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Anger and the orthodoxy November 23, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Uncategorized.

Uh-oh. One of the worst Backroom’s in the SBP in quite some while. In it the anonymous writer complains about the ‘angry brigade’ of Ross, Webb, O’Toole, McWilliams et al. Now not all Backroom’s points are unreasonable, not least when s/he notes that unlike our political parties Ross et al are charging in for the privilege of hearing them opine on their views. €25 to be precise. I’m not sure that constitutes good value, and hard to see one going again. And nor is Backroom incorrect when s/he criticises O’Toole, though the same charge can be levelled at others in that crew, for ‘not deciding to run for election because it needed 40-like minded people to get elected to hold the balance of power’. Given that O’Toole cosied up to the most disparate imaginable crew in the immediate run up to the 2011 election in pursuit of that goal it is beyond passing strange that he did not recognise that the idea that any such formation could have had optimal outcomes was absurd.
But Backroom oddly enough, is pretty angry him or herself. And it’s quite a list too. Those who don’t vote in referendums, those like the angry brigade who mouth off to highly paid presenters about highly paid bankers. Well in fairness to Ross et al,
Backroom also has unkind words for those not paying the household charge. And those who ‘oppose the Gathering because it is not based on high class cultural events’ which by the way is news to me.
But it’s in the last two or three that we really get to see the colour of Backroom’s money. S/he’s angry about:

…the special interest groups who want more spending for their projects but won’t say where the axe should fall?

But what of those of us who think the most equable way the axe should fall is through increased taxation on all? No mention of that option. And what of the following which invites more or less the same response?

Surely it is time that the commentariat, including the angry brigade, faced up to the fact that the country is broke and the government has very little option in its policy choices, and turned its enormous brainpower into generating positive ideas that will help economic recovery.

Ah, the orthodoxy. Never far away these days.


1. LeftAtTheCross - November 23, 2012

“special interest groups who want more spending for their projects”

By any chance that selection of special interest groups wouldn’t include, for example, the IFSC Clearing House Group who lobbied against the Financial transaction Tax, thus depriving the state of a lucrative source of revenue, or organisations like Science Foundation Ireland and the IDA / Enterprise Ireland who spend from the public purse to subsidise the costs of R&D for the benefit of private business via state-supported commercialisation of research, etc etc.

Special interest groups within business are legitimate it would seem, because “government doesn’t create jobs, business does”, and the state must support employment of course, especially if that in effect means supporting the bottom line of business.

But special interest groups in society, no, they contribute nothing to the economy, they constitute costs without benefits to business.

Right so.


2. EWI - November 23, 2012

Backroom, of course, is very likely to be a FF/FG (or maybe Labour) party apparatchik.

So their clear rage at dissenters, intellectuals and the great unwashed public isn’t difficult to fathom at all.


WorldbyStorm - November 23, 2012

I’ve always presumed they have different people in to write it, like the column the IT used to have. But yes, that’s very true.


3. sonofstan - November 23, 2012

the country is broke and the government has very little option in its policy choices

The US was broke in 1933, the UK was broke in 1945 – and in both case, the state was able to institute massive programmes of social reconstruction.


LeftAtTheCross - November 23, 2012

If the country is broke it’s because of socialisation of the debt of the private banks, because the state chooses not to tax private and corporate wealth, because the state gives away the oil & gas resources to transnational monopoly capitalism etc., i.e. because of the political choices of successive governments.

But more related to your point, and Keynesian routes out of recession, Skidelsky had a nice piece on Social Europe yesterday:



CL - November 23, 2012
LeftAtTheCross - November 23, 2012

CL, a picture paints a thousand words doesn’t it, that graph says everthing. Mind you, there’s no qualitative aspect to those job numbers, you’d sort of wonder how the newly created jobs compare to the ones which have been lost in terms of wages and terms and conditions, the increase in casualisation of work, the rise of the precariat etc. I guess Krugman isn’t necessarily saying it’s a bed of roses in the US economy in terms of jobs, he’s just pointing out that the situation is (even) worse in Europe.


CL - November 23, 2012

Its interesting too that many who would never call themselves Keynesians fear the consequences of the precipitous drop in aggregate demand that will occur if the ‘fiscal cliff’ is not countermanded. .


EWI - November 24, 2012

It’s not a fiscal cliff, more like a fiscal slope.


CL - November 24, 2012

True. Depends on the time span for the $600 bn reduction in the deficit. It wouldn’t happen all at once, but it would certainly have a severely depressing effect on demand.


CL - November 24, 2012

But here’s James Galbraith who says the whole thing is a scam.
“Stripped to essentials, the fiscal cliff is a device constructed to force a rollback of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,”-


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