Monday, January 5, 2009

Bankers and Politicians Are Recession Proof

There are bonuses and pay rises being dished out at Anglo Irish Bank.
Life goes on as normal for the bosses at AIB and Bank of Ireland.
Our TDs, the ones to whom we pay vast sums in salaries and allowances, are still on their Christmas break, and are still not putting their heads above the parapet when it comes to making a sacrifice or to lead by example in our current economic crisis.
In other words, those who caused our problems, and those we pay to solve our problems, are breezing through this recession without a care in the world.

And it is all our fault.
Because it is we, the people of Ireland, who took our eyes off the ball.
It is we who allowed TDs to accumulate allowances and salaries and nixers (like junior ministries and committee chairmanships) over the years.
It is we who failed to question each greedy move they made to fill their own bank accounts with our money.
And it is we who failed to tackle our banks, to question they way they do business.
To make them accountable.
Now, we have the appalling vista of the highly-paid dopes we elected to the Dáil giving bags of our money to the even more highly paid dopes who have managed to run the country's banking business into the ground.
How much of the €1bn we are giving to Anglo Irish Bank will go in bonuses and pay rises to the clearly inept management of the bank?
We are unlikely to be told.
How much does Anglo Irish owe to AIB and Bank of Ireland?
We don't know and, by not telling the truth about the situation, all three banks are, effectively lying about it.
Those who run our banks have proven their inability to do the job.
A child could run a bank during good times.
But it takes brains and skill to run a bank when times are tough.
Times are tough. And it is clear that those, still left in charge of our banks by the government, have neither the brains nor the skill to do the job.
They certainly have the nerve and the wit to look after themselves and each other.
Much like our politicians.
They have demonstrated an utter inability to deal with the current crisis.
But, thanks to their large salaries, the are all but immune from the economic mess we're in.
So don't be expecting miracle solutions.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen says it will take four or five years.
Of course it will.
And if I was in his job with its massive salary and endless perks, I wouldn't be that worried either.
Politicians and bankers are recession proof.
It's the rest of us who will suffer.

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