Robin Hood, Monty Python and the IMF

Anyone remember the Monty python sketch about the somewhat confused and incompetent highwayman, Dennis Moore, who in a reverse take on Robin Hood, robbed from the poor and gave to the rich?

It would appear that Monty Python’s influence extends to the economic policies of our government, and to its Euro-IMF-Banking-Puppeteers.

The Minister for Finance is going to ask the Dail next week to approve a budget which will effect a massive wealth transfer from some of the poorest members of Irish society to some of the richest people in Europe. How? It seems all but certain that the budget will contain reduced welfare and pensions, a widened tax base, and, critically, curtailed health and other public services. In return, we will incur unprecedented public debt via Europe and the IMF, in order to repay the commitments made by our banks to the speculators who foolishly bought their bonds. The removal of billions from the economy seems likely to prolong and deepen our recession.

Well, unless I’m missing something here, it seems that prudent Irish taxpayers, most of whom never bought a share or a bond in their life, are being asked to rescue a bunch of rich gamblers who embarked on a demented get-rich-quick-scheme which was based on the premise that development land in suburban Dublin was actually more valuable than similar real estate in Broadway, Hollywood or the Champ’s Elysee.

We are going to transfer money from the Irish Health Service to people like Mr Roman Abramovich, the cost of whose yacht would pay the Crumlin hospital budget for three years.

I may not be competent to judge whether a decision to reject this budget, force an election and renegotiate the bail out of the bondholders (remember it is them, not us who are being bailed out, we are in fact the ones doing the bailing), will ruin our economy and bring down the Euro. I do not know how far the 700 million-to-one billion it is rumoured will come out of the health budget will go towards saving a European Union whose accumulated banking and sovereign debts are estimated to be one trillion (i.e. one thousand, thousand million or, more than one thousand times the Irish health cuts) but I do know with certainty that these cuts will kill many Irish patients.

Some opposition and independent TDs have signalled their intention to oppose the budget. The time has come for individual Fianna Fail deputies, many of whom know now that they will lose their seats in early 2011, to take a long hard look into their own souls, to reflect on their political legacies, and to ask themselves who has the primary call on their loyalty. Is it the party whose intellectual mediocrity, economic incompetence, and systemic tolerance of corruption led us into disaster, or is it the people of Ireland?
I also know that many leading economists, people who have provided the most cogent analyses, and the most accurate predictions, men of the calibre of Constantin Gurgdiev, David McWilliams, Marc Coleman and Professor Raymond Kinsella (see below) have argued against the austerity & bail-out approach.

I am inclined to believe them.

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