Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

This is not a bailout. It's a sell-out of the Irish people

Make no mistake about it, this 'bailout' will sink the Republic. We are witnessing a monumental struggle between the innocent average Irish person and the guilty creditors of the bust Irish banks.

Interestingly, the financial markets have seen through what the Dublin government and the elite are trying to do and have reacted with ferocious negativity to the IMF deal.

The markets realise that the Irish state is not bust; rather the Irish banking system is bust. Therefore, rational people can see that any deal which is framed to give Ireland a chance has to sever the link between the bust banks and the solvent state.

However, far from severing the link, the deal solders the link between state and banks, making the Republic itself little more than a bust bank.

The rest of the world has twigged that what the elites are trying to do is preserve their system by giving the bill to the people - and this will not work.

This is why, far from calming the financial markets, the IMF deal with Ireland has enraged them.

Extraordinarily, the people who were supposed to negotiate for the Irish people not only negotiated against them, but couldn't see the backlash coming. Perhaps this is because few of them have any real financial market qualifications. In order to get to the bottom of what is happening, we have to clear up a few things. First, we have to stop calling it a bailout.

This isn't anything like a bailout. Rather it is the EU giving us enough rope to hang ourselves in the hope that we don't hang all of them.

Not only have they given Ireland a rope, but the interest rate on the rope is nearly a death sentence in itself. It is reported that the 'blended rate at current market prices will be 5.82%'. There are two sides to this story.

First, there is the cost side. If the Republic borrows the entire €67.5bn and scrapes the bottom of the barrel to come up with €17.5bn, it can add €85bn to the current outstanding €90bn of debt.

That will leave Ireland with a national debt of €175bn by the end of 2014. The interest on this will come to about €8.5bn per annum.

This, of course, is the optimistic scenario.

Anyone who has watched in horror as the cost of Anglo Irish has risen from zero to €4bn to €12bn to €18bn to €24bn to €35bn over the past 26 months will know exactly what stock to put in government forecasts.

But the other side of the story is growth.

If this debt is not to drown the country, it needs the economy to grow at a pace that is greater than the interest due on the debt.

With a debt/GNP ratio far above 100%, growth will have to be in the order of 8-10% by 2014 for the economy just to stand still.

Anything less than that and the interest payments head off on an unsustainable tangent.

Without growth at these levels, the interest payments leaving the economy (a major problem when a country has all its debt owned offshore) will prove such a drain on the state that we will end in a debt-deflationary spiral.

This is where growth fails to meet the interest payments, making the following year's growth lower as there is less investment, making that year's interest payment more burdensome, leading to less growth etc, until a huge default becomes inevitable.

So where will this growth come from? Where can it come from? The assumption underlying the Republic's four-year plan is that things will not get any worse.

That is some assumption. But let's allow it for a moment. Has there been any government policy recently that is aimed at improving opportunity for the future?

Or have they all been about preserving the past, and the 'insider' power nexus that got us here in the first place?

The bailout hits the sweet spot where the interests of Ireland's insiders and the European insiders meet.

Luckily, the financial markets do not have the same interests. The markets want growth, not punishment, which is why they are sceptical.

Without a radical change in the way Ireland is governed, there is no hope of growth returning.

The only hope is that maybe there is a tide coming that will wash away the 'insiders' and take their policy decisions that will bankrupt the country with them.

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