Thursday, 15 April 2010

Government bail-out for mortgage holders?

It’s not too difficult to imagine the following…


Dear Brian. 

I was one of the Celtic Tiger go-getters who drove our economy when we were the envy of the world.  I was a risk-taker. A mover and shaker. A free-marketeer. A wealth creator.  And not just for myself, but for Ireland in general.

Some would say I was greedy, now that the zeitgeist has changed and we are all wise after the event, of course. But wasn’t it Michael McDowell, when he was your coalition partner, who said that greed was good?  Or was it Margaret Thatcher?  I get confused sometimes.

Then there were all the tax breaks your government had on offer, courtesy of that economic visionary Charlie McCreevy.  You see, as the self-employed owner of a small business, I never did agree with the principle of paying tax.   So I took advantage of a few of your government’s numerous property-based tax shelters to minimise my exposure.  I must introduce you to my accountant if things ever pick up again – he knows a trick or two!

To cut a long story short, Brian,  I built up an impressive portfolio of investment properties over the course of our unprecedented boom, many of them acquired through interest-only mortgages. At one point I was a millionaire several times over (on paper, anyhow).  I loved reciting my list of apartments to my friends, over a nice meal in Rolys, as we discussed the market and the next up-and-coming areas.  Clondalkin was one, I remember.  Halcyon days indeed!

I had all the trappings.  I used my property portfolio as leverage to get finance for a lovely Aston Martin DB9, and I traded in the E-Class every year on the same basis.  Those registration plates say so much about you.  Image is everything in the world of the entrepreneur!

But I did some good for society too.  I provided employment for two people in my once bustling coffee shop, and it might have been more but for the minimum wage.  I provided accommodation for our expanding labour force, and made sure that as much money as possible was coming into our economy by upwardly revising my rents every year, kicking out anyone who wouldn’t stump up.

Now, Brian, it’s all gone awry.  My investment properties have plummeted in value, I can’t rent them out, and the DB9 has been repossessed.  Now I am reduced to driving around in a 06 Merc, and I’ve had to take the boys out of St Andrews.

It’s not that long ago that one of Fianna Fail's greatest-ever thinkers, Bertie Ahern, was saying that the boom could only get boomier, and I didn’t doubt him.  Who would?   In short, Brian, I think your government led me, and others like me, astray.  You led us to believe, along with all those economists, that things could only get better. 

Your party has been very kind to the bankers and the developers, so what about the little man/woman like me?  We are the deserving cases, as we drove the whole shooting match.  We were the ones on the ground, making it happen. 

There has been considerable discussion in some quarters about the possibility of a bail-out for hard-pressed mortgage holders.  I hope you give such suggestions serious thought, and consider those of us who have multiple mortgages.   I think it is only right and proper.  After all, aren’t we the most hard-pressed of all?

There’ll be a vote in it for you.   Again.

G. Reed.
Co Dublin.

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Mr. Fink said...

Haha, send it in to the IT.

Anna said...

Before Ireland crashed Iceland did- leading to a joke that was current 18 months ago approx.”What’s the difference between Iceland and Ireland? Ans= 1 letter and 6 months down the line.’’
There a few more differences- for 1 the Icelanders mobbed outside parliament and banged on pots and pans still they forced a change of government- also see below :
I thought this was too informative not to copy- it’s a response to a Q blog on the Irish Times of Thursday 15/4/2010:

Do you agree with President Mary Mc Aleese's assertion that Ireland's current economic woes are 'testosterone driven'?’:
Testosterone undoubtedly plays a role albeit relatively minor compared to the old familiar stupidity -fuelled greed, aided and abetted by criminal practices, lies, deceit and denial - all of which can be laid at the door of the Irish government and its cronies. This week sees the publication of a 2300 page document by Iceland's Truth Commission on how a relatively small number of individuals managed to wreck the country's economy and saddle its people with debt that will take decades to pay off. The investigation that led to the publication of this document was completed in a few months at a very modest cost. In Ireland, there is just denial and yet more dishonest accountancy practices ( at the specific behest of the government) to hide the debt of billions now being fostered on the citizens of the country through NAMA and the bank bailouts, in order to pay for the reckless gambling of a privileged few.
penguin Antarctica

Now how long has the Moriarity tribunal been sitting- and how much is the current cost?

Anonymous said...

gday GM aston martins are soooh passse here in beverly hills an obvious johhny jumpup flash harry piece of road hardware no wonder the discerning gombeens are giving them back to the bank its not financial stress atall it a matter of moving on to better things, my friend AKBAR sold his 4 astons for 2 bentlys he now gets soooh much more respect from the hookers on sunset strip these girls are so fussy nowadays,my self i stick with ROLLERS since coming to the hills, inKERRY my first automatic shift was neddy going to the creamery it was erratic to say the least but reliable those were the good auld times my advice buy an ass for relable transport and interesting exhaust sounds

Ella said...

Mr/Ms G. Reed (Greed) has my sympathy, the indignity of driving around in an 06 Merc!

Anonymous said...

Only this week I recalled how 2 people tried to offer me loans over the last 5 years. One of whom who worked for a well known 'bank' and the other who worked for a dodgy 'building society'. The 'bank' guy was a friend of a friend and I had just met him and he gave me his business card. The 'building society' guy was an old school acquaintance. The strange thing was that I met both of them late at night in the pub. Says it all really. I am glad I did'nt take them up on the offer or I too could have been riding high for a few years and now one step from the poorhouse.

@ Anna: I was trying to post on the irish times website poll that the 'muttons dressed as lamb' driving around d4/d6 in jeeps are well past the age where testosterone is a factor and how it was greed and corruption that caused and continues to cause our problems here. Needless to say they didnt publish it.

Keeping up appearances is a lot more important than being photographed outside the dail banging pots or pans. The media and government have done a good enough job of massaging it into collective blame / lehmans did it.

Anonymous said...

lol...06 merc? makes me weep.
The GReeds of this world still dont get it.


The Gombeen Man said...

@ Mr Fink. Well, I've a "good" address there, and that's half the battle in making the IT letters page. ;-)

@ Anna. There seems to be a lack of critical thinking among the Irish populace at large which allows the gombeen class to get away with all sorts of chicanery - time, time and time again. Sure just get them singing a couple of "rebel" songs and they are happy. The eejits.

@ BH. I agree re Astons. If I ever come into a sum of dosh commensurate with a Euromillions win; or a failed, corrupt, Irish bank director's bonus, it's a 911 Turbo for me, thank you.

@ Toast. Glad you didn't get sucked in mate. That old live now, pay tomorrow, idea has always been a bit too tempting for many. Unless you're a banker or developer, then you just get bailed out by the plebs anyway.

@ Ella and Dakota. I take it you guys are not too sympathetic to poor old G.Reed's plight? Hearts of stone, the pair of you.