares Not Speak Its Name (that is Fianna Fáil, forgiven by the short-memoried electorate for all their sins and trespasses even quicker than post-Communists for their bigger sins in Poland) – or?

    Who are yous voting for?

    Are any of yous living abroad coming back home in order to vote?

    Because I doubt there would be many brave readers revealing who they are voting for (and Adam is obviously going to say that he does not give a damn about politics in Ireland :-), I am going to come out of my shell first (my “coming out comment” lol) and bravely admit that I had once voted in the EU Parliament Elections for Libertas as my first preference (the funny thing is that Libertas, having invested some money in their campaign in Poland, failed miserably because there were other parties which were much more pro-free market or conservative or both than Libertas) and Sinn Féin (the then anti-Lisbon Treaty Ms. Mary Lou, even though economically I’d say we are almost the opposites) as my second preference; and I also have some vague memories of voting for Fine Gael, perhaps in the Ahern era (but I do not remember whether this was my first or second preference) and for my collegue from a chess club from Labour, the latter purely because he was consistently beating me in chess left, right and centre (little I knew that he had received tuitions from a Grandmaster and that he would grew rather arrogant as a Councillor, to a point of asking my then girlfriend to hold something for him for a moment and not coming back for another half an hour, which occasioned her response to his off-hand thank you, and I quote, “asshole”).

    Had I registered, I probably would vote for Renua in this election, mainly because Ms. Lucinda Creighton was the only one in the debate to take the anti property assets bubble stance (a normal economy is not an economy where salaries are getting bigger and bigger and houses and stocks go up more and more which runs new generations in more and more debt; a normal country is a country where everything gets cheaper and cheaper, but wages slightly less so than products (19th century US) and a country becomes more and more competitive).

    Instead, Ireland has plummeted down in terms of ease of doing business under the Fine Gael/Labour:


    It’s strange that David is not as vociferous in terms of pricking the property bubble (except for his idea of rent controls, which I disagree with) as he was in 2002; and he does not seem to be too worried about Ireland’s competitiveness going to the dogs while everyone is pushing for higher salaries, higher house prices, higher food prices, and – a fortiory – higher emigration to cheaper destinations of those who do not benefit from this state of affairs – btw, one of the reasons Mr. Korwin-Mikke can never make in Polish politics is because h a l f of his former supporters have emigrated to Asia).

    So I think we need to freshen up the Dáil (and Sinn Féin definitely needs to freshen themselves up because they are going arseways – losing their biggest chance ever – with their current leader, who is not only against the 800 years of occupation, but even against 3000 years of elementary arithmetic operations, as proven during all debates)…


    1. Who in your opinion will David vote for?

    2. Who will you vote for?

    Will anyone else come out (pun not intended)?

    • Hi Grzegorz,

      Actually, if I was in Ireland I WOULD vote just for the hell of it. I’ve only voted a couple of times in my life so why not – I don’t think it makes that much difference but I don’t see the harm in it.

      In my constituency, where Lucan is situated I would go for Eoin O’Broin of Sinn Fein first – superb candidate – very smart, thoughtful, intellectual, broadly honest (as much as a politican is likely to be!) and an extremely hard worker.

      After that I’d probably give votes to the Independents.

      Nothing to FF, FG or Labour – never, no way. Nem, nem, soha!

      If I was in a different constituency where there was a better Independent than the Sinn Fein candidate – then the Independent would be placed first by me, but the Sinn Fein candidate would still get a second or third or whatever, probably a second.

      I’m 100% sure that David will vote no 1. for Stephen Donnelly (assuming I am correct in thinking that he is in David’s constituency) although David would never admit that in public and I can understand his reasons why. He’d tell you in private over a pint though – I know that much if past experience is anything to go by and I respect him for that.

      I’ve reversed the answers for you Grzegorz, allow me that courtesy.

      Thanks, Adam.

      • PS. What did he ask her to hold? That is the crux of the matter.

        Was it only ‘resting’ in her account?

      • “a normal country is a country where everything gets cheaper and cheaper, but wages slightly less so than products (19th century US) and a country becomes more and more competitive).”


      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        Thanks Adam, a thoughtful answer.

        “I’m 100% sure that David will vote no 1. for Stephen Donnelly”

        Would Stephen Donnelly though, with his meandering from liberalism to social-democracy, support David, if he was running ;-)?

        I have a feeling Mr Donnelly is goeing for himself (though he gave a nice bollocking to a German ambassador on Newstalk fm).

        With Sinn Féin, I once attended one of their major rallies, and was sitting perhaps 5 meters opposite their leaders (second row) – so some of my jargogled collegues saw me on 6 o’clock news, and had a laugh for like a month.

        Came back with mixed feelings – Erin go Bragh, yea, I am in favour of sovereign Ireland – but overall, the whole thing felt too much like a 1980s trade union meeting, Ms Mary Lou McDonald in particular, and the maddest lefty of them all, Mr Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who was nearly spiting while speaking.

        I did notice though they tend too attract the most patriotic youth – them and the pro-life young people, on the opposite side of the spectrum.

        • coldblow

          Aengus used to work behind the bar in Club an Chonratha i Sráid Fhearchair tráth. He didn’t smile much. Actually I don’t think I ever saw him smile. But he was straight and decent and you can’t say that about all barmen. He’d even pull you a pint after time but you wouldn’t push your luck. God preserve me from hearing his brothers’ group, Kíla although a lot of people like them. His father was a small independent Gaelic language publisher (Coiscéim) and I read quite a few decent books from them. His mother, a sculptor, used to preside over an ciorcal comhrá on a Monday night. This was more a literary circle than talking about how one likes hill walking or films. In fact, Clíodhna used to generally choose books from Coiscéim and you’d sometimes get a free copy. I discovered all this soon after I arrived off the boat, going in the opposite direction to the flow, and it was a great time. Now I have regular and pensionable employment I think of Ó Direáin’s poem Stoite which talks about how his ancestors in Árainn (Inishmore) would build something of stone that would survive after them while he, a civil servant, and his ilk left nothing but piles of dusty files.

          It ends something like this:

          Carnán trodán
          Faoi ualach deannaigh
          Inár ndiaidh
          In oifig stáit

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            “But he was straight and decent” – he must have changed then:


            “In oifig stáit”

            Hmm… Not with Mary&Gerry. Never, never, never ;-)

            Just go their bookshops – Lenin, Marx, Connolly writing to Lenin, Trotsky, and now gay marriage.

            Are economists banned from leadership positions in Sinn Féin? Even Pearse Doherty is not an economist, though he says he is.

            He is a smart lad though. I like him.

            Mr. Adams cost them 10 seats, says Bertie?

            More like 50. Look at Law and Justice in Poland – ALL media against them, in Poland and abroad, and 235 seats! (the only objective debate in Western media I found – the Civic Platform MP is FUMING FROM ANGER and shocked because she believed there would be no supporter of the government, as it is always the case in “free” Western media):


          • coldblow

            Good point (below) about Eddie Hobbs.

            I heard a bit of a discussion on Radio France the other day. One of the pannelists was a Polish woman. The governing party was regularly described by the others as extreme right-wing (the Pole objected) and I think they criticized the lack of freedom of the press (I thought of your earlier posts about it being owned by the Germans).

            Out of interest what was the only objective debate in the Western media you heard?

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            As far as TV is concerned, the one from that link below. By objective I am not saying in terms of arguments, because one can argue about the arguments – I am saying in simple terms of audi alteram partem. In most debates they just talk about Poland, but never actually invite the other side; instead they invite the representatives of the party which advocates Berlin’s interest and independent journalists from Poland, all paid by German foundations, of course, and then they say “but not only the Civic Platform politicians are saying Poland is going towards fascism (an old GRU trick that even pre-dates Stalin – G.K. – everyone who is your political opponent is a fascist), but THE INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST TOO”.

            In this debate about the right-wing turn in Poland you actually have 2:1 – there is one pro-Law and Justice journalist, one semi-independent pro-Civic Platform researcher (who, in fairness, tries to come up as objective and at least does not sound like a total stoodge) and a completely shocked, very angry politician of Donald Tusk’s social-democratic Civic Platform, who is used that everywhere she appears in the foreign media, they just take what she says for granted (then, having been shaped by such “objective” Polish journalism – the German paid Tomasz Lis had even created a fake Twitter account of President Duda’s daughter to make up some “intolerant” quotes and quote them on TV – The Guardian readers can easily swallow everything that The Guardian and New York Times writes about Poland).

            The debate on Poland is worth watching – not only the current government supporter, (of which, btw, I am only a lukewarm supporter), Mr Tyrmand (who is btw Jewish, so it was difficult to attack the “fascist government” with the pathetic “Polish anti-semitism” argument – btw, the new Polish government will now be suing the lefty Western press for using the “Polish concentration camps” lie) totally crushes his shocked opponents, but primarily to see how angry the lefty politician is – what, they ACTUALLY INVITED THE OTHER SIDE? :-)


          • coldblow

            The Guardian reader swallows it easily because he wants to believe it.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            A quick sample of comments from The Guardian readers:

            “This Law and Justice Party seem like a kind of milder version or revisitation of the National Socialist German Workers Party triumph at the 1933 elections just next door in Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic.”

            One of our bloggers had noticed in the past that any online debate which goes on for a long enough time ends up with arguments ad hitlerum. Most (not all) The Guardian readers do not end up their debates on that, but s t a r t their “arguments” with that. I guess they are all experts on that, as they all happened to have studied the laws of the Third Reich and fascist Italy, like I did.

            Now, the second expert on Polish politics and Nazism:

            “They won an election and are now bringing state institutions under party control, using violence where there is resistance. That is an exact copy of Nazi tactics in 1933.”

            Violence? I wonder where does this stuff even originate from in English heads. Btw, the Western media show tiny street protests of some Communists butchers families and noble, useful idiots – but there is a ban in Western media on showing much bigger street demonstrations in Poland to support the current government.

            Now “The Guardian” readers – or maybe just trolls – start getting really worried:

            “They need to be expelled and the rest of Europe needs to be prepared to defend democracy, the rule of law, and our human rights against them.”

            Fortunately, there some intelligent readers of the Guardian:

            “And when the Sweden Democrats win power, we kick Sweden out too? How about if Le Pen wins the French presidential election – we boot France out?”

            Another readers notices (other did not) that the dictatorial puppet of Mr. Kaczynski is a German parody, not an element of some sort of a fascist march:

            “Perhaps you should add the information that the photo of that carnival float looks to have been taken in Germany, not in Poland? The word “Polen” instead of “Polska” on the one figure is a bit of a give away.”

            Really, I start to think that the level of commentary on this blog has no parallels in any English blog if their readers form an opinion based on German photos parodying Polish government…

            “No wonder Poles are heading for western Europe, too much shit at home.” – says another reader.

            Ah, no, that’s actually because Poland supports 2,000,000 jobs in Germany via trade deficit and tax avoidance of German companies in Poland (German companies are legally allowed to deduct from their German taxes money spent on bribes in Poland). Few people know Poland had had almost 7pc economic growth before it started implementing the EC laws in 1997 (unlike previous enlargements, Eastern European countries had been required to FIRST implement all regulations, quotas and open all their markets and THEN (then means 7 years later) they started receiving subsidies.
            As a result, the unemployment in Poland went up from 10pc in mid 90s to 25pc (if counted by Eurostat methods) after 7 years of implementing EC laws.

            Btw, most Poles emigrated to the UK during the enlightened socialist regime of Mr. Donald Tusk. It was Germany back then (2004) which closed their job market for Poles for many years, while encouraging social welfare migrants from outside Europe to come to their country.

            “the kind of right wing nut that the US republicans are about to nominate. Poland and eastern europe wont progress unless they can lose their adherence to official superstition and its linked insular nationalism that gives such dorks a vehicle to justify their bile.”

            That particular Guardian reader was even stupid enough to reveal his face. He will forever remain in grateful hearts of many Poles living in the UK. I did not twig – what is “official superstition” anyway?

            Because “The Guardian” is so influential, the newspaper which sacked a journalist for reporting a hunger in the Stalinist Ukraine and censored information of HSBC financing Latin Amerian drug cartels, a lie once repeated spreads to other parts of the world:

            “Excellent article!! Greeting from Chile. It´s very worrying how, step by step, fascism is regaining strenght in Europe. Although maybe Poland is today´s most serious case, Hungary and others are not far behind. Disturbing too is the popularity of parties like Front National and UKIP in Western Europe.”

            A German reader offers his contribution:

            “Polish fascists are everywhere, in action. In North London, Birmingham, Sweden, and in even alongside the Belfast loyalists.” – the latter is particularly tragicomic, given the loyalist attacks on Polish community in Belfast because, having been seen going to Catholic churches, they are identified as Catholics.

            The English reader responds:

            “Obvioously the new Poland and its ‘allies’ wouldn’t support a Donald Tusk compromise on keeping the UK in the EU so its “Goodbye UK”, probably followed out of the EU by an Ireland “closer to Boston than Berlin”.

            So that’s pretty much the level of debate in the Guardian.

            Btw, I am attaching another link with a short interview with Mr Matthew Tyrmand about the manipulations of information on Poland in Western media (the beginning in Polish with English subtitles as an option in setting, then the rest in English – btw, Mr Tyrmand is not an uncritical supporter of Mr Kaczynski – he speaks critically about Mr Orban); I thought it might be interesting for you because Mr Tyrmand discusses Polish issues within a larger framework of using the globalist agenda as tool in the fight for leftists domination in Western world:


            Btw, Matthew, himself being an American Jew (a son of a famous Polish-Jewish anti-Communist writer) is the best source to find out about the Jewish lobby in the US (one of the reasons that Polish diaspora in the US – 10m people – does not have proportionate influence on US election – is because all Polish Foreign Ministers were either Jewish or, like Mr Sikorski, had Jewish wives – and they made sure that not only all higher, but also all lower ranked Foreign Ministry workers represent the Jewish lobby in the US – so there is no strong Polish lobby in the US, because Polish foreign ministers did not need any, since they were representing the Jewish lobby.

            One such Foreign Minister, prof. Bronislaw Geremek, had even reported against his own country in UNESCO.

            All in all, I found the most ridiculous lie about Poland I found in Western newspapers in an Israeli newspaper, immediately quoted by some American newspapers.

            In it, this bizarre story came up:

            “The Anti-Defamation League has called on the Polish government to retract the appointment of Antoni Macierewicz as the country’s Defense Minister.

            Macierewicz has been criticized numerous times for anti-Semitic pronouncements, and for saying that the infamous forgery the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was an authentic document.”

            What???!!! It looks like some American readers are so stupid that they can believe in stories that even the most lefty Eastern European readers would not believe.

          • coldblow

            I watched the link and it made sense. I could nearly understand the presenter’s short introduction but not quite (the English subtitles were bizarre).

            The Guardian is well beyond a joke now. Seriously, one would have to look for a psychological reason why some people still read it. Here is an editorial from the newspaper about the late Jimmy Savile comparing him (if anything unfavourably) with Pol Pot.


            I have just been asking myself why none of the allegations were made while he was alive.

            Then there is global warming.

    • coldblow

      I was looking up the local candidates (Kerry) earlier. I will probably give no.1 to what seems to be a Pro-Lifer (but I don’t know her position on open borders) and then there are not one but *two* anti-water charge candidates (who I’d really like to vote for but which one? One has a silly middle name – ‘Pixie’ – which puts me off but for the same reason he is probably likely to be more successful) and another decent sounding independent. There are also two Healy-Raes and Martin Ferris for SF. They’d all probably get a preference before finally FF, the aim as always being to keep out FG and, most of all, Labour. There is also a Renua candidate but I won’t vote for him or her because Creighton is firmly in favour of the EU and got carried away in the refugee hysteria in October. Remember, she had a permanent crease of concern across her brow.

      • Deco

        Those FFer’s are complete clowns.

        The Healy Raes are a much more sensible choice.

        • Deco


          It is the truth too.

        • coldblow

          I just realized there is a Green Party candidate too, so I’ll revise the above. I’ll give FG and Labour a preference above them!

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          “Those FFer’s are complete clowns.”

          Yet the people of Ireland – most of them – have re-elected them in 2007 (and Ms Merkel for a Taoiseach).

          I remember I popped in to a pub after work to see the news and my jaw dropped. Some of my mates driven into debt by Mr. Ahern’s post-Haughey 2002 housing bubble creating legislation, who said they had hated them, voted for them eventually.

          There are times I think everything people say and do in this country is for make-believe…

          “Housing bubble? Sure I knew it. All me mates knew it”.

          And there always is an external excuse.

          • coldblow

            I just got back from the voting station. I filled in every box from 1 to 16 just to make sure the Greens were in last place. It felt strange to be writing anything at all next to FG and Labour.

            You are getting into the swing of it. It’s hard to get to the bottom of what they really think – they don’t know anyway. For some reason it makes me think of Douglas Hyde’s Importance of De-Anglicizing Ireland. He noted that the Irish on the boat over to the United States turned into Americans before they reached the middle of the Atlantic. ‘But,’ a shrewd Irish Bostonian landlady replied, ‘if they didn’t do that they wouldn’t be Irish.’ It also makes me think of the bit in McCarthy’s Bar where the tourists all crowded into the ‘real’ pub, Durty Nelly’s, while the locals flocked to the fake pub in the Folk Village next door at Bunratty. Talking of the Ennis Road, I was only holiday in the area in 1976 and one of the lads reported seeing a car overtaking a car overtaking another car on the road. Then a fourth car overtook that one. This in turn reminds me of Raifteirí’s poem about a game of cards in a pub in Loughrea. Who was going to pay for the drink? I must look it up. This could go on all night.

      • Grzegorz Kolodziej

        “Remember, she had a permanent crease of concern across her brow.”

        :-) :-) :-)

        You have got to say she is better looking and mannered than Ms Burton, who happens to sound like clinically depressed Robert Smith from The Cure:


        “There is also a Renua candidate but I won’t vote for him or her because Creighton is firmly in favour of the EU”

        But her pal Eddie Hobbs isn’t. Besides, there is no Irish party ANYWAY that wants to leave the EU, so…

        I have an interesting Irish politician for you:



        Welcome to 1984

    • I would vote for DDI and no one else. It is called plumping the vote.

  24. Looks like it’s FG and FF lads.

    You shower of utter muppets.

    (not you guys, the Irish people).

    They get what they deserve. Fuckwits.

  25. mike flannelly

    Voted Non Party 1
    Renua 2
    FF after 12
    FG after 15

    Galway West.

    I think that there is no longer a lifetime FF’er or FG’ er.

    They are not fucking football teams.

    These institutional politicians can no longer blame the system. There should be attachment to their pensions if they blatently ignore the greater public good.

    We hopefully are the last lazy unconstitutional generation that wishes to throw the next generation ” the dirty shirt”.

    For fuck sake.

    Its like stealing from your children and possible grandchildren.

    • StephenKenny

      “Its like stealing from your children and possible grandchildren.”

      It’s not like stealing from your children and grandchildren, it IS stealing from your children and grandchildren, and then spending those ill-gotten gains on worthless jobs for your friends.

  26. McCawber

    A terrible election result.
    The people have voted to place the country in a crock of sh!t.
    And just shows how immature and feckless bunch we are.
    we are now witnessing the real impact of the 2008 crash and subsequent bailout.
    Our political system has been totally destabilised and our future is very unclear.
    Over the last seven years the governments of the day have put a lot of effort into widening the tax base.
    In the process they’ve lost a lot of political capital.
    Here’s just a couple of examples of what is going to happen next.
    One of the small leftie groups will propose the abolition of water charges.
    It will be carried unanimously.
    Result tax based reduced.
    Property tax will be next. Same result.
    Then USC perhaps. Same result.
    At some point our socialist President may have to refuse to sign off on some of the legislation implementing the tax cuts.
    I’ll ye to fill in the details.
    So we will be the first victim of the EU’s political incompetence.
    But only because we chose to be – Ee could have voted differently.
    We have entered uncharted territory.
    For anyone who doesn’t get it, that’s a very very very dangerous place to be in.

  27. redriversix

    Morning McCawber..

    don’t worry…..result will not make any difference…Political Parties do not run this Country..Senior civil servants do..Country will carry on fine without a Government.

    If you want to see a crock of shit..check out elections in early eighties.

    Right wing agendas will be implemented as per usual.This is all just optics…something to talk about , musical chairs if you will…just giving the people the illusion of choice.

    F.G and Labour got a well deserved kicking…..Politics is changing and we are going to have more diversity over the next Generation.

    There is no unchartered territory,,,everybody’s been somewhere before..the Media just like to scare us , unfortunately it works as most people don’t read History…for me ? … its entertainment.Thank God !!!

    Health will be privatized….Water will be privatized..Social welfare will be cut across the board…your tax contributions will increase and your entitlements will decrease.We will join NATO..Simon Coveny will be new FG leader

    If you are under 45 the chances of you having a old age pension are slim to zero

    Banks will be stronger. Corporations will pay even less tax..I could go on ..put you get the picture.

    In September 1990 , Michael Maun , Secretary on the Council of Foreign relations said on the fall of the USSR that the U.S can “finally act on the Middle East without fear of starting World War 3″

    Moral Hazard ?…

    Egypt was told if they voted in favor of Military action action against Iraq over Kuwait the US would forgive its 14 billion dollar debt…it voted in favor and the debt was forgiven..ditto for UAE as well except debt amount was 6/7 billion dollars.

    Yemen voted against Military action and had 70 million dollars in aid cut immediately and the IMF and World Bank began applying pressure for loans to be repaid.

    So you see McCawber its all just a game..what can you do….?

    protect your self / your family and treat every euro as a prisoner..if you / we can do that ..maybe we can help one more…



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