Is that what we want? We’d probably prefer to have a proper debate first, because the numbers are boggling. Potter calculates the Irish guarantees represent €92,000 (£72,000) for every citizen, 2.2 times GDP, or 7.5 years of government spending. He is a fan of the scheme, but admits risks are huge: “In extremis, Irish taxpayers could be paying for this for a generation.”

If the last while is anything to go by, ‘in extremis’ really means ‘in line with conservative expectations’. But what the hell. Proper debates is for wimps.

Morgan Kelly:

Suppose that you are a bank that has lent €100 million each to 10 developers who are having problems meeting their repayments. What you do is bundle the loans into one asset and sell it, with Brian Lenihan’s signature on the bottom, on financial markets for €1 billion. When the borrowers default, the taxpayer will be left taking up the tab.

Of course, borrowers don’t default. Well, they might, if they lost their jobs. But of course, there’s no chance of that happening, because foreign direct investors love Ireland forever. And of course, even if investment dries up, and there’s no chance of that happening, there’s always the thriving construction industry to keep things afloat.

Please Jesus send me enough Factor 250 so as I can do a runner to somewhere sunnier.


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October 2008
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