Jerry Larkin explains how an infuential elite scare us into keeping the status quo.
In 2008, all that time ago, Fianna Fail still denied that the country was in a recession. Maybe they knew that because they have been in power for so long, they have no one else to blame (of course after the Wall Street crash we were told it was all Lehman Brothers’ fault). Then we were told that there would be a soft-landing. Then we were told that there would have to be a minor adjustment, and were sold the magical solution of the banking guarantee. In fact Sinn Fein, for all their posturing these days, comparing Labour to FF and FG, voted in favour of this act of economic stupidity – dare I say, treason.
Nearly €15,000,000,000 has now been cut from the economy in the last 4 budgets – a huge figure (remember Lenihan’s claim last Christmas that we had ‘turned the corner’?). Even more savage cuts have become apparantly, in the words of Friedman, ‘politically inevitable’. And what has this slashing of public expenditure actually achieved? Absolutely nothing – in fact, it has further deflated our economy. Unemployment has inevitably sky-rocketed from a lack of investment, while emigration has surged (unemployment would be half a million people without it). Yet the government still maintains that the vast majority of the shortfall will be made up in cuts rather than by taxation. As the cliché says, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
The The reason our bond yields had been increasing at such a rate before the IMF stepped in was because investors know that a country needs to have a capacity to actually grow and pay back its debt – cutting everything just doesn’t work. Obama has been lambasted for investing in a stimulus package in the US, but this has reduced unemployment significantly, as has been the case for other countries in Europe. Why is our Government so afraid of seeing the obvious benefits of stimulus packages and the multiplier affect? I believe it is due to the belief of many individuals in the media, Government, the Department of Finance and Brussels in the ‘shock theory’ school of economics.
They ignore the real causes of this crisis – massive deregulation, poor governance, low taxes and huge dependance on construction, etc. How do we lower the deficit? Why of course, we have to privatise all productive State companies (recently outlined by Fine Gael in their policy document). We should keep taxes at their unrealistically low level, and we should lay off a sizable portion of the public service. But sure, why would the likes of Sir Anthony O’ Reilly, Micheal O’ Leary or Denis O’ Brien want a more fair distribution of the pain in the Budget? As billionaires with an extensive influence in the media, they are able to manipulate opinion towards this ‘shock doctrine’ (to borrow the title of Naoimi Klein’s excellent book) – keep the people divided, keep the private sector pitted against the public sector, students versus the middle class, pensioners versus the rest of society – it is a divide and conquer strategy. A scorched earth policy, even.
And while the vast majority of the media, and indeed society, ignore the real perpetrators of this crisis. These same people are able to espouse their shock and awe tactics to the public that had no hand in the making of it. Make no mistake, the likes of O’ Reilly are rubbing their hands in glee at this ‘opportunity’ to implement their self-serving idealogy on this whole country. We get multi-millionaires like Peter Sutherland (Chairman of the secretive Bilderberg Group and head of RBS when it had to be bailed out by the British Government) saying that the dole should be hit significantly, and Mike Soden (disgraced ex-CEO of Bank of Ireland who was sacked for looking up porn in his office) saying that college fees should be re-introduced. It is time that every Irish person stands up and realise the true intentions of these people, and groups like the IMF. They have a lot of impressive mathematical equations but most of them come down to this: Divided people = Increased Profit.