What is truth?

Posts tagged ‘Patrick Honohan’

EUROBLOWN: Why the Greeks should ignore the scaremongering, and dump the euro.

Olli Rehn, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Co...

Olli Rehn, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By The SlogThe twice-daily soap opera Euroblown is now pretty much into its stride as far as the format is concerned. Head Scriptwriter Wolfgang Schäuble briefs the cast on Mondays, after which the others learn their lines and dutifully do their best to make the wooden fantasy sound right.

“Greece leaving the eurozone is no big deal,” said Wolfie last Monday, “We are prepared now”.

And so…

Europe is “certainly more resilient” to a possible Greek exit than it was two years ago, when the bloc would have been “massively underprepared,” European Union Economic and Monetary commissioner Olli Rehn said Wednesday.

A Greek exit from the euro could be “technically” managed, European Central Bank Governing Council member Patrick Honohan assured regular listeners in a cameo role Friday

full article at source:  http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/the-twice-daily/

Comment :

Any Government that resorts to blackmail and bullying of its own citizens is not fit for government and cannot be trusted to represent the citizens of that country .The Irish government have betrayed their oath of office to defend the Irish constitution in favour of the wishes of the faceless bondholders and financial terrorists who are the same gangsters, currently dismantling the Greek nation .Fair play to the heroic Greeks for standing up for their land and culture God bless Greece!

Governor Patrick Honohan before the Oireachtas

By Namawinelake

Aliens appear to have been at work in Ireland in the past fortnight. Deputy Peter Mathews seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth shortly after his 6.30am dawn carpeting last Thursday week by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, after Peter had, the previous evening, tabled a proposal at an Oireachtas committee meeting to summon governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Professor Patrick Honohan before that committee to give an account of the work underway to reduce the cost of the Anglo promissory notes. So Peter was probably given a stern warning by Enda and told to stay away from the media. Maybe. But where is the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan who last Wednesday night barged into the Dail where Private Members’ Business was taking place, where against protocol, the Minister gave a brief statement on the Anglo promissory note negotiations and left. He turned up again on Friday morning when he told the media he was “confident” of a deal “over the weekend”.

full article at source: http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/

ECB refuses to hand over November 2010 threat letter sent to Brian Lenihan

By Namawinelake

The story of Ireland’s bailout in November 2010 has been partly told in dribs and drabs. Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Patrick Honohan said that the Minister for Finance in November 2010, the late Brian Lenihan was “crestfallen” when he learned from the ECB that Ireland couldn’t default even on the unguaranteed debts of the banks. The Governor went on to say that Minister Lenihan was “offered no room” for negotiation on the matter. And in April 2011, Dan O’Brien in a BBC Radio 4 programme referred to a letter sent by the former ECB president, Jean-Claude Trichet on Friday 19th November to Minister Lenihan which set out the ECB position

full article at source:  http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/ecb-refuses-to-hand-over-november-2010-threat-letter-sent-to-brian-lenihan/

A Dept Finance note on Anglo Bonds Repayments

 by Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev

Here’s the bull***t that passes for ‘advisory analysis’ for politicians – the copy of the note sent out
to Government TDs from a specific party based on the Department of Finance
information. I am publishing it here without any specific comments – judge for
yourselves reading it – my only general comment is that it is uses a number of
deceitful tricks, false juxtapositions and selective omissions to present the
case for repaying unsecured unguaranteed bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank /
IBRC.

(You can click on the pages to enlarge the text. I am publishing it
without an explicit HT so as not reveal my source).

full article at source: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2011/11/02112011-doff-note-on-anglo-bonds.html

Comment:

I rest my case we cannot trust our own politicians who are in fact the mouthpieces of the vested interests.We are been lied to all the time and the Department of Finance are the biggest liars they can’t even count for god sakes!

Nice work Dr.Gurdgiev

Ireland is heading for bankruptcy!

OPINION: Ireland is heading for bankruptcy, which would be catastrophic for a country that trades on its reputation as a safe place to do business,

By MORGAN KELLY

WITH THE Irish Government on track to owe a quarter of a trillion euro by 2014, a prolonged and chaotic national bankruptcy is becoming inevitable. By the time the dust settles, Ireland’s last remaining asset, its reputation as a safe place from which to conduct business, will have been destroyed.

Ireland is facing economic ruin.

While most people would trace our ruin to to the bank guarantee of September 2008, the real error was in sticking with the guarantee long after it had become clear that the bank losses were insupportable. Brian Lenihan’s original decision to guarantee most of the bonds of Irish banks was a mistake, but a mistake so obvious and so ridiculous that it could easily have been reversed. The ideal time to have reversed the bank guarantee was a few months later when Patrick Honohan was appointed governor of the Central Bank and assumed de facto control of Irish economic policy.

As a respected academic expert on banking crises, Honohan commanded the international authority to have announced that the guarantee had been made in haste and with poor information, and would be replaced by a restructuring where bonds in the banks would be swapped for shares.

Instead, Honohan seemed unperturbed by the possible scale of bank losses, repeatedly insisting that they were “manageable”. Like most Irish economists of his generation, he appeared to believe that Ireland was still the export-driven powerhouse of the 1990s, rather than the credit-fuelled Ponzi scheme it had become since 2000; and the banking crisis no worse than the, largely manufactured, government budget crisis of the late 1980s.

Rising dismay at Honohan’s judgment crystallised into outright scepticism after an extraordinary interview with Bloomberg business news on May 28th last year. Having overseen the Central Bank’s “quite aggressive” stress tests of the Irish banks, he assured them that he would have “the two big banks, fixed by the end of the year. I think it’s quite good news The banks are floating away from dependence on the State and will be free standing”.

Honohan’s miscalculation of the bank losses has turned out to be the costliest mistake ever made by an Irish person. Armed with Honohan’s assurances that the bank losses were manageable, the Irish government confidently rode into the Little Bighorn and repaid the bank bondholders, even those who had not been guaranteed under the original scheme. This suicidal policy culminated in the repayment of most of the outstanding bonds last September.

Disaster followed within weeks. Nobody would lend to Irish banks, so that the maturing bonds were repaid largely by emergency borrowing from the European Central Bank: by November the Irish banks already owed more than €60 billion. Despite aggressive cuts in government spending, the certainty that bank losses would far exceed Honohan’s estimates led financial markets to stop lending to Ireland.

On November 16th, European finance ministers urged Lenihan to accept a bailout to stop the panic spreading to Spain and Portugal, but he refused, arguing that the Irish government was funded until the following summer. Although attacked by the Irish media for this seemingly delusional behaviour, Lenihan, for once, was doing precisely the right thing. Behind Lenihan’s refusal lay the thinly veiled threat that, unless given suitably generous terms, Ireland could hold happily its breath for long enough that Spain and Portugal, who needed to borrow every month, would drown.

At this stage, with Lenihan looking set to exploit his strong negotiating position to seek a bailout of the banks only, Honohan intervened. As well as being Ireland’s chief economic adviser, he also plays for the opposing team as a member of the council of the European Central Bank, whose decisions he is bound to carry out. In Frankfurt for the monthly meeting of the ECB on November 18th, Honohan announced on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland that Ireland would need a bailout of “tens of billions”.

Rarely has a finance minister been so deftly sliced off at the ankles by his central bank governor. And so the Honohan Doctrine that bank losses could and should be repaid by Irish taxpayers ran its predictable course with the financial collapse and international bailout of the Irish State.

Ireland’s Last Stand began less shambolically than you might expect. The IMF, which believes that lenders should pay for their stupidity before it has to reach into its pocket, presented the Irish with a plan to haircut €30 billion of unguaranteed bonds by two-thirds on average. Lenihan was overjoyed, according to a source who was there, telling the IMF team: “You are Ireland’s salvation.”

The deal was torpedoed from an unexpected direction. At a conference call with the G7 finance ministers, the haircut was vetoed by US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner who, as his payment of $13 billion from government-owned AIG to Goldman Sachs showed, believes that bankers take priority over taxpayers. The only one to speak up for the Irish was UK chancellor George Osborne, but Geithner, as always, got his way. An instructive, if painful, lesson in the extent of US soft power, and in who our friends really are.

The negotiations went downhill from there. On one side was the European Central Bank, unabashedly representing Ireland’s creditors and insisting on full repayment of bank bonds. On the other was the IMF, arguing that Irish taxpayers would be doing well to balance their government’s books, let alone repay the losses of private banks. And the Irish? On the side of the ECB, naturally.

In the circumstances, the ECB walked away with everything it wanted. The IMF were scathing of the Irish performance, with one staffer describing the eagerness of some Irish negotiators to side with the ECB as displaying strong elements of Stockholm Syndrome.

The bailout represents almost as much of a scandal for the IMF as it does for Ireland. The IMF found itself outmanoeuvred by ECB negotiators, their low opinion of whom they are not at pains to conceal. More importantly, the IMF was forced by the obduracy of Geithner and the spinelessness, or worse, of the Irish to lend their imprimatur, and €30 billion of their capital, to a deal that its negotiators privately admit will end in Irish bankruptcy. Lending to an insolvent state, which has no hope of reducing its debt enough to borrow in markets again, breaches the most fundamental rule of the IMF, and a heated debate continues there over the legality of the Irish deal.

Six months on, and with Irish government debt rated one notch above junk and the run on Irish banks starting to spread to household deposits, it might appear that the Irish bailout of last November has already ended in abject failure. On the contrary, as far as its ECB architects are concerned, the bailout has turned out to be an unqualified success.

The one thing you need to understand about the Irish bailout is that it had nothing to do with repairing Ireland’s finances enough to allow the Irish Government to start borrowing again in the bond markets at reasonable rates: what people ordinarily think of a bailout as doing.

The finances of the Irish Government are like a bucket with a large hole in the form of the banking system. While any half-serious rescue would have focused on plugging this hole, the agreed bailout ostentatiously ignored the banks, except for reiterating the ECB-Honohan view that their losses would be borne by Irish taxpayers. Try to imagine the Bank of England’s insisting that Northern Rock be rescued by Newcastle City Council and you have some idea of how seriously the ECB expects the Irish bailout to work.

Instead, the sole purpose of the Irish bailout was to frighten the Spanish into line with a vivid demonstration that EU rescues are not for the faint-hearted. And the ECB plan, so far anyway, has worked. Given a choice between being strung up like Ireland – an object of international ridicule, paying exorbitant rates on bailout funds, its government ministers answerable to a Hungarian university lecturer – or mending their ways, the Spanish have understandably chosen the latter.

But why was it necessary, or at least expedient, for the EU to force an economic collapse on Ireland to frighten Spain? The answer goes back to a fundamental, and potentially fatal, flaw in the design of the euro zone: the lack of any means of dealing with large, insolvent banks.

Back when the euro was being planned in the mid-1990s, it never occurred to anyone that cautious, stodgy banks like AIB and Bank of Ireland, run by faintly dim former rugby players, could ever borrow tens of billions overseas, and lose it all on dodgy property loans. Had the collapse been limited to Irish banks, some sort of rescue deal might have been cobbled together; but a suspicion lingers that many Spanish banks – which inflated a property bubble almost as exuberant as Ireland’s, but in the world’s ninth largest economy – are hiding losses as large as those that sank their Irish counterparts.

Uniquely in the world, the European Central Bank has no central government standing behind it that can levy taxes. To rescue a banking system as large as Spain’s would require a massive commitment of resources by European countries to a European Monetary Fund: something so politically complex and financially costly that it will only be considered in extremis, to avert the collapse of the euro zone. It is easiest for now for the ECB to keep its fingers crossed that Spain pulls through by itself, encouraged by the example made of the Irish.

Irish insolvency is now less a matter of economics than of arithmetic. If everything goes according to plan, as it always does, Ireland’s government debt will top €190 billion by 2014, with another €45 billion in Nama and €35 billion in bank recapitalisation, for a total of €270 billion, plus whatever losses the Irish Central Bank has made on its emergency lending. Subtracting off the likely value of the banks and Nama assets, Namawinelake (by far the best source on the Irish economy) reckons our final debt will be about €220 billion, and I think it will be closer to €250 billion, but these differences are immaterial: either way we are talking of a Government debt that is more than €120,000 per worker, or 60 per cent larger than GNP.

Economists have a rule of thumb that once its national debt exceeds its national income, a small economy is in danger of default (large economies, like Japan, can go considerably higher). Ireland is so far into the red zone that marginal changes in the bailout terms can make no difference: we are going to be in the Hudson.

The ECB applauded and lent Ireland the money to ensure that the banks that lent to Anglo and Nationwide be repaid, and now finds itself in the situation where, as a consequence, the banks that lent to the Irish Government are at risk of losing most of what they lent. In other words, the Irish banking crisis has become part of the larger European sovereign debt crisis.

Given the political paralysis in the EU, and a European Central Bank that sees its main task as placating the editors of German tabloids, the most likely outcome of the European debt crisis is that, after two years or so to allow French and German banks to build up loss reserves, the insolvent economies will be forced into some sort of bankruptcy.

Make no mistake: while government defaults are almost the normal state of affairs in places like Greece and Argentina, for a country like Ireland that trades on its reputation as a safe place to do business, a bankruptcy would be catastrophic. Sovereign bankruptcies drag on for years as creditors hold out for better terms, or sell to so-called vulture funds that engage in endless litigation overseas to have national assets such as aircraft impounded in the hope that they can make a sufficient nuisance of themselves to be bought off.

Worse still, a bankruptcy can do nothing to repair Ireland’s finances. Given the other commitments of the Irish State (to the banks, Nama, EU, ECB and IMF), for a bankruptcy to return government debt to a sustainable level, the holders of regular government bonds will have to be more or less wiped out. Unfortunately, most Irish government bonds are held by Irish banks and insurance companies.

In other words, we have embarked on a futile game of passing the parcel of insolvency: first from the banks to the Irish State, and next from the State back to the banks and insurance companies. The eventual outcome will likely see Ireland as some sort of EU protectorate, Europe’s answer to Puerto Rico.

Suppose that we did not want to follow our current path towards an ECB-directed bankruptcy and spiralling national ruin, is there anything we could do? While Prof Honohan sportingly threw away our best cards last September, there still is a way out that, while not painless, is considerably less painful than what Europe has in mind for us.

National survival requires that Ireland walk away from the bailout. This in turn requires the Government to do two things: disengage from the banks, and bring its budget into balance immediately.

First the banks. While the ECB does not want to rescue the Irish banks, it cannot let them collapse either and start a wave of panic that sweeps across Europe. So, every time one of you expresses your approval of the Irish banks by moving your savings to a foreign-owned bank, the Irish bank goes and replaces your money with emergency borrowing from the ECB or the Irish Central Bank. Their current borrowings are €160 billion.

The original bailout plan was that the loan portfolios of Irish banks would be sold off to repay these borrowings. However, foreign banks know that many of these loans, mortgages especially, will eventually default, and were not interested. As a result, the ECB finds itself with the Irish banks wedged uncomfortably far up its fundament, and no way of dislodging them.

This allows Ireland to walk away from the banking system by returning the Nama assets to the banks, and withdrawing its promissory notes in the banks. The ECB can then learn the basic economic truth that if you lend €160 billion to insolvent banks backed by an insolvent state, you are no longer a creditor: you are the owner. At some stage the ECB can take out an eraser and, where “Emergency Loan” is written in the accounts of Irish banks, write “Capital” instead. When it chooses to do so is its problem, not ours.

At a stroke, the Irish Government can halve its debt to a survivable €110 billion. The ECB can do nothing to the Irish banks in retaliation without triggering a catastrophic panic in Spain and across the rest of Europe. The only way Europe can respond is by cutting off funding to the Irish Government.

So the second strand of national survival is to bring the Government budget immediately into balance. The reason for governments to run deficits in recessions is to smooth out temporary dips in economic activity. However, our current slump is not temporary: Ireland bet everything that house prices would rise forever, and lost. To borrow so that senior civil servants like me can continue to enjoy salaries twice as much as our European counterparts makes no sense, macroeconomic or otherwise.

Cutting Government borrowing to zero immediately is not painless but it is the only way of disentangling ourselves from the loan sharks who are intent on making an example of us. In contrast, the new Government’s current policy of lying on the ground with a begging bowl and hoping that someone takes pity on us does not make for a particularly strong negotiating position. By bringing our budget immediately into balance, we focus attention on the fact that Ireland’s problems stem almost entirely from the activities of six privately owned banks, while freeing ourselves to walk away from these poisonous institutions. Just as importantly, it sends a signal to the rest of the world that Ireland – which 20 years ago showed how a small country could drag itself out of poverty through the energy and hard work of its inhabitants, but has since fallen among thieves and their political fixers – is back and means business.

Of course, we all know that this will never happen. Irish politicians are too used to being rewarded by Brussels to start fighting against it, even if it is a matter of national survival. It is easier to be led along blindfold until the noose is slipped around our necks and we are kicked through the trapdoor into bankruptcy.

The destruction wrought by the bankruptcy will not just be economic but political. Just as the Lenihan bailout destroyed Fianna Fáil, so the Noonan bankruptcy will destroy Fine Gael and Labour, leaving them as reviled and mistrusted as their predecessors. And that will leave Ireland in the interesting situation where the economic crisis has chewed up and spat out all of the State’s constitutional parties. The last election was reassuringly dull and predictable but the next, after the trauma and chaos of the bankruptcy, will be anything but.

source: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/0507/1224296372123.html?via=rel

Comment:

I thought I would resurrect this article .It still holds true to-day

This is the real Ireland and the codgers in the Government are stupid enough to ignore this excellent piece of work. Morgan Kelly is the voice of sanity crying in the wilderness ,those of you who want to hear the truth listen to him !

How much additional state funding will Anglo need?

By Namawinelake

Alan Dukes, the chairman of Anglo Irish Bank (“Anglo”) has gone very quiet of late. It seems only yesterday that the former finance minister and former leader of the Fine Gael party couldn’t contain himself with proclaiming his projections of Irish banks generally needing an additional €50bn of capital to cover losses and to provide a normalised banking service; this at a time when governor of the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), Patrick Honohan was claiming €10bn was the more likely sum. That was only back in February of this year, so we shouldn’t have forgotten it all just yet. Back in February, Alan’s estimate was that Anglo should be okay with the €29-34bn estimated in late 2010 which was a relief because only a few months earlier there had been talk of losses of nearly €40bn. And subsequently the claim from Anglo’s CEO, Mike Aynsley in April 2011 was that the zombie Anglo wouldn’t need more than the €29.3bn already provided. But is that still the case?

full article at source here: http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/how-much-additional-state-funding-will-anglo-need/

Patrick Honohan’s Calculations and Fermat’s Last Theorem;

Patrick Honohan’s Calculations and Fermat’s Last Theorem; will we have to wait 350 years to understand both?

By namawinelake | June 28, 2011  http://wp.me/pNlCf-1yE

You might recall from your secondary school days, Pythagoras’ theorem on right angled triangles that the square of the hypotenuse (the longest side) is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. So a^2 + b^2 = c^2 where a and b are the two smaller sides and c is the hypotenuse. Is it all coming back? And then in the seventeenth century, a bored Frenchman suggested that a^n+b^n=c^n could never be true if n>2. Legend has it that the Frenchman, Perre de Fermat wrote the proof of his theorem in the side margins of a book but alas, it got lost. And so for 350 years, mathematicians tried to prove Fermat’s theorem, which was to have been his last theorem as he died soon after he developed it. The quest to prove the theorem ended in the 1980s when the geeks finally cracked it.

read full article at source here :http://wp.me/pNlCf-1yE

Governor of Central Bank of Ireland claims Lenihan was “crestfallen” by EU stance on bondholders

 
By namawinelake 

This subject has been covered on the irisheconomy.ie website. This entry adds the transcript of the programme to highlight the precise words spoken by the governor. Also part 2 of “Burning the bondholders” will now be published tomorrow]
The under-rated Vincent Browne broadcast a special edition of his week-night programme on Friday night last as a memoriam to former Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan who died earlier on Friday after a 2-year battle with cancer. In the “pole” seat, that is the one nearest Vincent was Patrick Honohan, the governor of the Central Bank ofIreland. Other guests included Minister Joan Burton and journalist Fionnan Sheahan. Vincent started off gently discussing Brian Lenihan with the guests in the stall seats. And then about 17 minutes in he got to Governor Honohan. And Vincent gently probed the governor for his memories of his dealings with the-Minister Lenihan. And for about four minutes, Vincent tenderised the governor. And having covered the tittle-tattle about how nice Governor Honohan’s office was, we had the following:
read full article at Source: http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/author/namawinelake/

Comment:

Here in Ireland we are reluctant to speak ill of the dead .and so with reluctance I say this.

Mr.Lenihan RIP, has for the last few day been canonized by his well placed pals in Irish society .Of course politicians from all sides are falling over themselves in praising this man presumably expecting to gain some brownie points .The airwaves are stuffed with praise for this man and it is becoming nauseating to say the least .I became sick last Friday when the Live line went into overdrive and one would have thought they were talking about Mahatma Gandhi or mother Theresa

Speaking of Gandhi may I take this opportunity in reminding everybody of one of his quotes?

“There is no God higher that truth” Now this been the case I am compelled to try and bring the truth back into the light of day.

Our country is the poorer because of the incompetence of Mr. Brian Lenihan. This man is responsible for the many, many years of austerity that is now been forced on to the shoulders of ordinary decent people because this man sold his country out the international bondholders, gangsters and gamblers. Mr .Lenihan chose to save his pals in the building industry and the corrupt bankers rather that stand up to them and make them responsible for their own gambling debts. Mr.Lenihan became dethatched from the ordinary people of Ireland and he became aloof and drunk with the effect of absolute power, His membership of a very select group of individuals (The Golden Circle) caused him to turn his back on the people of Ireland as he chased applause and honours from forging shores. His mind-boggling incompetence along with his former crew members has cost this nation, our independence and sovereignty and in other times he along with the other members of the previous government would have faced charges of treason and would have been shot!

Ironically he was accused of economic treason not so long ago by members of the current government and these same people are now enthusiastly  carrying out the same measures as Lenihan and his band of misfits came up with 

So I guess Lenihan wasn’t the only economic terrorist we had or have now. The central bank governor hasn’t exactly been the sharpest tool in the drawer  either!

Morgan Kelly: Right or Wrong???

Morgan Kelly‘s article in the Irish Times on Saturday last, was responsible for stirring up a hornets’ nest in Irish politics and in the zest pit that is the Irish financial world. Here is a summary of the main points he made of which I wholeheartedly agree with. Coming from an ordinary private citizen’s perspective I cannot understand how we the downtrodden taxpayers can still tolerate morons in Government and their stooges running the various financial institutions that have so miserable failed us and our nation state. Some of the people now uttering their pearls of wisdom to us were in fact cheerleaders of the disastrous policies and still enjoy lottery salaries whilst the rest of us struggle to put bread on the table .Until there pampered leaches start to feel the pain the ordinary citizens feel will they understand that the time for waffling is over and we must tackle the high prices for the basic needs like high ESB prices ,Petrol prices , and the various taxes that they now seem to be advocating to pay back debts we the people have nothing to do with ! We must default on this debt to do otherwise is just prolonging the inevitable, you don’t need to have a PHD to suss this one out ! 

– The bank guarantee of September 2008 was a mistake, but a much bigger one was failing to reverse it when it became clear that the bank losses were insupportable.

Patrick Honohan gave “an extraordinary interview” to Bloomberg on 28 May last year, giving assurances that “the two big banks, fixed by the end of the year. I think it’s quite good news the banks are floating away from dependence on the State and will be free standing”. Riiiiight…

– Honohan’s miscalculation of the bank losses is the costliest mistake ever made by an Irish person.

– With Ireland’s reserve fund enough to keep us funded until this summer, Brian Lenihan was in a strong negotiating position when he initially refused to countenance an EU/IMF bail-out last November – but that position was blown out of the water by Honohan’s admission on Morning Ireland on 18 November that Ireland would need a bailout of “tens of billions”.

– The IMF proposed reductions of €20bn on unguaranteed bonds totalling €30bn and Lenihan apparently told the IMF team: “You are Ireland’s salvation.”

– However, the pesky Yanks vetoed such reductions – US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, the man who sanctioned €13bn of payments from State-owned AIG to Goldman Sachs, “believes that bankers take priority over taxpayers”.

– The EU/ECB were also insistent on all debts being repaid in full. The IMF wanted major haircuts. The Irish negotiating team sided with the EU/ECB – prompting one IMF staffer to describe the Irish as “displaying strong elements of Stockholm Syndrome”.

– The bailout was on a par with the Bank of England insisting that Northern Rock be rescued by Newcastle City Council.

– “The sole purpose of the Irish bailout was to frighten the Spanish into line with a vivid demonstration that EU rescues are not for the faint-hearted … The ECB is keeping its fingers crossed that Spain pulls through by itself, encouraged by the example made of the Irish.”

– “Irish insolvency is now less a matter of economics than of arithmetic … The predictions for Ireland’s debt by 2014 range from €220bn to €250bn, but either way we are talking of a Government debt that is more than €120,000 per worker.” (To which we add: So, like, around 27 years of total income tax from someone earning the annual industrial average…)

– Ireland’s two main banks were “run by faintly dim former rugby players” – so nobody thought they could run up enough debts to bring down a continent.

– The European Central Bank sees its main task as placating the editors of German tabloids.

– Ireland, and Europe’s other small crisis countries, will eventually be forced into some sort of bankruptcy – which would be a disaster for us. Creditors could sell debt to so-called ‘vulture funds’, which could have “national assets such as aircraft impounded in the hope that they can make a sufficient nuisance of themselves to be bought off”.
 

Compiled by LAURA SLATTERY and SUZANNE LYNCH

A compelling case for default and swift balancing of the national budget or a lethal injection for our economy and citizens? Twelve economists discuss 

SEÁN BARRETT 

Senior lecturer in economics Trinity College Dublin 

IRELAND’S CHANGE from a full employment economy and solvency to 14 per cent unemployment and a bailout invites a contrarian response so well led by Morgan Kelly. Widespread institutional failure caused the twin crises in banking and the public finances. These then spread their contagion over the entire economy.

Regulatory capture and institutional malaise have dominated our responses to date. We need the provocative advice of Morgan Kelly to walk away from the bank crisis and tackle the public finances quickly rather than over several years.

With so many of the institutions and personnel who caused the twin crises largely exempt from its consequences, and likely to remain exempt, we need Kelly to remind them and us how much they have harmed this country.

Under “measures to prevent a recurrence” Kelly merits the tag of “required reading”.

ALAN McQUAID 

Chief economist Bloxham Stockbrokers 

THE UNDERLYING theme of the Morgan Kelly article, apart from criticising individuals, is not saying anything new. What Joe Durkan and the ESRI are talking about is similar, in a way, to Kelly – they’re both talking about speeding up the budget correction. Enda Kenny has dismissed the idea and I’d be with Kenny on this. The economy is too fragile.

The [Kelly/Durkan] argument is that it’s the ECB’s problem: a lot of the money was lent to us by European banks that should have known better. I wouldn’t disagree with that. I think the ECB has to do a lot more before this crisis is over.

These are unprecedented times and my gut feeling is that I don’t think anybody did anything deliberately to mess the State up, I think it was all in good faith. It does look like it was the wrong thing to do. Patrick Honohan is obviously in a difficult position given he is on the ECB. I’m not sure anyone could have done any better.

RAY KINSELLA 

Economist UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business 

IRELAND SHOULD withdraw from the euro zone and inform the next finance council of its decision. This will require pegging either to the UK’s sterling, our largest trading partner, or to the “Deutsche” euro. Either way it will involve devaluation.

The transmission of the effects across the economy will involve negative, as well as positive, consequences. What can be said with near certainty is that it is the least worst option.

Domestic economic indicators and financial market data point to a terminal lack of credibility in the terms, scope and time-frame set out in the bailout. There is simply no way back from prevailing Irish bond yields and associated CBF spreads.

The recent euro zone policies have flown in the face of the markets’ dispassionate analysis of the adjustment policies imposed on the Irish economy. The EU’s €750 billion “shock and awe” initiative cobbled together in May 2010 singularly failed to firewall the periphery from contagion.

Recent proposals for a stabilisation mechanism by 2013(!) defy belief.

PAUL SWEENEY 

Chief economist Irish Congress of Trade Unions 

MORGAN KELLY’S article hit a real chord. He said it as it is. But his solutions would lead to chaos and impoverishment. He is correct about the immense stupidity of the bank guarantee and of the government continuing to repay these socialised private debts.

His most dangerous solution is to “bring the budget into balance immediately”.

This would mean that the deflationary path currently being pursued by government – where one quarter of domestic demand was wiped out in just three years – would look positively benign. It would eviscerate the economy and wipe out too many businesses and citizens. Besides, few governments run balanced budgets.

This idea smacks of that most dangerous tendency in academic economics – to deliver prescriptions with little thought as to their impact on people. Fine in theory, appalling in practice. Interestingly, in its latest report, it is a weakness to which the ESRI has also succumbed as it does a volte face on previous recommendations and demands huge and immediate cuts.

Kelly is right on “disengaging from the banks” but it has to be done with EU agreement. Call it a “managed default”.

TOM O’CONNOR 

Lecturer in economics and public policy Cork Institute of Technology 

I BELIEVE Morgan Kelly is correct in his assertion that Patrick Honohan was badly mistaken in going public on November 18th last, stating the Ireland would need a bailout. He is also totally correct that the bailout cannot be repaid and will have to be abandoned. Bondholder haircuts were rejected by the ECB also and the Irish negotiating team essentially rolled over for the ECB team subsequently.

The selfish motivations of the US and ECB, who were not concerned at all with the economic interest of Ireland, should alert policymakers immediately that the deal was never well intentioned and should never have been agreed.

Kelly’s solutions are not the ones I would favour, however. His assertion that we eliminate an €18 billion Government deficit immediately is neither possible nor socially acceptable.

I do think that his way of dealing with the banks and the ECB is somewhat ingenious: the Government leaves the bailout and leaves the banks by default to be supported by the ECB, who ultimately will have to swap their debt for share capital. The ECB picks up the €160 billion tab. However, this could create huge uncertainty and frighten international investors.

BRIAN LUCEY 

Associate professor in finance Trinity College Dublin 

PATRICK HONOHAN couldn’t change the guarantee – that’s a political decision. I’d be amazed if he didn’t argue strenuously for some change. In his previous existence, he had argued that we should be cautious with guarantees. Clearly, he lost the argument.

I don’t think Honohan could have said anything much more than what he said – he is constrained by his position. It’s important to remember that he is not the representative for Ireland on the ECB, he’s the representative from Ireland.

I do think the Government could do well to accelerate balancing the budget. But I would lean more towards the ESRI than Kelly .

I think it’s absolutely clear we have got to make our move very quickly. I don’t know why we are waiting. I’d be astonished if the governments of Greece, Portugal and Ireland weren’t working together in their common interest.

It’s very easy for politicians to be dismissive of articles by academics, but they should prove or dismiss those analyses on their own logic. What we really need to do is dig into the views of the Department of Finance.

FERGAL O’BRIEN 

Chief economist Ibec 

WE WOULD agree with some of what Morgan Kelly says and disagree with some of it. Overall there is considerable merit in doing a relatively fast fiscal balance. The quicker we do it, the stronger position we will be in in terms of our debt management options.

But it is not an exact science and, obviously, it cannot be done in a year.

Doing it in a single year would be far too brutal; there would be far too much damage to the economy and it would be far too much of a social challenge.

I think there’s no question but for Ireland to remain an attractive location for investment, we must work within the loan arrangements that are in place. If we isolate ourselves, we will be undermined. Europe hasn’t yet fully acknowledged the interconnectedness of sovereign and banking debt.

As it does so over the next few years, it will work in our favour.

There is a big difference between being a player with full information and being an observer and having partial information. There are certain people who have much more information than the rest of us.

STEPHEN KINSELLA 

Lecturer in economics University of Limerick 

MORGAN KELLY is a true social scientist. He takes data, looks at the economic and political realities in the economy, and makes a judgement which he communicates clearly. He has been spot on in his analysis to date, and while I was initially sceptical of his views, I’m now converted to the notion that Ireland has nothing but drastic options left to it.

I’ve tried to cost Kelly’s latest plan myself, and it isn’t pretty. Kelly’s views should be engaged with by policymakers, not because they are always right, but because they represent a challenge to the status quo that we need in a policy space filled with sycophants.

MOORE McDOWELL 

Senior lecturer University College Dublin 

MORGAN KELLY is definitely not a master of understatement and let’s just say his colourful way of expressing himself doesn’t do him any favours. Nonetheless I agree with about 80 per cent of what he says. He rightly says the decision to introduce the guarantee in 2008 was the wrong decision. But it’s very unfair to accuse Patrick Honohan of making the “costliest mistake ever made by an Irish person”. Messrs Cowen and Lenihan did that.

What Kelly is saying is that, while we have failed to burn the bondholders – the horse has bolted, as it were – we should now burn the ECB. The key problem in Kelly’s argument is the conclusion he reaches. Putting the entire budget deficit right this year would involve a 30 per cent cut in Government spending, which equates to 10-12 per cent of GDP. The effect that would have on aggregate demand and employment would be colossal.

Kelly’s figure of €250 billion in national debt is very much in the top-range estimates. Even the most pessimistic commentators say €230 billion. However, the question of whether the national debt is sustainable is the key issue.

TONY FOLEY 

Senior lecturer in economics Dublin City University 

I DO not agree that we are heading for economic ruin, although one could argue that large decline in GNP, 15 per cent unemployment and the likelihood that it will be 2017 or so before 2007 levels of economic activity will be resumed is already economic ruin.

I agree the Central Bank got its assessment of the scale of the bank bailout wrong and we only seemed to face reality when the EU-IMF required the involvement of the independent Blackrock assessment. Maybe if we had known much earlier the final scale, we would have had a stronger basis for an alternative approach.

In 2013, we will still be unacceptable to financial markets and there will have to be “Bailout Two” or a continuation of paying interest without repaying capital, with whatever additional money is needed to pay market bonds that are due. You could call this a default but it would be an agreed restructuring with the EU and IMF.

I do not agree we can walk away from the banks and presume the ECB will continue to operate them for our benefit as the new owners. It would be nice if the ECB did so.

JOHN McHALE 

Professor of economics NUI Galway – Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland , May 9th: 

CERTAINLY, EARLY in the crisis Morgan Kelly was very much ahead of everybody else in seeing it coming and I think his early analysis was incredibly valuable.

But I think in his recent articles, and particularly this one, he is really going off in the wrong direction.

I think he has been quite unfair to Patrick Honohan. Honohan wasn’t the one that gave the original blanket guarantee, but he inherited it.

Morgan puts a lot of emphasis on protecting Ireland’s reputation and says we shouldn’t default to protect that reputation, but reneging on the guarantee, which is what he calls on Patrick [Honohan] to have done, would have been reneging on a sovereign obligation and it would have done incredible reputational damage, and it would have really created a hornet’s nest of legal issues, so I think it’s just completely wrong to put the problems that have resulted from the guarantee on Patrick’s shoulders.

The proposals that Morgan Kelly is putting forward, which are essentially to wash our hands of the banking system and also to cut our borrowing to zero immediately, would actually have devastating effects for the economy.

It would essentially destroy the banking system, and would not only require cuts of about a third in public spending but it would put us into another very deep recession.

JOE DURKAN 

Economist Economic and Social Research Institute – Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland , May 11th: 

IF WE went bust, then banks in Europe would go bust. That means we are interdependent, and if that interdependence exists, then the right thing to do is to take an interdependent approach to it, which really means doing it at euro level.

Like everything else, you need to do it quickly, because the truth of the matter is while the debt is sustainable in a purely technical sense, it is by no means optimal.

If they don’t help us, then it impacts on others and there’s a possibility that we could just fail.

If you look at what’s happening in the other countries, it is stop-gap measures you have all the time, and I don’t think we need stop-gap measures, I think we need something new and innovative.

I don’t agree with debt figure of €250 billion. The most I can see is five to six years’ time is €195 billion, maybe €200 billion.

The second thing is, he had a point about when the debt goes over 100 per cent, you’re in trouble. In fact, that’s not strictly true.

Technically, we know that it’s possible. The real issue is whether you can get a primary budget surplus, which is your budget surplus excluding your interest payments, above a certain level. It’s a purely technical relationship, that the real interest rate minus the real growth rate times your debt-GDP ratio has to be less than your primary budget deficit.

WHAT THEY SAID: KELLY’S ARTICLE, HONOHAN’S RESPONSE 

Quotes from Morgan Kelly’s original article published in The Irish Times last Saturday: 

“With the Irish Government on track to owe a quarter of a trillion euro by 2014, a prolonged and chaotic national bankruptcy is becoming inevitable . . . While most people would trace our ruin to to the bank guarantee of September 2008, the real error was in sticking with the guarantee long after it had become clear that the bank losses were insupportable . . .

“The ideal time to have reversed the bank guarantee was a few months later when Patrick Honohan was appointed governor of the Central Bank and assumed de facto control of Irish economic policy . . . Honohan’s miscalculation of the bank losses has turned out to be the costliest mistake ever made by an Irish person . . .

“National survival requires that Ireland walk away from the bailout. This in turn requires the Government to do two things: disengage from the banks, and bring its budget into balance immediately.”

Excerpts from Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan’s response to the article on RTÉ radio last Sunday: 

“I took a lot of legal advice on this. There was no way of the Government walking away from that very formal guarantee, endorsed by the Oireachtas. The Government would have been treated as a bankrupt right away . . . The fact that we did not have precise numbers did not affect the honouring of the guarantee . . . All it would have done would have been to bring forward and accelerate the EU-IMF programme probably to May or June of last year . . .

“Everything was done by me and by colleagues on behalf of Ireland . . . It was not a final solution. I would regard it as a holding operation, something to offer a window of time in which to get what could be sorted out within our own competence in Ireland . . . It’s not the end of the story. Negotiations, discussions will continue with Europe for a long time to come as we know there are already discussions about the interest rate and so forth.”

source:http://irelandjailbreak.wordpress.com/

In the year 2009 Morgan Kelly wrote this report on the

“The Irish Credit Bubble” link here The Irish Credit Bubble

Related articles:

WITH THE Irish Government on track to owe a quarter of a trillion euro by 2014, a prolonged and chaotic national bankruptcy is becoming inevitable. By the time the dust settles, Ireland’s last remaining asset, its reputation as a safe place from which to conduct business, will have been destroyed.read full article here http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article28018.html

article by By Christopher M. Quigley
B.Sc., M.M.I.I. Grad., M.A.

The market response to the stress tests

By  namawinelake | May 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

Quite a number of official sources have claimed in the past month that the stress test announcements on 31st March, 2011 have been greeted positively by the market. Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Brian Hayes told a conference on Friday last “these [stress test] exercises were characterised by a high degree of transparency and the input of highly respected international consultants, and as a result have been well received by the market”. Yesterday, governor at the Central Bank of Ireland, Patrick Honohan said on RTE radio (podcast available here) that “the reaction of the markets to the latest stress tests where we put our hands up and said we had not put in enough capital and we will need put in a lot more capital and we gave a lot more detail and a lot more precision about it I think the markets’ reaction which has been very favourable shows that our credibility with the markets is not been damaged in the way that you imply”. And on 6th April, 2011, speaking in the Dail, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan delivered an upbeat assessment of the reaction of the bailout citing three examples which he claimed quantitatively showed that the market reaction had been positive. This entry examines those quantitative measures and concludes that we are really in no better a position today than we were in March. The three metrics in Minister Noonan’s statement to the Dail which he claimed evidence the positive reaction of the market were (1) The yield demanded by investors for our 10-year bond. On 31st March, 2011 just before the stress test announcements, the bond closed at a record 10.22% mid-point. And in the following days it steadily came down which indeed did indicate a positive market response. Indeed by 12th April, 2011 the yield had come down to 9.08%, which is still in unsustainable territory (the accepted wisdom is that rates over 6% are unsustainable). But since mid April, 2011 the yield has increased again and on 29th April, 2011 closed at a record 10.57% though in recent days it has come down slightly and this morning is trading at 10.3%. The graph below illustrates the mid-point closing prices in the last three months. Based on this metric, I don’t think you can conclude the market reaction is positive. (2) The share prices of our banks which were subjected to stress tests. In fact the Minister in his presentation to the Dail only referred to the share price of AIB and Bank of Ireland which have been chosen as pillar banks. Irish Life and Permanent, the bancassurer’s future is not certain. On 31st March (actually 30th March because remember we suspended trading in the shares for a day), AIB’s share price closed at €0.19 and BoI’s at €0.22 – both record lows in 2011. Again in the week immediately following the stress test announcements, the prices increased, in AIB’s case to €0.33 and BoI’s to a high of €0.34. Since then the shares have drifted back down and closed on Friday at €0.22 and €0.25, certainly no different to the range of prices available in March 2011 as the table and graph below demonstrates. (3) Deposit flight from the six State-guaranteed financial institutions (actually four now that Anglo and INBS have sold their deposit business, the four being AIB, Bank of Ireland, EBS and Irish Life and Permanent). Minister Noonan’s choice of wording was curious and equivocal which was in itself curious because he is one of the most articulate politicians you will find, and not just in Ireland. Minister Noonan said at the start of April “the total amount of deposits withdrawn from the pillar banks has been very significantly reduced. Since Thursday’s announcements, the net deposit position of the Pillar Banks has improved significantly” We are unable to confirm if this is still the position. That is because the stress test announcements were made after close of business on 31st March, 2011. It will not be until the end of this week (the second Friday in each month) that the Central Bank ofIrelandproduces financial information for March and even then it won’t show the deposit position in the State-guaranteed banks. We will need wait until 31st May for that information. What we can say is that if the deposit position had continued to improve, we might have expected some unscheduled comments from the CBI or Department of Finance. Unverified anecdotes suggest deposits do continue to decline. So based on the above metrics, you might conclude that the market response to the stress test and bank restructuring announcements has not been positive. We seem to be in no better a position that in March. In truth though, it is arguable that the deterioration that followed the immediate aftermath of the announcements has less to do with Ireland and more to do with the fact that Portugal applied for a bailout on 8th April and Greece’s position has deteriorated with a negative revision to its finances and what now seems like a certainty that the country will restructure and/or default. So you could argue that we have been buffeted by the slipstream ofGreeceandPortugal’s woes. But equally, I think it is difficult to defend the statement that the market is now reacting positively to the stress test announcements.

source |  URL: http://wp.me/pNlCf-1np

 

Comment:

May I reiterate my pronouncements on this subject once again “Mr Honohan did exactly what he was asked to do, he was put in this job to try and fool the international markets effectively sell a pig and a poke. His reputation is shot full of holes and I wouldn’t trust him with my weekly shopping list. Financial fundamentals were totally ignored and this man must accept his part in selling out our country. Shame on him and again I call on him to resign. Strike that “Fire Him” instead!

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