Minister Strangelove – how I learned to stop worrying and love the recession

The bank levy I mean. NAMA plans to levy the banks if (AND WHEN) the value of the assets under management fails to meet the inflated values we’re paying for them. So what happens if the banks are nationalised? I’m presuming the taxpayer will pick up the expense.
Also, the debt we’re saddled with now won’t be repayable within 2 years. The guarantee is to last 2 years so what will happen when the current guarantee expires? Another one? Ireland’s banks have repeatedly lied about their exposure to debt and have no credibility in the money markets. It would be nice to say this was the usual Anglo anti-Irish conspiracy but that’s frankly horseshit. It didn’t sway US, German, Chinese or Arab investors over the past few years. What rankles is that the slurs turned out to be partially true. That’s why we’ve little credibility and why the world’s largest financial institutions are treating Irish banks as if they have a form of financial leprosy. Many international banks may be in trouble but they don’t have to lend to us.
We’re heading towards an ECB/IMF bailout and I’m not referring to the misguided NAMA. We’re increasing our social welfare payments by billions rather than creating a stimulus package and our minister for finance is attacking a dissenting economist in the news papers. This is pathetic. An ad-hominem attack about lack of solutions from someone who has produced no solutions.Yet maybe this misguided rant is exactly what we need?
When people start to figure out how much their take-home pay is going to be affected and start living with that, I believe the “seething rage” that Vincent Browne talked about on his show last night will turn to more protests and public displays of anger. We probably need that as a nation. Many Irish people have been wiped out over the past few months. Their investments are shot. Their houses are worth a fraction of what they paid for them. Their future earnings are being reduced drastically due to levies and pay cuts. Sure, some people who bought property many years ago might be OK. Don’t mistake being born at the right time for financial genius. That’s been a persistent mistake of the Celtic Tiger years.
Unfortunately, the generation of Irish people (40-60 years old) who run the country and own most of the assets don’t seem to appreciate there’s a generation below them they have royally fucked through greed and an inflated opinion of their themselves based on bubble success. It’s wrong to blame a generation but let’s look at the evidence.
“Alright jack” Fianna Fail voting politics. Terrible public services such as health, poor roads and mediocre telecoms. Yet massive investment in all of these. Billions wasted on roads which are laid, dug up, laid again until they become a patchwork mess. If we had invested some of the tens of billions wasted on our crappy road network on world class R&D we’d have an Irish google by now. It’s not a mystery, it requires committment and cash.
The unwillingness of the majority of people in the generation identified to insist on better national & local government and to demand better services has contributed to the mess we have before us.
This leaves me with hope. Ireland has needed a revolution of-sorts for a long time. For too long we’ve been shackled by colonial politics, blind-faith in political parties, distrust of individuality and begrudgery of talent. I’m hopeful that my generation can be the first to forget all that. By destroying our faith in old and ultimately irrelevant political factions, the current government may just set us free. Viva la revolution!