The contrast between how the government treats the wealthy developers and bankers who are in trouble and ordinary people never fails to shock. While thousands were forced out onto the streets to protest against cuts in the health budget which have resulted in the closure of essential respite services for the families of those with intellectual or physical disabilities, the government continues its kid glove treatment of those who helped cause the economic crisis. It so happens that the banks – those parasitic institutions sucking our society dry – have not asked some of their biggest borrowers to repay even the interest on their debts. According to the Irish Times (9 July 2010) “Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said there was “extraordinary surprise” at Nama that borrowers had free cashflow which banks had not taken charge of to repay interest bills when they could have. Some of the 10 biggest borrowers had not even been asked by the banks”.
On the very same day, Professor Michael O’Keeffe, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Children’s University Hospital Temple Street (Dublin), warned that incredibly, somechildren may go blind because surgery had been cancelled due to a lack of funding!
Nine children including a six-weekold baby have had their surgery cancelled. He said, “If you don’t do them in that time frame the results are poorer and there is a possibility these children could go blind as a result”.
Compare this to the revelation that the Nama bailout of property developers and the banks is going to cost us even more than originally claimed. The government claimed that Nama would make a profit of €4.8 billion, now Nama expects it might make a loss of €800 million. Why the sudden turnaround in fortunes? Not surprisingly the banks have been lying. It turns out that out of the €81 billion loans that the public are taking off the banks hands, only 25% are producing income, not 40% as the banks previously claimed.
As predicted, Nama is going to cost the taxpayers not just €800 million but probably many tens of billions. It also seems that many of the big developers have been using available cashflow to fund their lavish lifestyles instead of repaying their loans. Literally living it up like millionaires whilst working class families have their homes repossessed.
The government’s so-called fivestep system to help troubled mortgage holders doesn’t include a multibillion euro bailout. This is definitely a case of one law for the rich and another for the poor. The five-step plan does nothing to deal with the two hundred thousand plus families paying back rip-off mortgages on negative equity bound homes and doesn’t prevent banks and building societies from repossessing people’s homes. The opposite – it distinctly affirms the right of the financial institutions to take court action against homeowners with more than 12 months arrears.
On average two thousand jobs a week have been lost since this government came to power and there is no end in sight. Unemployment continues to rise and now 4,000 job cuts are threatened at Eircom, Bank of Ireland and AIB. The government are investigating privatising Bord Gáis and the ESB. The €3 billion cuts in the
next budget will cost even more jobs. This government and their “opposition” allies in Fine Gael and Labour fully support the bailout of the rich at the expense of working class people. Their market system continues to fail. A socialist society is the only alternative that can resolve the many crises in this society.