Colm McCarthy's narrow view

Economist, Colm McCarthy, is seen by most people as a high priest of economics. His utterances from on high are never challenged, his word is gospel.

In reality McCarthy has only a very narrow knowledge of what’s going on in Ireland. Broadly speaking, his outlook can be summed up in a sentence:

The country is broke, the people must pay.

Speaking on the Marian Finucane Show last Sunday McCarthy provided a good example of how narrow his knowledge is when discussing the serious deterioration of the financial situation.

The budget in December 2009 was pretty tough and most of us in my line of work thought at that time that the Government had probably done enough.

Only complete ignorance of reality could have led to such a conclusion. Any citizen of average intelligence with a minimum of media monitoring could see that the country was (and still is) heading over a cliff.

But we had a bit of bad luck this year, two different bits of bad luck…It transpired that the Greek government had been fiddling their budget figures and that spooked the markets…Our budget figures are disastrous…but they’re not fiddled…It had nothing to do with us but when you’re vulnerable these flipping things happen.

So, according to this leading economist who works closely with the Government and, I assume, hasn’t been living in a cave in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan for the last 40 years, thinks that Irish governments and in particular this government do not fiddle budget figures.

The second thing that happened which was maybe more of our own fault. There’s been a drip, drip, drip of what is the hit from the banking disaster and we didn’t get that right at the beginning.

We didn’t get it right from the beginning – Now that must be the understatement of the century?

The Central Bank and the Financial Regulator advised the government that there was nothing to worry about which was extraordinary.

This is an echo of Bertie the moron’s recent claim that if only the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator had told him what was going on he would have acted.

I’m only the Prime Minister, responsible for running the country, what do I know?

The banks themselves, I believe, were in denial.

This is an incredible statement from someone who claims to be an economic expert. Everybody knows, even Brian Lenihan, that the banks have been lying through their teeth from the very beginning.

It has nothing to do with denial and everything to do with grabbing what they can and leaving the taxpayer to clean up the mess.

McCarthy also seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that Irish financial institutions have been robbing customer’s accounts with complete impunity for decades.

It’s extraordinary that outside commentators with no access to the data have been more accurate as to the size of the banking hole than the people who are in possession of all the information.

McCarthy is on the button here and he can include himself as someone who has little idea of the reality facing the Irish people.

In October 2009, around the time McCarthy was convinced that the Government had probably done enough, I wrote the following.

The crisis is so massive, so overwhelming, that it cannot be avoided. Neither can it be resolved by the present cabal of corrupt and incompetent politicians.

Countless thousands are going to lose everything. The Government will not succeed in resolving the crisis; they simply do not have the experience, vision or intelligence to deal with such a massive crisis.

The country’s economy will end up administrated by the IMF and/EU bureaucrats, we will, effectively, lose our sovereignty.

There will be no return to normality in the short or even the medium term. Ireland is looking down the dark tunnel of a prolonged and dangerous depression where it’s every man for himself.

The best Irish citizens can hope for is that the coming tsunami, as it destroys all their wealth and dreams, also sweeps away the entire rotten system and all those who support and defend it.

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Colm McCarthy