Thanks to Patrick for posting the links. He mentioned George Lee’s talk, which I have just read.
I have blogged about Deputy Lee and I state again that I dont have any connections with him or his party. He is improving the quality of the political debate around economics in my view. Whether his position is correct can be left to the comments and hopefully the comments can stick to the economic merits of these suggestions rather than more personalised political arguments that are best debated on the many politics blogs in the Irish landscape.
The speech, unsurprisingly, is critical of government performance and policy. A summary of the substantive economics points is as follows:
– The size and swiftness of the current proposed fiscal adjustment is too large. The government should reconsider trying to get the budget deficit back to 3% by 2013. “What’s so sacred anyway about having a General Government Deficit of 3% of GDP by 2013, especially if achieving that target runs the risk of turning an economic recession into a depression?”
– The tax base was narrowed too much during the economic boom and should be broadened. “Taxes on the average worker were cut to the lowest combined rates in the developed world outside of Mexico and Korea. Despite the fact that global interest rates were historically low and that access to credit both at home and abroad had never been easier, massive tax breaks were given to property developers and investors. This was an irresponsible approach to the structure of the taxation system and of our economy that has now blown up in our faces.”
– Guaranteeing all bank debts is irresponsible. “There is no sane reason why Irish taxpayers should continue protecting investors who bought bonds issued by Irish banks….The protection given by the Guarantee to bond investors in Irish banks should be removed September next year when the first two-year term for that Guarantee is up. This shouldn’t preclude the Government from renewing the Guarantee for normal wholesale borrowing by Irish banks. It would, however, help send a message to the international financial markets that the Irish Government is reducing its debt exposure in a rational way and is not lumbering ordinary taxpayers with debts obligations they should have no liability for.”