Tag Archives: budget

Irish Budget Theatre and the Ghost of 1977

Tuesday sees the budget, a by now largely meaningless piece of set piece theatre.  The old days when ministers were afraid to speak a word for fear of leaking have, thankfully, gone. Yet the setpiece remains, and it is a high point of the political year for the minister for finance to deliver the plans for the coming years.

Our political system favours strokes.  The death of Liam Cosgrave should remind us of the events of 40 years ago. Fianna Fail swept into power on the basis of a massive plan of tax cuts.  Domestic rates were abolished.  Admittedly domestic rates were a very crude mechanism for taxing property values, but they at least existed, and provided the basis for the funding of local council provided services.  40 years on we are still paying the price, politically socially and economically, for that decision.  First-time buyers grant or in economic terms a subsidy to property construction was introduced.  Across a wide range of other taxes, from personal to transport, rates were cut and bases were abolished. Fianna Fail swept into power.  Their successful appeal to the population set the template for Irish political life ever since.  While economically disastrous the 1977 program was politically triumphant, changing the landscape forevermore.

We persist in this country in believing our own myth that we are a uniquely highly taxed nation.  This is not the case.  In comparison with the countries in the northern tier of Europe  the Irish state takes a small percentage of the national wealth, individuals pay a small percentage of earnings, and corporations pay a small percentage of their earnings. We have no effective wealth tax.  Ireland is possibly unique in the western world in that it has hard-left Socialists, the solidarity party, who are against taxing the major form of wealth possessed by most people mainly residential property. Council after Council has reduced the residential property tax, rendering it a bit player in the extreme.  Solidarity, proclaiming to be socialists, have allied with the local populists (whether they are Fianna Fail or Fine Gael or Labour is irrelevant)  in cutting local property taxes and then demanding increased local services. It is entirely politically rational for them to do so.

Nobody likes paying taxes. But we have a political system which is absolutely incapable of telling the people that if they want the kind of services which they consistently demand, they have to pay to provide.  They can either pay at the point of use, a private provision; they can pay through deferred consumption in the form of loans, or they can pay through deferred consumption via taxation. There is no magic money tree.

The budget on Tuesday would be pretty predictable.There is an ambitious  and praiseworthy capital program, and this will be continued. There is an ongoing need to fund the activities of the state. We are earning enough and taxes to pay our way. But the legacy of crisis, and the legacy of the 1977 political earthquake, means that it is extremely unlikely that we will see anything bold or exciting.  We should not expect political vision from the government which was quite happy to yield up hundreds of millions of Euro through not collecting the taxes that are owed to us from multinationals. Whatever the ultimate outcome of the Apple tax case right now apple have a tax bill of €13 billion.  A large chunk of that no doubt will eventually be paid to other countries, if it is ever collected. Before that happens however we’re engaging in reverse Father Tedonomics –  money is not resting in  our account.  1% of €13 billion is €130 million.  That’s a good chunk of the available ”fiscal space”  which the government has to play with. As of its latest quarterly accounts Apple had in excess of 65 billion Euro in cash and short-term securities. They can quite easily pay this bill, Without blinking. There Is no question about them leaving Ireland should they eventually be forced to pay this money. The Irish government has gone to extraordinary lengths, even let us recall not collecting tax legally due to it, to stay on the side of apple.  €130 million, which the government has foregone, is approximately the same amount as is spent by local authorities on social housing. Fitting into a further year of homelessness as a crisis it’s good to know that the government can afford to forego this money.

The government almost certainly won’t announce on Tuesday that is going to collect this money due to it. That will instead spend an equivalent amount of money in ensuring that the optics of tax reduction are maintained.  There will be ritualistic denouncements of the government from the opposition, ritualistic muttering from the silent partners of Fianna Fail, and all sides will compete to demand more services but simultaneously demanding that the government is taking less resources to pay for it.  Continuing to feed the myth of Ireland as a high tax Society, commentator after commentator will breathlessly pore over the entrails of  of minor adjustments, The media will provide infographics showing how three euros here or €4 later will be added and subtracted to various hypothetical taxpayers, and the system will sludge on.  

Published as a column in Irish Examiner, 9/10/17

Ireland’s Elephants

We need to talk about elephants. White, in the room,  dancing It doesn’t matter , elephants are where it is at. However, rather than ascertaining how to manage, evade and if needed cull same, our government, which resembles an elephants graveyard of hope, is goading and ignoring.

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The Irish Revealed Preference for Dysfunctional Institutions

British Prime Minister Harold McMillian famously replied to the question of what was most likely to trip up governments with “Events, dear boy, Events”, demonstrating the random way in which small things can spiral. Who would have thought that a government could fall on foot of children’s shoes, or because of the appointment of a judge..And yet. Angus Deaton this last week won the Nobel Prize in Economics for a lifetime theorising and evaluating development and the role of  institutions and for looking at how consumption and income are related.  The way in which the Government has reacted and acted shows that these issues are related.

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Budget 2013 : Market, but not child or family friendly

This is a version of a column in the Irish Examiner 6 December 2012

So now we know. The budget, like Enda Kenny and Eamonn Gilmore, is cautious, careful, technocratic and minimalist in terms of its aims. It is a holding operation, designed to do the minimum – the minimum in terms of adhering to the needs of the troika, the minimum in terms of some red (actually dyed) meat to the labour backbenchers, the minimum in terms of a signal to the markets that the government will cautiously and incrementally remain cautiously incremental in its exercise of the very limited autonomy. The government is safe, in all senses, and remains focused on external perception, ignoring in its massive majority the internal dynamics of society and the Irish economy.

For all the sound and fury it is dull. It is a dull throbbing pain for all of us, enlightened by occasional flashes of acute discomfort. A budget that keeps low corporation tax and hits the elderly , the sick, children and the poor is hardly one that bears the hallmarks of a government with a socialist party involved.

The parameters of the budget were set in advance and the government has moved within but not beyod these parameters. And that is a pity because even within these parameters they had considerable movement potential. In fact they have almost total freedom, so long as the broad shape – in terms of hitting debt/gdp ratios and deficit targets – is maintained. It is simply not the case that the Troika required us to increase motor tax, introduce a particular form (or indeed any) property tax etc. These were agreed but the actual Memorandum of Understanding (the new name for Bunreacht na h-Eireann) states “Government may, in consultation with the staff of the European Commission, the IMF, and the ECB, substitute one or more of the above measures with others of equally good quality”. So the ball lay in their court, but instead of adopting innovative and equitable approaches they played the safe tired game we saw.


What they did do will please the financial markets – uncertainty is the enemy of government bond yields, the seemingly sole metric of merit for the government. While these have decreased that is on the back of a wall of ECB money hitting the markets, who have then engaged in a carry trade whereby they borrow cheap ECB money and invest it in high yielding government bonds, obtaining in this a further subsidy from the taxpayer. Paradoxically the safe cautious nature of the budget will depress yields and thus increment the pressure on the Irish banks by reducing this profit flow, and they will make this up by further squeezing the customer base.


A further complication for the banks is around the housing tax. The plan, to somehow tax property, is at basis a good one. However, the approach used smacks of another desperate attempt to stave off the slow erosion of value. In essence the Irish banks are still very badly exposed to domestic property. The deleveraging they have undertaken has exacerbated that. The housing tax contains an administrative sting in the tail – the freezing of value and the revenue guidance. First, the revenue will take the value as of 2013 as the basis for tax through 2016. In essence this is going to mean that any falls in house values will be of no benefit to homeowners in terms of tax. Yes, this prevents penalizing of home improvements, but the reality is that the effect will be to have people being taxed in 2016 on an inflated basis. Second, the valuation of the home will be the touchpaper for a firestorm of problems. In essence the revenue will say your house is worth X. And its up to you to show that its worth less than X. You can of course employ a valuer, but the cost of this valuation is liable to be more than the incremental cost of the tax. So people will simply give in and pay the revenue basis, that is the plan. We have a basis in VRT where the revenue value cars on import at a level which is fantastically at variance with the reality of actual market values – and always in excess. There is every incentive and every likelihood for the state to overvalue homes. The uncertainty in terms of home values is not good for certainty in the housing market and therefore not good for the banks. And that is not good for the taxpayer, as we are still shackled to the banks

The Austerity Dictionary

This started out as a little crowdsourced joke on Twitter, with the hashtag #austeridictionary (note the spelling). A link to the ongoing discussion/madness is https://twitter.com/search/realtime?q=%23austeridictionary&src=hash. I used SearchHash to collate the hashtagged tweets, into a CSV folder, which I  then cleaned up in Excel. Its a bit of fun, but also like all good satire has a bite. The words we use are important. Using phrases in a Humpty Dumpty like manner, where going forward means going backward, where recovery means stagnation etc is an abuse of both language and the intelligence of people. A  great feature of Ireland is that we dont take ourselves too seriously. The problem is that sometimes neither does anybody else! In any case, cleaned of the most clearly libelous and obscence, here is The Austerity Dictionary


4: amount by which BBC salaries are multiplied to get equivalent levels at RTE
52:  Typical age at which senior civil servants are entitled to retire on fat pensions
AAA: austerity anonymous ahoy
Acting the Cowen: To deny that a bailout happens when it’s inevitable, and more than likely, it happens the next day.
Adjustment: Deflation
Adjustment= gov process of deciding who gets to live and die, while gov feathers its own nest.
AIB: Anglo Irish Bank Light
AIB: Another Irish Bailout
AldiLidl (n) : A grocery depository used in place of a Superquinn in lean times.
Alivestock= people for export to foreign lands (21st century replacement for slavery).
an Anglo: an obscene but unquantifiable amount : that will cost you an Anglo to repair is say.
Anglophiles: Former c-suite executives of Anglo Irish Bank?
Another Mass, Is there anything to be said for saying  : Economic recovery policy as outlined by Dana.
Arseterity (noun) a pain in the arse brought on by austerity.
ATM  :symbolic, totemic, device used as rallying call to pacify & direct population cf.  The ATM’s will stop working
ATM : a three letter word, preceded by the phrase ‘no money in the’ used to frighten the bejaysus out of Joe Soaps
Austere a Tea: Bitter, acidic and putrid drink consumed by the Irish for generations to come
Austerity [n] The taking of money from passive citizens and giving it to wealthy gamblers.
Austerity Dictionary: A Lexicon describing the semantic disparity between a government’s + society’s understanding of the same economic lexis.
Austerity: Cargo cult popular with European political elites
Austerity: Cutting back on education resulting in mispelt #hashtags
Austerity: German invention to isolate mistakes, so Merkel won’t have to admit debt trail leads to her banks
Austerity=Pushing the losses of a failed financial system on citizens in the HOPE it’ll lend to them & their state again.
Australia: destination of unemployed since 1788 to the present
Backing Childrens rights with one hand whilst stealing the Childrens money with the other hand
Bailout: Monies given to allegedly help a nation, which really only end back in the Donor countries’ banking system.
Bailout! : Exclamation made by those participating in mass youth emigration
Balanced Budget Multiplier: Random negative numbers.
Balanced Budget Multiplier: See Deflation
Balanced Budget: When there’s no economy left, income = expenditure ( = 0 )
Bank A failed device that continues to extract money after failing
Bank-Guarantee: A guarantee that every bank in the state is fubard
Bank; a device to extract money.
Bank: a virus capable of destroying all in its path. No known cure.
Banker: carrier of the Bank virus
Banker: person who gives you an umbrella when it is sunny,  and when its rainy beats you over the head with it.
Bayleoush: “Bailout”, just said in the dialect of english found commonly in Dublin 4.
Begrudgery (n): The most popular sport in Ireland. A bored game. Played everywhere. Team sport. All ages.
Belt Tightening: dual meaning, 1.citizen coping with
Belt Tightening: dual meaning, 1.citizen coping with , 2. politician eating a large subsidised meal
Belt Tightening: Where everyone wants to tighten their belt around Bertie Aherns’ neck.
Bernank: A unit of fiat money that starts with a value of 1 and ends with a value of zero in under 10 seconds
Bertie Bowling: to plan to create grandiose structure in false honour of self
Bertied : to have people come up and give you bags of money and houses, for no favors asked. Believed a mythical state
best person for the job: phrase used to describe a politician’s previously unemployable relative
BIG PHIL= i.e. doing a big phil, where aristocratic elites make sure no poor people live within 40 mile of their palaces.
Blight Club : see eurozone
Bond : An unbreakable alliance between a bank and the unknown
Bond Yield: Key indicator of economic health irrespective of ECB picking up tab for investors in event if default
Bondholder : synonym for fireproof.
Boucherfied : a medical process where testicles of a  jockey are transplanted to a bank CEO neck prior to a dail meeting
Brain Drain: Vacuum created by emigrating intelligent types, some of whom just like holidays. See quote ‘Mary Coughlan’
brown envelope: a valid no questions asked method of “payment”  to politician created by charlie haughey
Brownian motion: the movement of the eyebrows of an powerful tv presenter when presented w a Td talking shite
Budget : German payday!
Budget: The financing of an economy with the agreement of the German government.
Budgetary correction: Where you get to correct your budget so the government can maintain theirs.
Budgetary Stance ; being stood against a wall while an “Anglo” of money is demanded from you
Buiter: Grexit probability thrower.
Burden Sharing  well-catered meetings where eu leaders divide up the work of writing nonsense to deceive their voters
CAB: Body set up to recover assets from criminals not clever enough not to rob a country’s future
Capitalism: When it fails see Socialism
Capital Flight : what young dubliners are doing, mostly to Australia
Cardiff: to send away someone who’s turn it is to go regardless of fitness or desire to go “to cardiff someone”
Carbon Tax: A tax on carbon emissions, whereby the public are taxed per breath of exhalation of carbon dioxide.
Career Counsellor  – an optional role in schools , rarely needed more
CBI where our Government sends our €3.1BN of promises to go up in smoke
CBO: Religious Place
CDS: 1) Unregulated insurance products used to distort perceptions of risk 2) also see Ponzi scheme
Celebrity Economist: Anybody who has the audacity to suggest anything other than “concensus”. (see consensus below)
Central Bank of Ireland:  subsidiaryof Deutsche Bundesbank
Child Misfortune:  The new name for Child Benefit, as it probably won’t
Clusterfeck (n): A policy decision that causes havoc in every department. Can be direct or indirect. Always catastrophic.
Colemanificate ; to berate academics regardless of the issue at hand
Colemanising ; to use an economics column to opine that the economy would be better if we were more religious
Coleman,Doing a : using crisis as an excuse to blame the public sector for not giving him a job
Concensus: We’re doing it, so you’d just better get fucking used to it.
Confidence (2) that which if you are talking about you have not got viz Cabinet Ministers, football managers
Confidence Fairy: Fairy tale to promote trickle down economics
Confidence: see Irish for ‘philosopher’s stone’
Consequences: repercussion of law breaking or over indebtedness. Not applicable to politicians or CEOs
Cowenisation : to create a rolling omnishambles and the to retire and go to California to share your experiences…
Credit Crunch:The saw like motion, of the canine teeth of a banker, on a sandwich filled with imported prawns.
Crocodile tears. The faux outrage of union leaders at private sector non unionised job losses.
Croke Park Agreement : a win win result for Govt and Public Sector
Croke Park Agreement: A fictional story about productivity
Croke Park Agreement: An agreement where Bertie Ahern’s birthdays are held.
Croke Park: source of energy for ongoing recession.
Dail Eireann : lowest house of Bundestag with no power to do anything but listen passively
Debt Ceiling: See Blackmail
Debt Forgiveness: A confession box for bankers and politicians with a one way lock on outside. Not available in Ireland
December Budget (n): A very high, impenetrable wall that separates Irish people from a Christmas to look forward to.
Default ; what it is of the people who partied but not of the people who gave them the money.
Defaulter  a word which cannot be seen on the forehead of a modern Irishman due to his deeply tugged forelock
Democracy: [Error: File not found]
Dempsey , to know nothing, or something that definitely won’t happen
Devaluation  process by which currency finds real value. Alternative is to devalue the people .. see  Frankfurts Way
Diaspora : a term for a vast pool of potential suckers who can be tapped for money in return for SFA
dillusion: budget 2012 signals start of recovery
Disposable income (n): The imagined contents of an empty wallet. Aspirational.
domestic consumption : Ireland as the auld sow eating her farrow
Dropbox:The inside left pocket of a suit jacket, worn by an elected member
DSGE: sunk capital
Duberliner=official EU title for (former irish) citizens now living in the extended state of germany known as BERLIN.
ECB (v) to repeat the mistakes of the 1930s in a belief that the 2010s are really the 1920s
Economic Sovereignty: having the ability to chose who’s turn it is to rip off your country
Economic Sovereignty: having the ability to chose who’s turn it is to rip off your country
Economist: Artists masquerading as Scientists and earning income from public performance
Economist: Examiner of (backward looking) data, prescribing for future based on hunch. Or need to sell book
Economist: hurler on ditch. Either found in Ivory Tower, or maximising DOOM! in private sector to sell book.
EconoMist…where the department of finance is lost
Economists: Individuals who can explain what happened, argue about what is happening & haven’t a notion what will happen
EFSF …European Fraudsters Steal Freedom ……..
Election promise [v] A pledge of action given before a plebiscite which has no validity afterwards.
Emigrant: a one unit reduction in the live register
Emigration: The Governments policy for tackling unemployment figures.
Endacrinate: to express doubtless confidence in that which obviously does not exist. Ex: June 29, 2012 ‘deal’ for Ireland
Endapendence: (noun) a state of economic sovereignty under the “rule” of Enda Kenny.
Entertainment service: A measure by which a broadcaster fleeces the vulnerable of what little money they have
ESM: Giving stability to the poor wee bankers. At the cost of the citizens.
ESM: Poor man’s Political Union
ESM..(A welfare fund for banks) funded by citizens of Europe
ESM=extra special money (currency only available to elites of Europe).  aka Replacement for Swiss banking systems.
EU=strategy to dis-unite the people of Europe. NB: (More successful than the previous 2 world wars)
Euro Area Convergence: Euro Area Divergence
Euro Crisis : A chronic condition lasting a whole generation
EURO= the destruction of several countries prosperity.
Expansionary Fiscal Contraction : a myth
Expert Group; Government fudge to avoid decision making
Export led recovery: Export most of our people, thereby cutting unemployment and social welfare payments.
Exports: Irish people who have emigrated in order to find jobs.
Family Income Supplement= where Irish gov subsidises businesses but convinces the world its helping the citizens.
Feta  a type of Cheese which, according to Minister Noonan,  is as difficult to buy as  as an Irish politician
FFamnesia – An attempted rebranding of political party who oversaw events leading to loss of independence and sovereignty
Fianna Fail : not Fine Gael
Financial straitjacket: the Irish government’s recommended choice of overgarment for all of its citizens
Fine Gael : not Fianna Fail
Fiscal adjustment (n): Emptying the pockets of the taxpayer by rotating through 180 degrees. Permanently.
Fiscal compact; making austerity look good , see also “lipstick on a pig”
Fiscal Compact: See Race to the bottom.
Fiscal Prudence: Road to Ruin
Fiscal Responsibility: Where you get to be responsible for the irresponsibility of government and banking.
Fiscal Stability (n): A dream sequence in the land of clouds and cuckoos.
Flusterity (n): A meeting of two or more politicians (of any party) trying to make sense of it all.
Frankfurter= a powerful woman attempting to rid the universe of a Ireland, a great little country to do business in.
fraud: a word not applicable to politicians or bankers
full recourse  a family’s long-term fear of extortion and ruin, used by Irish banks as a form of capital
Fundamentals, the fundamentals are strong, a form of delusion that ignores the facts as they really are
Galway Tent: a location in which louche property deals and political sponsorship could be agreed to a country’s detriment
Ghost Estate: Beyond the pale void we have been staring at so long it begins to look back
Gilmorise: to hold strong views on social justice and equality and fail utterly to deliver
Global Race: Government policies must chase the goal of attracting hot criminal money from overseas territories
Going Forward  and  Turning a corner  the actions of a mule, or beast of burden, working at a grindstone
Going forward: Going backward, as fast as possible, towards the Famine.
Going forward: old hiberno-Irish. Extinct phrase replacing future for a short period C late 20th century.  b.1994 d.2008
Going forward: Term used to lull Irish people into the belief that strategic financial and economic planning was in place
Goldmansachs : a form of alchemy where everything can in fact be monetized.
Gordon Brown’s Golden Rule: Policy to achieve a lost decade
Government : This entry was deleted as it seemed to serve no function whatsoever.
Government Liquidity :   the Dail bar
Government: See Troika…
Granularity : Definition not found. NB. The lexicographers do not believe this to be a word.
Greece: Not a poster boy.
Green shoots of recovery: alternative definition: nettles.
Green shoots of recovery. ; favoured diet of unicorns.
Green Shoots; Mythical growth signs seen only by Government ministers
green shoots: early warning of a double/triple dip recession when sighting mentioned by gov press officers.
Green; Incompetent and hypocritical leadership, usually ‘wet behind the ears’, ALSO gullible followership…
Greenjersey: to urge a wholly unjustified belief on someone when all evidence points to the opposite
Growth : Fictional aspiration
Haranguing: What Troika did to Ireland and finance minister! And what
Hard Choices: Deciding which vulnerable people in society become impoverished to maintain your own salary and pension
Healy-Raed:The moment when you realise that a motorway in outer Mongolia surpasses the needs of disability care.
Heating , noun , archaic practice once widespread now only practiced by politicians, bankers and their families
Hit the bottom”, misdiagnosing a local minimum by looking at function values on a bounded interval
Hoganificate. To take something simple and make of it an omnishambles (sic) ; see also Cowenisation and bertify
Home Rule (n) stay at  home no money to go out
Hope. An extinct feeling.
Hospital bed: antiquated version of a trolley.
Household Charge (family home tax) a contribution from hardpressed families to pay Co Managers huge salaries
HSE (n,v, obscene) a curse or invectice  “you’ve made a right HSE of it”, “you have HSE’d that up rightly”
I think Bertie was more anxious to be on every “who’s who’s” social lists
Iceland: Magical place where we all wish we lived.
IMF: a multinational org that validates as infallible EU solutions which EU is working on replacing due to their failure
IMF: it’s mostly fiscal…
Incentive Economics: Policy to cut taxes for the rich.
Indacate : speech by an Irish leader which confuses more than it enlightens.
Instruments: Fiddles that politicians play a country burns
Interest: a tax levied on the poor by the rich
interest: the thing most ordinary people don’t have in economics
Ireland =a country on the periphery of europe that, home to many of the worlds greatest banking crooks &money launderers.
Ireland: 1. poster boy for Europe 2. deeply indebted island in European periphery.
Ireland: State of Purgatory.
Job Bridge: Fabled bridge to Jobland where the beneficent Creators give jobs to jobseekers.
Job Creighton (n): Lucinda Creighton’s “theory” how to create “millions of jobs”.
jobbridge : see slavery
Jobbridge: Exploiting the unemployed to profit wealthy corporations.
Joined up thinking : see Luas….
Joined-up Thinking: Thoughtless exercise in futile repetition of policies arrived at via faked consensus
Junior coalition party: lemmings
Kamikaze Politics : Becoming a Junior Coalition Party
Labour , noun, see Fine Gael
Labour Market Reform: Reduce Worker’s Wages
Labouring : a process whereby a political party becomes more and more like the greens…
Labours Way…. see “Frankfurts Way”
Laffer Curve (n): Where taxation levels are so high that the worker squeals hysterically following sight of their payslip
Large Scale Asset Purchases: Homeopathy
Lenihan (n): A snap decision, made under extreme duress and without rationale; ultimately catastrophic.
Liquidity trap : realizing your out of wine and no cash left
Lisbonising ; voting until you get it right
live register: list of people not on
Lost Decade(s): Self-inflicted pain
Lower Bound: Neat trick to turn the attention away from fiscal policy
Luxuries: Examples include water, clothing and toilet roll
Maastricht Treaty: A treaty to progressively remove powers from governments
Mandate: Where the people voted for sonething different, yet govt delude themselves into thinking they enjoy support.
Marian: radio programme where those immune from cuts discuss impact on others
Means: that which the poor have lived beyond, now marked for transfer to the rich
Media: See “Complicit”
Merkelled the realisation that although you are in some discomfort that you must smile.
Ming: to be neither pro life nor pro choice but pro turf
Monetary adjustment: Where you adjust your monies so that government employees wont have to adjust theirs.
Moral Hazard; the risk you run when electing amoral feckless clientilst politicians….
Morgankellificate: To be lambasted by politicians with suggestions of suicide for correctly predicting the bursting of the property bubble
Mortgage : see millstone
Mortgage : ways and means of enslaving generations of potential employees
Muppets:  collective noun for a group of Ireland’s bailoutnegotiators
NAMA: 2nd word in a song sung by muppets. As in ‘Me NAMA, nah… do do dee do do’
NAMA: Acronym, from Irish “Nil aon moola agam”, trans “I have no more money”,
National Interest : Common term to advance the interests of banks and the markets
Noonanificate : speak soothingly  in a calm grandfatherly fashion about how this hurts you more than it hurts them
Noonanpedia: a place where an explanation is sought but an inaccurate one is given
Not a Silver Bullet: Doesn’t kill werewolves. Absolves politicians of any responsibilty when stupid ideas don’t work.
Not a Silver Bullet: Doesn’t kill werewolves. Absolves politicians of any responsibilty when stupid ideas don’t work.
O’Dea-ious: to sport a moustache after the end of Movember
Panacea: The blindingly obvious solution that cant be enacted due to the wants of special interest groups.
Panacea: The blindingly obvious solution that could never be enacted due to the wants of various special interests.
Partied; activity engage in by everybody in Ireland
Partner: powerful person who mugs you and tells you what to do, by mutual consent.
Partnership: The process whereby the defenceless are extorted to reward the few.
Party (verb): Something all Irish citizens did c. mid 90’s-2008. Believed to cause economic catastrophes.
Pillar Bank : that to which you are tied to be scourged by the Troika
Pillar Banks created to give the illusion Ireland is back in business and lending to business
politician , noun, very highly paid public servant who blames all the ills of the country on lowly paid public servants
Poverty : the future
Pre budget submission: Autumnal sexual practice of Irish political mammalian genus. See 50 sheds of grey
prima facie (archaic): old legal term no longer in use…common usage has been replaced by ‘a file has been sent to …’
Private sector: moan
Prom Notes [n] A  charade whereby 3B of citizens money is destroyed every year at the behest of our “European Friends”
Promissory Note : an ongoing nightmare from which there seems no escape
Proneographic Star (noun): A public figure coached or moulded by Terry Prone.
Property ; root of all evil see also money (sic)
Public Interest Director : oxymoron
Public sector worker: person deemed culpable for all that is wrong in Ireland circa 2007-to date. See also, whipping boy
Public Sector: See scapegoat
Public services: Irish government euphamism for debt amassed by banks, bondholders and unsecured bondholders.
Quango {n} A body set up by Government to do it’s work which can be blamed when said work causes problems.
Quango: a place where Cllr’s go to die
Quantiative Easing. See Homeopathy.
Quantitative Pleasing : sending 3.1b of tax money to a central bank which then destroys it
Quantitive squeezing (v): Method of slow, steady strangulation of hapless taxpayers. Unrelenting. Can be fatal.
Rating Agency: Pied Piper, for rats… sorry, rates, for RATES
Rational Expecations: Perfect Foresight
Recapitalisation; putting monies into black holes of unknown size; an unknowable unknown
Recession – Opportunity for protected economists to whinge about everything while defending own exhorbitant salaries
red cent: a mystical unit of currency created by fine gael
red cent: a mystical unit of currency created by fine gael usage “not another red cent”
Refencing: Centrally pooling taxes originally intended for a specific purpose
Referendum [v] A plebiscite held wherein if it returns an unfavorable result to Government,may be held again.
Referendum: a question posed to the Irish people as many times as required until the correct answer is achieved
Reform: See Cuts
Renewal: The party  that caused austerity rebrands
Renters ; those who didn’t join in the property madness who now have to help pay to clean up the mess
Repayment. Only made by the little people on your behalf after your gambling goes wrong. Also known as a Win Win.
Reshamble: ‘Reform’   underperforming organisation simply by renaming it e.g. FAS/SOLAS
RTE: Reassure The Electorate
Seismic: (adj.) describing outcomes of little or no consequence (e.g., “seismic shift” in EU bank policy c.  Jun 2012).
Senate : political home for the vote impoverished, see also cronies and highly paid
SGP: Race to the bottom
Shankil or Dawson? RT @brianmlucey: Omahoney : 2 urge more bond diversification 4 non Irish & less diversificatn 4 Irish
Sidesizing: Redeploying staff when their quango is abolished as a ‘cost saving measure’
Sindo (v) to promote division and sow discord between elements of society while decrying division and discord.
Siptu: Shut it, Pay the Unions
sittin on d sidelines cribbin moanin is a lost opp in fact i dnt no how ppl like this(Morgan Kelly) dnt committ suicide
Smart Economy: A meaningless phrase thrown out by political sorts when they really don’t know what they are talking about
Social Perknership : where union leaders on 130k  and employers on more urge poorer paid to sacrifice
Social Porknership : where union leaders in exchange for a lack of criticism land jobs on state boards
Social welfare. : monies which could be used for promissory notes but somehow gets diverted
Socialist ; see Bertie
Soft landing: (a) Hard as hell landing.
soft-landing.(n.) sagging wooden floor between bedrooms (b/c of rising damp & lack of funds to heat house)
Solidarity: Where the people must support each other, because those in authority surely wont.
Sound fundamentals : term deployed when the economy is collapsing but you want to convey the opposite meaning
Sovereignty  state of self government attained for 61 yrs by Ireland mainly during late C20, prior to rule by the Troika
Sovereignty  the obligation to extort from your own people at the behest of a foreign power. Apparently.
Sovereignty: something lost
Special Advisor {v} The hiring of a friend at huge expense to taxpayers to tell you what  you were hired to do.
Special Advisors: Those who must be paid more than politicians, to justify the cuts to the poor made by politicians.
Special Case  1. A country which deserves a debt write-off (cf. Greece) 2. A country which deserves a debt (cf. Ireland)
Special Case : translation of Ihre mit einem Lachen paddy
Special Needs Assistant  – see  Career Counsellor
Spin Doctor: a MIB like individual or group who medicates a politician who has displayed tendencies to speak truthfully
Stability & Growth Pact: An accord to destabilize a group of advanced economies onto downward real GDP trajectory
stability treaty= EU secret code for elites. Generally words mean the complete opposite of what they are supposed to mean
Stability:: to Deteriorate Disintegrate Decay Degenerate…
Stammerspeak: language employed by Labour and Fine Gael when reminded of their ‘not one cent more’ pledges.
Standard and Poor: simplified social welfare recipient categories for 2013
Standing up to the banks – a governmental maxim, meaning “not standing up to the banks”
Structural Unemployment: Common term thrown to defend Austerity
Subsistence Level: The quantity of insoluable material within a Fianna Fáil think tank.
Subsistence Level: The quantity of insoluable material within a Fianna Fáil think tank.
Summit: A place European leaders meet to plan a race to the bottom
Systemic: Too complicated for all you simpletons to understand so just leave us to it
Tax Break: the point at which the poor are broke to pay for the banks
Tax: something the poor have to pay
The country stands on the edge of a economic precipice  but that said the Irish government are determined 2 move forward
The Dithering (noun): a daily event held by Irish politicians.
The Gathering (n): An assembly or meeting of people with the express purpose of proving Gabriel Byrne wrong.
The Markets: n, a semi-mythical set of beings that must be placated by sacrificing our futures to build ‘confidence’.
The Unemployed: the people you try to blame to take the focus away from the true causes.
Think Tank: Innovative Idea Generators for Deflation.
Trade deficit : the realization you can’t get a bloody plumber because they are all In a mine in western Australia…
Trickle down economics :the promise held out to the general public that if they are good Europe will piss on their heads
Troika. (v) to attempt to turn a group of people into Germans.
Troikaflage – submissive shrug by elected power re actual power, OR invisibility cloak,e.g.,”The Troika are NOT here”
Turning a corner (v.): Continuing at precisely the same angle around a perfectly circular circuit.
Turning a corner; process of endless downward spiraling
Turning the corner: Doing a u-turn.
Two Speed Recovery: Temporary recovery
UK: a place of absolution from ones debts for crooked bankers busted developers
Unemployment Rate: Irrelevant measure in the context of economic performance. See Bond Yield
Universal Social Charge: Form of income tax cloaked as Social Relief Fund. See also Banking Crisis Relief Fund
Unsecured: adjective which when applied to Irish bonds guarantees repayment
USC : When u need to get a portion of the wage that was previously in the tax free allowance part of it…
USC: Universal Social Charge introduced in Ireland in 2009 to pay for another USC (Unending Securing of Cowboys)
Varadkaboom (n): the sound made by the explosion of a massively destructive bomb which does not actually exist
Varadkarism: The act of denying the existence of further referendums on the basis that referendums are not democratic.
Vinburtonned – a process whereby a vuvuzela gets harangued and browned off
Wallaced: a state of perpetual dishevelment and tonsorial catastrophe
Washington Consesus: Recipe for lost decade(s)
Weidmanned: Loss of output by public policy
Zero: See Balanced Budget Multiplier
Zombie Bank: ghoulish unkillable horror creature that sucks the money from our childrens future

Can we have a win-win property tax ?

this is an extended and linked version of a column published in the irish examiner.
There are many economic reasons to tax property, including household land or capital value. There is also the fact that taxing things that cant easily move is easier than those that do, and despite the recent collapse in the economy, household net worth in Ireland is still large, north of €500b, the bulk of which is made up of the value of homes. One taxes where the money is. The government, having made economic political and tactical errors a plenty in the introduction of the household charge, now seem determined to continue to do so with the “proper” property tax. We are told that this is going to be a tax on the market value of ones home, self assessed and returned (although with an option to deduct from PAYE) and that it will come into force in 2013 (although perhaps not until the middle of 2013 and thus requiring a full year tax to be paid over a half year). This makes little economic sense, and seems to be as a result of the government baulking at the rural lobby who felt that a land or site tax would be unfair to rural dwellers. Of course a valuation tax will fall disproportionally on urban dwellers, whose homes are generally more valuable than those of similar type located remotely. With nearly a million more people living in aggregate urban areas than rural as of the last census, this doesn’t seem politically sensible either.

That this tax is not a site and land tax is regrettable, as from an economic perspective this form of property tax is to be preferred. As the commission on taxation stated “We consider that there is a sound economic rationale for considering the introduction of a land or site value tax”, contingent on some practical problems being identified. The main element of these seems to be the ability to value the land-only element of a property. Recent work by Ronan Lyons and Smart Taxes has done that, at a micro level and as yet (6 months later) their methodology is unchallenged. Combined with the imminent (if partial) registry of house price sales, the main technical challenges to a land/site tax have been overcome. And yet, again we see that impartial, expert advice in the economic area is ignored, and instead of evidence based policy we have adhocratic iterative politicized fumbling.

Economically the OECD have suggested in 2008 the least damaging tax (in terms of adverse effects on future growth )is one on immovable property while at the top end of the scale personal income tax and corporation taxes are most impactful. Given this, the proposal to levy the tax via the PAYE system must be seen as a poor choice of collection mechanism. Regardless of the actual basis of tax, deduction from salary impacts as a tax on marginal labor and thus one of the main benefits of the tax will be lost

A further issue that has not been much discussed is the liquidity effect. Although as noted household wealth is large there is an increasing number of persons who are deficient in their mortgages, with the latest central bank figures showing a whopping 128,000 mortgages in arrears, representing nearly 17% of all mortgages outstanding by number and 16% by value. As these losses are washed through the banking system the state will ultimately be required to take this hit, no bondholder having been left unsaved. People who are 180 days behind on the mortgage are most unlikely to pay any form of house tax, no matter how sensible from an economic perspective this may be. With the revenue in charge of the collection this will rapidly result in either revenue seizure of assets (crystallizing the losses for the bank/state) or attachment orders (destroying further credit prospects). Combined with the indications from the Irish League of Credit Unions on the strains on household income and we see a crunch point appearing on the horizon.

And yet there remains a compelling case for taxation of peoperty and a compelling need for cash. One way that would do both, if the state want to tax the value of the house and do not want to exacerbate the financial strains on households, would be to remove the exemption of the personal home from capital gains. This would also, at a stroke, acknowledge that many people who purchased in the boom times and paid high stamp duty now feel it iniquitous to be asked to pay tax on homes that are in negative equity. The bubble prices being washed through any tax on disposal or transfer would automatically disregard that period. A 2010 analysis of this suggested that the annual take from such a tax would be of the order of €2.4b. Even allowing that this was based on 2006 data the removal of this exemption, with tax accruing to be paid only on sale (when funds are by definition available) or transfer (when funds can be obtained by a lien against or sale of the property) should yield much more than the planned 500m from the property tax. It is value based, something the government want, and it is unavoidable. Surely it is worth a debate?