Back at the height of the boom… October 25, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
Michael Taft has done a deconstruction job on Eilis O’Hanlon’s piece in the Sunday Independent from this last weekend. And very timely and comprehensive it is too. But on a slight tangent there was one line in the original piece that had me spluttering into my tea… it is the one that goes as follows:
As symbols go, a garda sergeant’s wife who can’t afford to feed her children because of the recession has it all. No wonder it was, for days, the most read story on the Irish Times website, with correspondingly huge interest on RTE and in social media, where it was plugged relentlessly as a damning indictment of the Celtic Tiger gone wrong.
Not everyone was wholly sympathetic. Some felt that those who bought houses at the height of the boom were getting everything they deserved; others wondered whether the country had lost the run of itself when people earning €75,000 — or possibly €65,000, depending on which page of the Irish Times you read — are now claiming to be victims.
Very interesting line of thought from O’Hanlon there – no doubt about it. And yet, and yet, I can’t help but think of one of her colleagues, chap by the name of O’Connor who at that very same ‘height of the boom’ in 2007 wrote under the heading The smart, ballsy guys are buying up property right now:
Tell you what, I think I know what I’d be doing if I had money, and if I wasn’t already massively over-exposed to the property market by virtue of owning a reasonable home. I’d be buying property.
And having thrown that caveat about ‘if I had the money’ then promptly took out a rhetorical shotgun and blasted it into smithereens when he continued in the same breath:
In fact, I might do it anyway. You don’t even need money to buy property these days.
Why not, pray tell?
Imagine if you walked into the bank and said, “Listen, guys. I want to gamble a million on the stock market. I have 100 grand myself, will you guys lend me 900 grand at really low rates and I’ll pay you back over 40 years? In fact I won’t even pay off the principal, I’ll just pay off the interest.” They’d laugh you out of it. But substitute gambling on the property market for gambling on the stock market and they’ll fall over themselves to give it to you.
Which is why I’m not entirely convinced that all those who bought houses at the height of the boom were getting everything they deserved – even if some deeply unwise decisions were taken albeit signed off on by a media and banking sector only too eager to push product.
And that being the case perhaps it might be sensible for the Sunday Independent and indeed other organs of our media to be a little less forward about condemning those who took the very advice that was to be found in their pages week after week after…