Thursday, 30 April 2009

More money than sense - how our tax money was wasted

The Gombeen Manor DVD machine was on the go on Wednesday evening, recording TV3’s “More Money Than Sense: How We Wasted Millions”. I only got around to looking at it now, but it is well worth writing a summary of some of the ways the Government wasted taxpayers’ money during the ‘boom’ years.

  • In 2007, FAS spent €5.7 on travel and “other expenses”.

  • €52 million was spent on e-voting machines, and €2.5 on storing them until the recent decision to finally scrap them.

  • The renovation of Cork Courthouse was to cost €3.8 million. The final cost was €26 million.

  • In 1997 the education budget was €2.9 billion. In 2007 it had spiralled to €8.3 billion. This money was spent on wage costs rather than capital programmes. As a result, between 2006 and 2008, €112 million was spent on renting pre-fabs. This year alone we will spend €48 renting these temporary structures.

  • Ballymun regeneration project was estimated to come in at €442 million, to date they have spent €942 million, and it is still not complete.

  • €12,000 was spent on curtains for the Ceann Comhairle’s (Chairman of the Irish Parliament) office.

  • €700,000 was wasted promoting the speaking of Gaelic in other countries.

  • The National Aquatic Centre cost €63 million to build. Despite this, the roof leaked before it eventually blew off. Gone with the wind… just like our tax money.

  • In 1997 the health budget was €3.2 billion. In 2007 it had reached €13.6, for no appreciable return. Many hospitals did not have beds and in other hospitals wards were actually shut due to “lack of funding”.

    Some of that waste can be accounted for by the €220 expenditure on P-PARS, the health service payroll system that cannot process annual leave, sick leave and bank holidays for the service’s 70,000 employees. Indeed one staff member was surprised to find his monthly pay slip was made for the sum €1 million – way above even the benchmarked rates. Speaking of which…

  • Benchmarking was first implemented in 2001, and has resulted in our civil service becoming one of the most costly in Europe.

  • Three public tribunals, Mahon, Moriarty and Morris, cost a total of €434 million. And while the tribunals were a necessary purging of the poor standards in Irish public life, it is apparent that they could have been run in a way that presented value for the taxpayers, rather than the lawyers. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern, was belatedly (and very reluctantly) forced to resign when the above revealed irregularities in his finances, including signing blank cheques and “dig-outs” from business acquaintances.

  • €220,000 was spent on a new office for Bertie Ahern.

  • Flood relief scheme for Kilkenny estimated at €13 million. It eventually cost €48 million.

  • Government invested in Medialab Europe Project. It folded in 2005, at a cost of €35 million.

  • In 1997, €151 million was spent on “special projects”. By 2007 this figure had risen to €2.8 billion. As an example, the Dublin Port Tunnel project cost €752 million… €302 million more than originally estimated.

  • Dublin’s tram system, the Luas, was three years late, with a cost overrun of €471 million (actual cost €750 million).

  • In 2005 the Government purchased land for Thornton Hall, a new prison and mental hospital. They paid €200,000 an acre, when comparable land nearby was valued at €26,000 an acre. Furthermore, the final cost of €29.9 million overshot the original estimate of €10 million.

  • In 2003, Punchestown Racecourse got a “grant” of €15 million. Punchestown was in Charlie McCreevy's Kildare constituency.

  • Our semi-orbital road, the M50, was built with public money – with the exception of the bridge over the River Liffey, which was given to National Toll Roads. Now the Government is buying it back from NTR, at the rate of €50 million a year until 2020.

  • McCreevy’s decentralisation programme – an expensive election stunt – has been a flop by any standards. We have spent €24 million on empty buildings and fields, bought when the property boom was in full swing.

  • Leinster House to get a new lawn for €200,000.

  • Integrated ticketing system for public transport has cost €42 million to date – and we still do not have integrated ticketing.

  • The Department of Defence sold four helicopters for €360,000. The company that bought them sold them on for €19 million.

  • We have all written out a blank cheque – Bertie style – for the bank bailout. They reckon it could cost us €90 billion, but nobody knows for sure.

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”, as Johnny Rotten once said.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

1,000 Euro to change Garda lightbulbs

Even by Gombeen Nation standards this one is incredible.

The Garda Representative Association has claimed that the Office of Public Works paid €1,000 to change three lightbulbs at a Garda station. Its president, Michael O’Boyce stated that the OPW wastes public money and should be abolished. Some might say the same about the Garda, of course, but that’s another story.

I know that Gormley’s energy-saving bulbs are expensive, but not that expensive. But then again, we all know by now that public money is an infinite resource in Ireland. In response, an OPW spokesperson said they were “surprised and disappointed” by the criticism.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Student survey shows that brats are upbeat

Recession? What recession? According to a survey of students in today’s Irish Times the “good” times have never ended for some of them, and they don’t expect them to either.

The “surprising” findings - as described by the Times - showed that 20% of students expect to be earning over €100,000 by the time they are thirty, while 60% expect to own their own house or apartment. More worryingly, 8% of twenty-something school-goers displayed an inability to learn from mummy and daddy’s mistakes, declaring an ambition to own an investment property by the time they hit the big three-oh.

Who knows, they might well achieve all of that - and maybe more, bless them.

But sure as shit, they won't do it here.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Arise ye privileged of Erin

"Arise, ye wretched of the Earth”, goes the old rallying cry of the oppressed. But it’s not so much the wretched as the new landlord class that’s up in arms in Ireland - along with other interest groups such as civil servants, teachers, doctors, consultants and the like.

The Sunday Business Post today carries a report on an uprising of 400 Irish Property Owners Association members in Dublin last week, denouncing the injustice of recent reductions in mortgage interest allowances on their buy-to-lets.

Yes, it seems that the very people who inflated the market to unsustainably high levels through their speculative activity in it are not happy – blaming the Government and bankers “for encouraging people to invest in property to look after their old age”.

It’s been said before on the blog - but how come the most privileged groups in Ireland seem to be the most vocal on the topic of being hard-done-by? Next, we will have Fine Gael stepping in and looking to compensate the poor dears for any negative equity they might have suffered (and maybe trauma too), in a reprise of that party’s offer to compensate the nouveau capitalists who lost out on their Eircom shares some years ago.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Friday, 24 April 2009

Bull runs amok in Irish supermarket

Somewhat late, and in a shameless and lazy attempt to get a few extra hits on the blog, here's that You Tube video footage of the bull running through Cummins SuperValu shop in Ballinrobe, last month.

Stand by for predictable wisecracks about "Bullinrobe", "bull in the news", "meaty story", and "fresh and traceable beef".

Hoof had believed such a thing could happen?


Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Irish Language Survey

There are three kinds of lies” said Benjamin Disraeli “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Then there is The Irish Language and the Irish People, a survey sponsored by the Department of the Gaeltacht and Islands to justify its own existence.

The survey, from a sample of 1000 people, was compiled by Father Micheal Mac Greil, SJ (of NUI Maynooth) and Fergal Rhatigan, and concluded that 93% of those surveyed “supported the Irish Language”.

However, on closer inspection, it becomes obvious that two separate responses to questions were given, and then the two were added together, to give the misleading figure of 93%.

According to the survey, 41% of those questioned believed that Irish should be revived for public use, 52% believed it should be “preserved” (as in the Gaeltacht and art and culture), while 7% believed it should be discarded altogether.

Closer inspection still reveals that of the 41% of “revivalists”, 3.7% hardliners believed that Gaeilge should be the “main language” of the country, 4.7% believed that Ireland should be “bi-lingual” with Gaeilge as the “main” language, while 32% believed it should be “bi-lingual” with English as the main language. Confused? Join the club. It's all about how you frame your questions.

The most telling thing about a self-serving survey like this, however, is that it can mean anything its authors want it to mean. So though there is plainly some intersection in the responses to the two questions, as the 41% who want Gaeilge revived would plainly also want to see it preserved (conversely, it follows that 59% don’t want it revived) what the authors have done is add the two figures together to come up with the impressive figure of 93% overall support. Somewhat disingenuous, no?

Interestingly, the report condescendingly berates the “popular mass media” for its “relentless expression of negative attitudes” towards Gaeilge. There’s a thing. If the language is really as popular as the authors claim, why does none of that “popular mass media” communicate through the medium of Gaeilge.

One has to conclude there is no market for it, once the crutch of State funding is taken away.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Erin go broke

I have often heard lumpen sorts shouting “Erin go bragh” after consuming a dozen or more pints (not that there’s anything wrong with that. The pints, I mean) and wondered what it meant. I decided such occasions were probably not the most appropriate times to enquire, and remained in ignorance until quite recently, when I found out it means something along the lines of “Ireland forever!”.

US economist Paul Krugman put a new interpretation on it in a column in yesterday’s New York Times entitled “Erin go broke”, in which he pondered that the worst thing that could happen in the States is that they “could turn Irish”.

But before our Little Irelanders start puffing out their pimply chests with pride, he did not mean it in a complimentary fashion. Indeed, he meant that Ireland is one of the world’s economic basket cases, and is an example to be avoided.

“The Irish government now predicts that this year G.D.P. will fall more than 10 percent from its peak, crossing the line that is sometimes used to distinguish between a recession and a depression”, he said, citing Ireland's enthusiasm to embrace the "brave new world of unsupervised financial markets" as did Iceland.

"One part of the Irish economy that became especially free was the banking sector, which used its freedom to finance a monstrous housing bubble. Ireland became in effect a cool, snake-free version of coastal Florida. Then the bubble burst", the nobel laureate continued, "the collapse of construction sent the economy into a tailspin, while plunging home prices left many people owing more than their houses were worth. The result, as in the United States, has been a rising tide of defaults and heavy losses for the banks. And the troubles of the banks are largely responsible for putting the Irish government in a policy straitjacket.

"And the lesson of Ireland is that you really, really don’t want to put yourself in a position where you have to punish your economy in order to save your banks."

Mary Coughlan, on a mission in the US to dissuade the Obama administration from altering domestic corporate laws which currently allow US multinationals to avoid tax in countries such as Ireland, was unimpressed, describing such comments as "unhelpful".

"Unhelpful" they may be, from her perspective. But that does not mean they are untrue.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Low speeding limits effectiveness

Don’t get me wrong, I’m far too old to be a boy racer. In fact, I’ve been driving (motorbikes and cars) for 26 years now. But the thing is, I’ve been doing so without so much as a single insurance claim - though I know that kind of smugness is fate-tempting in its know-it-allness. But what I’m saying is that I’ve driven at speeds of 150mph-241km/h plus (on Autobahns) and have lived to tell the tale, along with quite a lot of Germans going about their day-to-day business.

But if there is one thing that really, really pisses me off – and, good reader, you will know there aren’t many - it is our underachieving police force doing people for going a few km/h over the speed limit, usually on stretches of road where the limits are inappropriately low.

It does nothing for road safety, and it leads to a culture of drivers who pay more attention to their dashboard than what’s going on around them. And we all know that it is inappropriate speed that is dangerous, not speed per se. But this topic has been covered elsewhere on the blog (see Avoid Penalty Points - Back to Basics ).

Anyway, I was heartened to read the following – rather incongruous, by the standards of the territory – letter from Roger Wormald, in The Irish Times last Friday.

Madam, - The slower the speed, the longer the journey time – the longer the journey time, the more cars on the road – the more cars on the road, the more congestion – the more congestion, the more frustration – the more frustration, the more accidents.

Yours, etc.

Nice one, Roger. I couldn’t have said it better!

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Irish builders, estate agents, and anarchism

Property is theft”, said French anarchist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1840. The revolutionary envisaged the day when the corrupt Old Order was overthrown, State authority was an obsolete concept and humankind – free of class contradictions, exploitation and oppression – was free to flower at last. But, unfortunately, it never really happened, because I suppose we have not evolved enough as yet.

And how disappointed he would have been to see that his “property is theft” slogan was eventually taken up as a yardstick by the Irish Government, the banks, the developers (see Irish Government), builders and, of course, their foot soldiers the estate agents.

If you want proof, try talking to any poor wage-slave who took out a 40-year mortgage on a shoebox apartment at the height of the boom, and who will have to see out their payments for the full term, and whose taxes will subsidise the “bad loans” of the very class that put him/her in that situation. It’s enough to make a revolutionary of the most mild-mannered.

And speaking of mild-mannered, Gombeen Man has been looking to take advantage of the mess and trade up from the Manor to something a bit more fitting of that grand description - preferably with big gates and a couple of devil dogs roaming the grounds to keep his many enemies at bay. Or failing that, a modern – if modest – detached house out here in Dublin 15, so the neighbours won’t be disturbed by the ranting noises that he emits on a daily basis.

Attempts to move have been going on about five years, and have been thwarted at every turn by swarms of new-found Irish property tycoons (or so they thought), making the proverbial flies around shit seem restrained and dignified, as they pushed up house prices into the stratosphere with money they never really had.

But now the investors are gone, amid the Hitchcockian roar of beating chicken wings coming home to roost on the eaves of their negative-equity "investments". And although Schadenfreude is not a terribly graceful or magnanimous thing - isn’t it great!!!

Or so you would think. I mean, vendors, builders and estate agents will have to bow to the new reality and lower their prices now. Won’t they? They will have to be realistic, and take account of falling wages, rising taxes, and the fact that the whole country is going down the toilet. But no. At least not in far-from-salubrious Dublin 15, where the denizens are still looking for prices that those in Foxrock – and other places not full of skangers – were looking for in 2006. And if you think the builders and developers will start bending over backwards to shift their unwanted properties here, think again! Here’s a good example.

There is a new development going up (slowly) in Barnwell, Hansfield. Only a small part of it has been built as yet, and you have to wonder how much of it will ever be completed, and how much of it will be left as fields for the local skangers to joyride your car in while you are out at work. Not perfect, sure, but one of the houses looked nice - in the brochure at least. In fact the only thing it seemed to lack was a garage, which you will agree is a desirable addition in light of the above.

So the following conversation ensued with the estate agent twiddling her thumbs in the empty showhouse:

Gombeen Man: “Can they build a garage with it, seeing as it is off the plans?”

Estate agent: “No. You would have to let the builder build the house first, with the path and wall. Then you would have to get planning permission to get the wall knocked down, the path altered and a garage built later”.

Gombeen Man (surprised): “But it’s not built yet. In fact four fifths of the development is just an empty field. The builder has not made the estate, the roads, the footpaths, the house or the wall. So why just not build the house without the wall and with a garage, and I will pay the extra cost for it?”

Estate agent (with uncomprehending shrug): “No. We can’t do that.”

Cue Gombeen Man spinning on his heel, and heading off haughtily into the mucky sunset.

And this is only one example – there have been lots of other experiences. It seems that the idea of actually having to SELL something is an alien concept for these people, after well over a decade of half-wit investors putting deposits down on properties-to-be before the architect's ink was even dry. I think we will have to wait for a new generation of estate agents and builders, unused to the Lotto money days, who are capable of selling in these more austere times.

Also, you really have to wonder how much pressure the banks – whose loans to the builders we are subsidizing - are putting on the developers to sell. Thing is, the longer they wait, the less they will get.

And if there is one thing I’m used to by now, it’s waiting.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Cowen buy-to-let apartment, ministerial helicopters, and the banana republic

How do you know when you are living in a banana republic? There are a few clues, as it happens.

For one, you’ll have Government ministers criss-crossing the skies in private aircraft on domestic engagements, in what is essentially a very small country. Since last October’s first austerity budget, they will have spent €1.6 of the plebs’ tax money in this way, on a total of 83 journeys – 25 of which were within Ireland.

Another giveaway is that the tax base will be narrow, and the very rich won’t pay any at all – or very little – thanks to Government policies. Cue the likes of Bono, Dermot Desmond, Denis (Ireland is a communist country) O’Brien, J.P. Mc Manus, and lots more with lower profiles.

The third giveaway - but I'm sure you can think of many more – is the fact that the prime minister of the country (and ex finance minister), will have invested in a buy-to-let investment scheme in England, will be accused of illegally letting it, and will be threatened with legal action by the development’s management agency for non-payment of ground rent and management fees.

It seems that Brian Cowen was part of an Irish group that invested in student apartments in Leeds in 2005, and is now involved in the above fiasco according to today’s Irish Independent. One can only imagine that he was acting out of revenge for the famine and the English absentee landlords of the 19th century, and striking a blow for dear old Erin in his own little way. Either that, or he is just one of the many greedy Paddies who got caught up in the unseemly and unsustainable property stampede. But surely not???

Where else would you get it? And is there any wonder there was such a spectacular property bubble here, given some of our leading politicians were enthusiastically riding the buy-to-let bandwagon?

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Monday, 13 April 2009

5 penalty points for an NCT memory lapse

From next month, motorists will face a fine and 5 penalty points on their licence if they don’t have an up-to-date NCT certificate.

While nobody could argue against the principle of keeping dangerously defective vehicles off the road, one wonders if the latest decree is not a bit over the top? Firstly, a vehicle that is late for its NCT is not necessarily a defective one. Secondly, as drivers no longer receive a reminder from the NCT people when their test is due, the chances are that many people will forget, and end up getting 5 penalty points for a memory lapse.

If the State is to issue so many points for a relatively trivial transgression, surely the least it can do is provide an automatic reminder – as is the case with motor tax renewals?

Otherwise people will be put off the road for no good reason... and what's the point of that?

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Friday, 10 April 2009

Pull the plug on Youth Defence

Good Friday. What’s good about it? Apart from being the one day of the year you can feel vindicated in having a fridge bursting at the hinges with cans of beer. That's my excuse, anyway.

We are supposed to have progressed in Ireland, right? So why do we still have a Christian/Catholic ethos denying us the right of a “drink” on a certain Friday of the year? Why - oh why - do these believers insist on forcing their beliefs on the rest of us? Perhaps it is insecurity?

The same applies to right-wing conservatives Youth Defence (who operate from the same offices as Coir, the anti-EU grouping, see picture left). They have a narrow view informed – such as it is – by their belief in religious superstition. They believe that “life is life” as soon as the sperm makes contact with the egg, after its arduous swim up the vaginal canal. Life!

The irony is that they hijack scientific knowledge to advance their own ignorant doctrine. If it was down to the likes of them, we’d still be living in caves, rubbing sticks together, and just getting beyond the point of worshipping the Sun.

Yesterday, a lecture by Professor Len Doyal, a supporter of euthanasia, was disrupted by the lingering smelly fart of Old Ireland, Youth Defence. Informed by no more than a book that contains the accumulated ignorance of 2000 years – the Bible – they are opposed to the influence of humankind in the business of ending “life”. Be it in the form of a zygote, or a person suffering a painful terminal illness.

How do these people feel they have the authority to deny a rape victim the right to an abortion? How do they feel they have the right to deny a dying person the right to dignity and a pain-reduced exit from this vale of tears that they seem so fond of?

It’s time to pull the plug on them.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Lenihan's April Budget - "sharing the pain"?

There is so much out there on Lenihan’s April Budget that it’s hardly going to get a mention here; apart from saying it was totally predictable insofar as the section of society that contributes most to the overall tax take – the PAYE Sector – will be contributing even more.

During the heady (for some) days of the false boom, Ireland was supposedly the new economic miracle - but it was one big, Government-sponsored credit splurge. The following quote from Lenihan’s Budget speech is telling.

The economic boom this country has enjoyed in recent decades brought a remarkable rise in our living standards. Rapid growth in the early years was driven by exports. As in many other countries, the later stages were accompanied by a property bubble, fuelled in part by very low interest rates and the ready availability of credit. Some did warn that the housing market was unsustainable. Plenty did not. The consensus view suggested a soft landing. That prediction proved wrong. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that more should have been done to contain the housing market. We became too reliant on the construction sector for growth and tax receipts.

Far from being soley due to international economic factors (see italics), the severity of the crash in Ireland is due to active inflation of that market through Government taxation policies, including property incentives and shelters in an overheated market.

And they still have not learned the lesson. Tax residency laws remain untouched, there has been no effort to widen the tax base, and private pension schemes have not been capped to prevent abuse. Whatever consumer demand there might have been will be smothered now with significant decreases in people's take-home pay.

With all this talk of Ireland Inc “sharing the pain” - or should that be PAYE(n)? - maybe we should rename ourselves Ireland S&M?

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Sunday, 5 April 2009

"Comical Ken" MacDonald and the property market

Ken MacDonald, one eponym of Dublin estate agents Hooke and MacDonald, is Irish real estate’s Comical Ali. Indeed, some of his attempts to talk up the moribund property market, despite all contrary evidence, would have had the former Iraqi Information Minister shaking his head in disbelief.

Despite MacDonald’s professed faith in the market's robustness, however, he is quoted in today’s Sunday Business Post offering his advice to the Government in the approach to Tuesday’s emergency budget.

Hooke and MacDonald were heavily involved in the sale of new-build, tax-incentive properties throughout the boom years, and no doubt did very well from it. So now MacDonald is calling for stamp-duty to be halved, and a deposit “top-up” given to first-time buyers to "help them bridge any gap between the mortgage and the purchase price."

In view of the implosion of the property market due to bad loans and careless lending, does a deposit “top-up” not seem a trifle reckless? And who is to “give” it? Remember too, that first-time buyers are currently exempt from paying stamp duty on the shiny new houses and apartments MacDonald is trying to sell to them.

But maybe he’s not trying hard enough? Instead of asking for Government help, maybe he should reduce the asking prices to a level where people are prepared to buy?

It’s a novel concept with which the Irish business class are obviously unfamiliar. It’s called “the market”.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Friday, 3 April 2009

Talent? What talent?

Jim Power, chief economist of Friends First, recently said there “was room” for a 4% increase in the top rate of income tax in the forthcoming mini budget. In Ireland’s “low tax economy”, any income over €34,000 constitutes “top rate”.

Most of us are aware, too, that there has been much talk of increasing the current income levy, along with upping PRSI contributions to remedy the domestic mess created by Government policies that pumped up capital asset prices and a corresponding credit-fuelled bubble

The argument now is that Ireland Inc. is in serious trouble, and we must all pull together in the national interest. Yeah… right. Let’s just make a very lazy prediction here and forecast that those who will be hit most by the fiscal recriminations will be in the PAYE sector - soft, but legitimate, targets in the Government’s eyes. An extra 4%? No problem.

Contrast this with Power’s thoughts on Gerry McCaughey being obliged to resign from the Dublin Dockland’s Development Authority (a State body), after it was found he had rather creatively (we won't say dishonestly) used a Government-provided residency tax loophole to avoid paying capital gains on the sale of Century homes: the asking price of which was inflated greatly by the aforementioned bubble. The economist saw McCaughey’s resignation as evidence of a “witchhunt’, and declared that the country could not afford to lose businessmen of his “talent”.

The simplistic (and convenient) right-wing economic philosophy being trotted out here is that some very talented individuals are out there "generating" and "creating" wealth. Wealth that will eventually drip down to the rest of us, if we just let the geniuses do their magic. Thatcher said the same thing some time in the 80s, but the Drip-down Theory is only reaching Ireland now.

But at least Thatcher was ideologically consistent. The UK boom of the 80s occured largely on the back of deregulation, and real commercial activity. Unlike the reverse-socialism of Ireland's tax shelters and property incentives.

While we are on the subject of economics, is there any chance we might lose “talented” experts such as Jim Power? In October 2006 the same guru predicted a “soft landing” for the Irish housing market, claiming “strong fundamental forces” were behind its growth. Many of us knew back then, of course, that this statement was utter nonsense. In fact, I remember laughing out loud upon hearing it.

The Irish economic boom was created by cuts in capital gains taxes (which the super-rich still dodge paying anyway), low corporate tax, property incentives and shelters mentioned numerous times on this blog, and cheap credit - further facilitated by the “talent” of the banking sector, and their sloppy regulation that pushed it over the edge. Now it is over, and we know for certain that the days of semi-literate builders buzzing their arsecracks about the skies in their helicopters are finished.

Maybe if we ever manage to produce a Bill Gates, or a Steve Jobs, or somebody who can make a fortune out of innovation - rather than building apartments and houses fuelled by tax breaks – we can talk about “talent”.

And we should never listen to an economist who is attached to any kind of financial institution, as they are simply playing the tune of the Establishment.

Given how economists such as Jim Power got it so wrong, for so long, it is amazing they are still in jobs.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page