Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Charlie McCreevy - original genius behind the Irish economic miracle

The Two Brians are taking a lot of flak at the minute for destroying the Irish economy, but let’s not forget their predecessor as minister of finance, Charlie McCreevy.

McCreevy was seen by the  Irish capitalist and investor class - before they all became socialists - as the stormtrooper of Irish physical market-force capitalism. He greeted Ireland’s entry into the low interest rate Eurozone by cutting capital gains tax from 40% to 20%, for instance.

He also extended the property-based tax reliefs, set up the SSIAs, presided over “giveaway” budgets, introduced the failed decentralization scheme, and otherwise did everything in his power to set Ireland’s indebtedness and property "values" on a stratospherically high, unsustainable, upward trajectory.

Here are some quotes from the original guru behind the Irish economic miracle:

“I suggest the phrases ‘radical’, ‘reforming’ and ‘major’ might be applied to this budget – especially on the tax side”   On his 1999 Budget.

“I have it, so I’ll spend it”   Quoted in 2000.

“In the popular TV series, Yes Minister, the loyal civil servant, Sir Humphrey, often advised his political master as follows: ‘To be precise, many things may be done, but nothing must ever be done for the first time.’    "It will scarcely surpise that I do not subscribe to this political maxim”.   Before introducing Budget 2001.

“We got ourselves into a mire by borrowing for current purposes in the past. The legacy hung around our neck for over 20 years. I am not going to repeat the mistakes of the past”. Before Budget 2002.

 “Ireland needs good regulation of the financial sector. It is required to ensure that the hundreds of billions of euro invested by Irish people and organisations in the banks, building societies, insurance companies, investment firms and funds, directly and through intermediaries, are held in trust for them by a professional and secure financial sector”
When launching the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, May 1st, 2003.

“In the 1970s and 1980s our country ended up in an unsustainable situation because of the wrong budgetary policies. Governments refused to respond to challenges as they arose. They chose short-term solutions which caused long-term problems. This Government will not make the same mistake.”    Budget 2003 speech.

And the corker, apparently delivered without irony:

Everybody seems to have become an economics commentator in Ireland. People who don’t know the first thing about economics, public finances or anything else.”Quoted in the Irish Times, January 16th, 2010.

Sorry, Charlie. We all bow before your superior knowledge on such matters.

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anna said...

It's wonderfully public spiritied of GN to run these helpful little bios of Great Fianna Failers* Of Our Time (* yes this word can be read two ways- both as 1) party members and 2)a comment on their effectiveness): I suggest a whole series in advance of elecion
Get on Wikipoedia for more wise quotes:

"In October 2007 McCreevy, commenting on the Northern Rock Bank's loss of investor confidence, claimed that banking regulations in England which forces banks to be open to scrutiny from outside investors, caused the panic. He said that if access to the banks dealings had been restricted, then the trouble could have been avoided"

Wiki doesn't mention his housing situation, and
NO profile would be complete without this:
SO perhaps this blog could record, that in TOTAL fairness to Mc Creevy, when house prices were Escalating @ late 90's/ early 2000's
Mc Creevy paid Just a Very Modest 150,000 euro for a small family home in Kildare.
It think it is worth emphasising the peronal frugality of the man..,as Ireland is SO full of begrudgers; There were those who said it was Really valued at 1.5 million.
LOOK here, many of us have friends who are tradesmen, so we can get work done at a few quid off. His builder buddy normally built only large estates ( in fact coincidentally he plonked a Large Estate in Mc Creevy's home village, despite protests from locals )but managed a cut price Georgian reproduction Mansion-ette for Mc Creevey- that's what friends are for - wasn't Bertie glad he had good friends as well?I KNOW what you're thinking but it really WAS just a family home- I think people just got jealous when they realised it had a few stables at the back- well I can't fault him myself, we Irish are after all, pet lovers. So he had a few pet race horses, so what? They HAD to be housed, didn't they? Great man for the horses. And gambling. And tax breaks on stud farms and gambling.
And great man for supporting Irish boodstock industry by turning up at race meetings. And great friend of the Queen Mother.
"Ah Fianna Fail" as Voltaire once said, " IF they did not exist it would be necessary to invent them." or did he mean God? Or do the FF'ers think they are God? Now I'm confused in my quotes.
One things for sure, you could not make this stuff up

anna said...

Little Xmas story:

Santa Claus, an honest lawyer, and a trustworthy Fianna Fail TD are walking down the street when they see an old doddery man drop his wallet, and walk on without noticing:
Q: Which of them rushed to give it back to the man?
Santa, of course! The other two don’t Really exist.

The Gombeen Man said...

Good one, Anna.

Wasn't aware of Charlie's, eeeeeehh, 150,000 mega mansion.

Not surprised though.

Anonymous said...

I used to travel the road outside McCreevy's mansion regularly a good few years ago.
It was a pleasant drive on the wide immaculately tarmacked road from firmount cross until you got to his second gate pier and then it was back to a thin potholed job to remind you that you were a mere mortal.

Didn't know it was a cut price job, the quality certainly didn't suffer.

Conveniently the government nuclear shelter is just down the road from it (if I remember correctly).I'm not sure if thats still operational or not.


Anonymous said...

HImrG NO wonder our little tinpot bananna republic collasped under the weight of its own shit and corruption, the images on youtube of the irish governing class speaks volumes to the world,they have greed ignorance and jumped up jackass written allover them, it doesnt matter how much they spend on clothes they are obvious thicks steeped in ignorance, the performance in the dail is laughable and absurd,GOD HELP POOR AULD OIRLAND, check it out on utube LOL -BH

The Gombeen Man said...

@ SH. I remember, a few years back, you could always tell the clout of the local TD in a given part of a given county by the smoothness of the roads. And McCreevy even manages a bunker too...

@ BH. Good to hear from you. Yes, it seems that most people here are obvlivious to the mirth our public figures provide the outside world. Cowen on Leno, McCreevy making incoherent speeches in Europe (and boasting about not reading its treaties). Just look at the cut of him above. And when McCreevy was in full flow, he was admired by much of the media. I remember Myers writting a glowing account of him and his economic prowess.

DAA Hoboken NJ said...

The Art of being a corrupt politician is: that you are never found out. American and British politicians are so adept at corruption that it never looks like corruption. In the UK it is the Labor party who are being prosecuted, not the Tories who are more devious and cunning. Ireland could learn a great deal from this. The trouble starts when the politician tries to cover his tracks, and he leaves evidence. It is easier for a politician to release two or more conflicting stories or explanations at the same time about everything he/she does. Why does FF not just stand down from power and allow FG and the other fools to pick up all the shit and then come back with clean hands. That is real politics. The Darling Charlie has done just that with his ‘corkscrew’ strategies, because nobody fucking knows what he did, not really.

Dakota said...

I wouldn't let him run a bath or for that matter would I leave him in charge of a broken biscuit. Didn't the euro lads think he was off his trolley when he wanted to get to the nearest bookies to bet on his GGs? I'm sure he's a nice guy but guess what the lovable rouge is what the Irish love most, a lovable rouge. Is, was and always will be that way. Mr Mc Creevy is a product of the culture. The explanation for this ongoing attitude is in the water or the weather. Either way this country is unique. Stick around for the next 10 years or so and FF will be back in power. Guaranteed. Ok thats great you may say but after a conversation I had yesterday with a guy in his early twenties, I don't hold out any hope for this country whatsoever. It may recover economically but it really is screwed socially. This guy told me every single one of his peers are, right of centre. Every single one, and that's with all the changes in education and everything else you care to mention. Now when I say right, I don't mean the fuzzy FF right, I mean right of the young conservatives in the UK. (Maybe a good thing, in a way, as Labour are downright scary). He had no real concept of the meaning of aultruism. I was shocked. It confirmed all my suspitions having seen what is put up on the Irish Board websites. Which all seem to support a right of centre viewpoint. It could be argued therefore that the reason why there is no effective political party system in Ireland is down to the fact that the population at large are all right of centre. Which is reflected in all of the parties.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ DAA. Yes. Pile up the highest pile of stinking ordure in the State's history, and leave it for Lab/FG to clean up. When they can't, get voted back in power in five years' time. Hey presto!

@ Dakota. I've noted that myself on my rare forays into Boards and PoliticsDotIe. But look on the bright side, most of them will have to emigrate anyway... ;-)

Ella said...

@ Mr BH, great to see you back in form, thought you might have abandoned GM'S blog there.
@Dakota, no surprise that so many are right of centre, it's a predominantly catholic country.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Ella. True enough... old habits of hypocricy die hard, I think.

@ Dakota. Meant to say earlier - can you imagine Angela Merkel popping out of a Bundestag sitting to slap a few Euro on Likely Lad at the 2.15 at Haydock?????? Or David Cameron sticking his head into Paddy Power after a day at the Houses of Pariament. There seems to be a very unhealthy relationship between Irish polictians and the gee-gees. But hang on - don't they give millions to the turf "industry"... and by extension the gambling industry, and the countless ruined lives that's responible for.

Dakota said...

@Ella Yep but most of the pre 30 year olds are agnostic if not complete non believers. The legacy of catholicism runs deep but I think the collective psychological answers could be even deeper. Youth culture (in all western cultures) now seems to be along the lines of networks, reputation and a strange form of ladism, which has a greater or lesser outlet depending on the culture of the given country. Ireland is not immune. If anything, it embraced some of the fallout from this phenomenon, such as triviality (most notably celb culture, GMs example above whereby Mr Mc Creevy was seen as an economic Guru only a couple of years ago) more so than anywhere else. Saying that whatever future generations do to society or culture here, it will only be a continuation. As one union leader recently said in the media they choose Boston when Berlin was easily attainable. Was that a good thing. No I don't think it was.

Also like to second Ella there, BH is the biz. Always get a good laugh from his posts.

Anonymous said...

Who is not hard to tell me how to set a bookmark in the profile , but what then e is obtained ?

The Gombeen Man said...


Anonymous said...

thanks, very good =)

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the news has changed its approach recently?