This is from the Associated Press –
Ireland’s international bailout boosted its bank stocks Monday, but outraged many hard-pressed taxpayers, who questioned why the government’s pension reserves must be ravaged as part of a deal that burdens the whole country with the mistakes of a rich elite.
Shares in Ireland’s banks rose sharply as markets were encouraged by the bailout’s immediate focus on injecting €10 billion into the cash-strapped lenders out of a total of €67.5 billion ($89 billion) in loans.
But the Irish were shocked by a key condition for the rescue — that the government use €17.5 billion of its own cash and pension reserves to shore up its public finances, which have been overwhelmed by recession and exceptional costs of a runaway bank-bailout effort.
Opposition leaders and economists warned that the EU-IMF credit line’s average interest rate of 5.8 percent would be too high to repay. They also questioned why senior bondholders of Ireland’s struggling banks — chiefly other banks in Britain, Germany and the U.S. — still weren’t being asked to bear some costs.
Here’s what’s been happening. About twenty years ago, the Irish bought in to the Friedman Economic Theories (FREE MARKET) and freed their system from the chains of regulation. After that, the economy took off like a rocket. Actually the economy did take off but only for certain sectors of the economy particularly the financial industry. All that rocket climb was just a bubble of speculation and when the cloud of dust settled the state banks were deep in the hole. The Irish nationalized the banks and have since bailed them out to the tune of 100 billion dollars. This is smaller than the the U.S. bailout (TARP) but from a very, very much smaller nation (4.5 million people).
They are getting to a loan to keep their economy afloat from other European nations. To get it, they have to put the nation’s pensions funds up as a guarantee. People are unhappy about this.
But here’s the kicker. This is what is really making people mad. The bondholders of these banks are not required to pay for any portion of this at all. Zero!
If they had turned away the huge profits made during the “Celtic Lion” period like a benevolent aristocracy, I might cut them some slack but they didn’t quibble about taking the money. And now the Irish people, in particular, the ones that never profited from the whole economic de-regulation, speculation nightmare, are going to pay for it.
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