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Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week October 28, 2012

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

Michael McDowell has discovered the reason that apparently it is impossible to have a serious debate on the EU within the government. It seems to be democracy.

With a Dail elected on the basis of multi-seat PR, the only hope of having a serious means of considering EU affairs in the heart of our democracy lies with reforming the Senate, not abolishing it.

The winner, for the second week in the row, is Marc Coleman, who manages to top last week’s total absence of self-awareness.

WHEN SIX Italian scientists were jailed for failing to predict an earthquake in the town of L’Aquila — one that that killed over 300 people — some felt it was a little harsh. Others took inspiration from it: Why, they asked, not arrest economists who failed to predict Ireland’s economic crisis?

Having warned about the cliff the economy was headed for since July 2005, while stressing Ireland’s amazing long term potential, this economist is not afraid of such a trial. But others should be.

When I read the following, I thought Coleman had two columns this week.

The inner cabinet of the Government– which comprises the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste, the minister for finance and the minister for public reform — brings the intellectual firepower of three secondary-school teachers and a trade unionist to bear on Ireland’s crisis. All support the public-sector cartel.

The Government points to a reduction in public-sector numbers due to a recruitment freeze — as if those who take early retirement are abducted by aliens to a planet beyond the galaxy, and not into Ireland’s Ponzi pension scheme, which quadrupled its liabilities to €120bn over the past decade while losing most of its assets to the bank bailout.

It was the fact that in attacking the public sector bills, it could mention the bank bailout, and not contemplate the possibility that the state’s protection of speculators might just have something to do with the crisis the state faces. It turns out though, it was from the Wall Street Journal, and had been written by Eddie Hobbs. Clearly intellectual firepower of the highest order, and in no way stupid.


1. Jonathan - October 28, 2012

“Why, they asked, not arrest economists who failed to predict Ireland’s economic crisis?” The internet is a wonderful thing, as it allows you to find, in about five minutes, a statement that shows Marc Coleman’s economic forecast in 2008. “Fundamentally, I don’t believe that the Irish banking system is suffering from a US-style crisis. Yes, we have problems. No, they are not those of the US banking system. Yes, a merger between one of the weaker banks and one of the stronger ones may reduce risk in our banking system. But, no, provided we don’t create a crisis where none exists, such a merger needn’t be necessary. In the coming few years, our economy and the stability of our banking system and property market will be what we choose to make it. Unless we continue to talk Irish banks into a run on deposits, a Lehman-style collapse won’t happen here. Yes, Irish banks suffer from the same increase in the cost of funds that afflicted Lehman. But Lehman was an investment bank exposed to toxic subprime lending. Irish banks are exposed to risks that — while excessively concentrated in property — are nowhere near as dangerous. Irish banking leaders are no angels of mercy. But they are by the by a competent and conservative lot, way ahead of the likes of Lehman’s Dick Fuld … America’s banking problems are cardiac in nature. Ours are digestive. Overexposure to residential and commercial property will reduce and, in some cases, wipe out profits over the next two years. Dividends will be cut and bad debts will increase. All a natural and healthy consequence of what the Irish economy did to itself in the preceding three years. We binged. So now we are barfing. But however violently ill we feel, the condition is not fatal. As Brian Lenihan said on Friday — and I believe him — our banks are reasonably well capitalised and there is no need for depositors to withdraw money from them for fear of losing it.” Sunday, September 21 2008. Will Coleman be turning himself in, I wonder?


WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2012

We live in hope 🙂

Great find. But it is astounding as Garibaldy notes the lack of self-awareness. I guess it’s a case of the truth is whatever is expedient at any given moment.


Jonathan - October 28, 2012

Seeing as it’s a wet afternoon and I’m killing time before work, here’s another Coleman gem, this time on March 30th, 2008, in an article entitled “Property: bottoming out — so it’s time to spend”:
“Since then the Irish economy has become less dependent on the US (although the US is still our biggest trading partner and investor). What that means is that, after taking the Olympic gold medal for economic growth in almost every year since 1994, we might have to spend a few years settling for bronze or silver. And although Ireland’s food and manufacturing exporters are suffering serious consequences from a stronger currency — which can’t be ignored — service exports are booming. If the Government can help workers to retrain from old to new jobs then any rise in unemployment can be contained and our growth rate could be back above the 4 per cent threshold …
As overlooked by almost all commentators — with the honorable exception of NCB stockbrokers — out of a population of 4.25 million souls, this state boasts a million people between the ages of 14 and 26. Nothing less than an army of housebuyers is marching towards the economy and they are going to need somewhere to live. What is more they will be having children. In the 12 months to April 2007 alone the State’s population rose by 106,000 persons. The number of births exceeding deaths was just shy of 40,000 while net immigration was around 67,000. Even allowing for slower immigration, to say 20,000 persons per year, the conservative CSO reckons that our population will hit five million within the next 10 years if not sooner, creating at least another 700,000 to house. (Note that I am not even relying on the projections for population growth in my book The Best is Yet to Come in which I argue that Ireland’s population growth will follow world trends by rising by around 50 per cent before the century is out). Owner-occupiers should not be afraid to buy now if they can get late 2005 prices. That is good value …
All forecasts and scenarios are subject to risk. Until the Government abolishes stamp duty fully, turnover in the property market will continue to be lower than it should be, leading to the risk of a much slower recovery in prices. There is also the risk that the Government will not only fail to respond adequately to the downturn, as it should by cutting taxes, but actually try to increase them. But with world economic growth running at a healthy rate, Ireland has every chance to exploit what is, literally, a world of economic opportunity and ensure that the Irish economy is back on track by 2009.” Ah, good times! http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/property-bottoming-out-so-its-time-to-spend-1332198.html


doctorfive - October 28, 2012

raise you, 2007



greengoddess2 - October 28, 2012

It’s called narrative truth. As a psychoanalyst one heard a lot of it in an appropriate forum. The Sindo is NOT such a thing.


2. EWI - October 28, 2012

I think Hobb’s contention that pensions are a “ponzi scheme” is undoubtedly true for private pensions, given the astonishing level of creaming off the top in private schemes revealed during the week.

But for public and state schemes, that isn’t necessarily true at all (sovereign state and all that which can raise taxes and levvies etc.), and it’s more to the point a highly misleading figure for lay readers to be misled by. Or should the Sindo be mentioning in it’s ads that buying the Sindo will cost you several thousand euros (over the next twenty years)? And that’s even before we get started on a euro debt now being worth a lot less in the future because of natural inflation.


gabbagabbahey - October 28, 2012

and if the public sector had instead introduced mass redundancies, would it have removed those people from the pension scheme too? I’ve heard of people leaving semi-states before being eligible for their pensions and having to bridge the gap by going on the dole, which means the govt is just paying less with its other hand. I guess what he’s really saying is that he wants public pay (and pensions) reduced (more than already), which is ok if he can justify it in moral and economic terms. And if there is increasing pressure on the public sector pay bill, it should be emphasised that it’s only the net, after-tax pay (and pensions) that actually matters from a fiscal standpoint.

on the debt issue, I assume he’s writing for an audience that has a knee-jerk reaction to the topic (and moreover associates the very idea of deficit financing with trickery of the Ponzi kind). unfortunately the US debt-antagonism seems to be crossing over here now – a merging of the righteous anger at the bank debt with the complaint, ignoring the inflation argument, that all public debt “will be forcing our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to pay for our profligacy”. actually if there was more awareness of that from the environmental and sustainability point of view, the world might be a better place, but as it is it just plays into the austerity agenda. and perhaps also the left’s anti-bank-debt stance (which often invoked/s the ‘future generations’ argument). there’s got to be a better way of explaining the different forms and purposes of debts, and its connection with (at least in monetary terms) growth.


EWI - October 28, 2012

The point about the real cost of the public sector wage bill being the net after taxes and such is true, but not one that you’re going to see being allowed on the likes of RTÉ. Remember, these are the same ‘journalists’ who allowed the supposed remuneration of air traffic controllers to be claimed to include their future pension worths.

And the point needs to be hammered home – every time some idiot is on about how providing welfare, education and healthcare is ‘stealing’ from the futures of children – that people are more important than zeroes in some banker’s ledger, and having people grow up in abject poverty is the real abuse.


3. EWI - October 28, 2012

That McDowell stuff is revealing of a certain mindset that government is too important to leave to the people electing representatives.

You’d expect better from a former TD and Minister, even one who has a FG and PD background.


Dr. X - October 28, 2012

“You’d expect better from a former TD and Minister, even one who has a FG and PD background.”

Would you? I wouldn’t.


Garibaldy - October 28, 2012

Any left politician saying something like this would be hounded as an opponent of democracy, mask slipping etc. Right-wing hypocrisy as per.


Dr. X - October 29, 2012

I’d say it’s beyond hypocrisy: the hypocrite might possibly be aware of the gap between appearance and reality, but our betters genuinely believe that they are democrats when it suits them to be democrats, and defenders of order againts the mob when that allows them to display a bella figura.


4. gfmurphy101 - October 28, 2012

Reblogged this on gfmurphy101.


Dr. X - October 28, 2012

“Reblogged this on gfmurphy101.”

Cool story, bro.


ejh - October 28, 2012

I am going to reblog it on gfmurphy101getsonmywick.com


gfmurphy101 - December 28, 2012

so happy you like it sooooooooooo much lol


5. Garibaldy - October 28, 2012

Reblogged this on Garibaldy Blog.


Garibaldy - October 28, 2012

As I suspected this is an automated thing that comes up when you reblog something.


CMK - October 28, 2012

Could it not be disabled? It’s very annoying. Like, what are you expected to do when something here has been reblogged? We’ve read it here, are we then expected to go to gfmurphy101 and read it again? What is the point of reblogging?


6. que - October 28, 2012

” the best is yet to come”.
An example of poor policy, and poor writing . The prosecution calls for deportation and rests its case.


EWI - October 28, 2012

This would be the same Marc Coleman on a jihad against third-level book learnin’. Latest gem was the claim that research isn’t worthwhile if the average person (I guess Marc imagines himself as the benchmark here) doesn’t understand it.

Never has the phrase “slightly dim rugby players” been more apt.


7. Ivorthorne - October 28, 2012

So, where is Gene Kerrigan?


8. Sean Bean - October 29, 2012

Disagree with the above when reading the Celtic Comeback piece. All the facts are accurate. The PS pension scheme is ponzi, the assets are gone and the current income tax collected from all PS workers is now matching the exponentially rising cost of its pensions. Ponzi means robbing Peter to pay Paul. If the scheme existed in the commercial world it would be required under FRS17 to be declared insolvent.

The conclusion that we live in a crony democracy hurts but when read in light of the appalling bond holder bailout, the captivity of one in five households as debt slaves and Croke Park, you can see how the conclusion is reached. Many people in the private economy share Hobbs view, a frightening number is my guess.


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