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Dublin Opinion >>
The Anglo Deal and a possible positive future for Ireland without FF/FG
Sunday February 10, 2013 23:12 by Ordinay Citizen
No More FF/FG
How we are being made to like a bad Anglo deal and only long term solution is for us to have a government without FF or FG and what they could do if/ when they get into power.
The ECB gave us a terrible deal initially on the Anglo debt to frighten off other countries who might come looking for a bailout. When the other countries did finally come looking for help it was only a matter of time before they gave us a better deal, as it does not benefit them to have a member state being crippled by a debt that they cannot afford to pay. They then give us a deal that would have been counted as bad in normal circumstances but appears better when compared with the crap deal they had us in and squeezed a 3.1 billion payment from us in March to make us feel some pain and remember how bad life could be.
Labour have to say its good as they did not listen to Labour Youth after the election who warned not to go into gov with a neo liberal party like FG. The EU and FG/FF sing from the same economic hymn sheet of leave the rich with as much money as you can so that they can eventually grow the economy...an idea that cannot only really have wings after lots of money has been donated by rich people to support people who argue for it. If Labour were in opposition they would probably have objected to this but their backs were against the wall and this was the only offer available to them.
So we saved the EU from imploding in '08 by guaranteeing the banks, a crisis that had its roots in the easy credit they gave us combined with the inability of our Central Bank to raise interest rates to prevent our economy from overheating because we were in the Euro. They have taken over 200 billion of our fish from our seas since we joined the EU and gave us maybe 30 billion in grants which has been cancelled out by this deal. In 25yrs time our children will have to take out more loans to pay the estimated 14 billion that the debt will then be, on top of the roughly 1 billion a year we will be paying in interest every year til then. I wonder will future generations question whether our membership of the EU was a good thing?
The Greeks did not obey the rules and they got debt forgiveness. The German economy benefits from the relatively low value of the Euro compared to what the value of the Deutsche Mark would be but for every winner there has to be a loser and in this loop slow economies like Portugal and Greece feel the pain. Due to our high exports we should be in the middle but FF and the PDs sponsored by our ruling elite created the banking mess that destroyed us and led to the EU bailing us out. Germany and the EU, the Bondholders, the Right Wing media and political parties are all happy with this deal so who could the losers be? ...The poor, the people who don't have private health insurance, the disabled in our society, all those who decent people have fought over the decades to protect and help have seen the assistance that states once provided being shredded in the name of austerity while the wealth of Billionaires continues to grow.
Ordinary people don't have time to get educated or fight as they are too busy surviving. All the while those with vested interests hide their creation of an unequal society behind words like competition in the work place and Free markets, when the only thing that is free in this system is the money of the elite as they move it to whichever country offers them the lowest tax rates.
This is no accident this was planned back in the 70s when Neo liberal economics was created to break the Unions but they also knew that if they destroyed the power of the Unions that they would break the power of the people to fight the ruling classes. The unstable economy created by a market where government intervention is limited actually benefits the elite as it means they can pay their workers less and gives them a free reign to destroy our environment.
People like Shane Ross give out about other Neo Liberals like Leo Vladkar for not being tough enough on semi state companies, arguing that private bus companies would do as good a job. I wonder how often either of them takes a bus? Mr Ross and other Neo liberal economists like Colm McCarthy or journalists Matt Cooper don't think or care about that fact that private companies run far fewer buses during non rush hour times or that most don't accept free travel for OAPS or an Invalidity Pension, a Blind Pension, Disability Allowance or Carers Allowance. Ordinary people, whose lives are affected detrimentally by these policies, actually often like these characters as they cannot see the underlying message they are pushing when they go on about the power of unions and so on.
So what can be done? Well we need a government without FF or FG. The problem is that we have an older generation brought up on fire and brimstone religion with deep fear pumped into their psyche on top of the fact that many of them are doing alright in the system so don't want to rock the boat too much. The furthest extreme many of these will go is to Labour. The polls show a rise in FF support and a possible FF and Sinn Fein coalition. If this was the case SF could show the bottle that Labour did not in '92 and force FF and FG to go in together, which would leave us in a mess for another five years, unless some scandal forced them to split. Then we could finally have the numbers to form a gov without FF/FG.
This new gov should open the tax books, as is the case in Norway and Sweden, so that we could see how little our elite are paying and back date the books to see how little they have been paying all these years. This would create an appetite in the the people for justice and tax rates of 60% to 65% for high earners would be seen as acceptable. We could go a step further and make all the assets of everyone freely available, the only people who would object to this are people who have something to hide. This way people could see who are the people who have the 1.4 Trillion (CSO figure) of our money in foreign banks and again people would be very open to a wealth tax on this money. A wealth tax would also encourage people to spend rather than hoard and get jobs like insulating their houses does, something that would create employment. Transparency would also allow some leverage for people who may need a high income after buying property at its peak.
We could quickly balance our budget and then change the tax take on our resources from the present 25% to 40% up to 80% as happened in Bolivia and Venezuela. We can use the money generated to create our own resource extraction companies and use the money they generate to invest in renewable energy, eventually leading us to exporting our excess energy. After all this is place we can tell the EU where it can shove its Anglo Debt. We can then take back control of our fish, allow our fish stocks to replenish, while the price of fish goes up and make billions a year when there are enough to harvest in bulk again.
So the near future is not so bright but there is light at the end of the tunnel. When people who care about our childrens' futures finally get into power our technology will have advanced to a state where we can create a sustainable economy. Once bitten twice shy, i believe that if we do achieve this that we will have learned from the mistakes of the Celtic Tiger and work to create a society where all benefit from our wealth. One where the rich still make money, because you have to motivate people to create wealth, but just not as much as they do now. A strong gov that cares about its people can work towards creating a society where working a four or even a three day week is enough to live comfortably, as is the case in The Netherlands. We can learn from countries that have good standards of living and not follow economic policies that create massive inequalities in society as many now are doing when they vote for FF/FG. In the distant future i can see us slowing our extraction of our resources to a level where we take what we need and ideally little more as we will be making enough from our fish and renewable energies as well as investing on organic farming and being a truly Green economy.