The O in IOU Stands for Owe

Just heard on RTE’s The Frontline from Minister Mary Hanafin (seconds before a very angry man got up to shout at Pat Kenny):

First of all, we’re not borrowing to pay NAMA, em to pay the banks. What we’re doing basically is giving a bond or an IOU and we’ll be getting €77 billion worth of assets in return.

By the same logic, we’re not borrowing to fund the budget deficit either. We’re just issuing bonds, or IOUs if you like, to people in international financial markets and we’re getting cash in return. Sort of makes you wonder what all the fuss is about. Still, it’s good to know that the NAMA bonds are buying us €77 billion worth of assets.

40 replies on “The O in IOU Stands for Owe”

If the “angry man” had understood what the minister was saying he might have turned on her and spared Pat Kenny. It was a bit of a toss up I suppose but he seemed determined to make a point, pity he was so, so, angry!

Much more angry than our four esteemed authors!

An receiver appointed to unwind one of Anglo’s bad loans is selling properties in Kenmare.

Buyers are being offered two-bed apartments from €110,000, three-bed semis from €130,000, and detached houses from €165,000

These reasonable quality 1,350sq ft houses had originally been priced at up to €350,000. Some of the properties need final finishes, such as flooring choice, tiling, etc.

Nice to know these NAMA bonds are secured on such properties.

The NAMA spin machine is the most brilliant exercise in propaganda this country has ever seen. FF & Green politicians, bank and stockbroker economists, supportive journalists and internet posters have waged a brilliant – and almost certainly successful – war. With the evidence of a collapsing property market all around legislation has now been passed that is almost certain to result in the payment of €54 Bn for trash property loans worth €34 Bn. Independent expert Peter Mathews forecasts a probable loss of €20 Billion over NAMA’s life. This in a country that is running a gigantic budget deficit. A country where unemployment soars by 200,000 but the government has a committee on jobs that has only met once. Most disgracefully of all, even this €54 Bn will not fix the banks. Half of it is going in to 2 coffins, Anglo and Nationwide.

The Solution:
Dan Boyle said that if we put the 46 academic economists in a room we would get 46 different answers.
Let’s test that.
Give them a week and ask them to produce a proposal with majority support.
I am certain it will save us €20 Billion and we will get healthy banks lending again, unlike with NAMA.
Dan Boyle also said there was no alternative to NAMA.
As Mr. Whelan would be happy to show him, there are MANY better alternatives to NAMA.

Surely the minister’s logic is sound if there is no intention to pay the loans back?

The ‘Wimpy’ school of economics.

Like Popeye’s Wimpy who famously offer to repay on Tuesday for a hamburger today, the minister seems more concerned with the short-term gain ( which, at her €77bn figure, is a little more ambitious than the burger in the original business plan) while being happy to put off the pain until the future.

Unfortunately, from a econometric view point, there is no evidence that Mr. Wimpy ever managed to find a counter-party for his deal so we cannot measure the pain caused to Wimpy by a lack of burger when Tuesday came round.

So, when the time comes in the future when we have a lack of €xbn due to loan repayments, the pain will be ‘novel’.

Next week: The Wile E Coyote school of economics, where our protagonists try increasingly complex, expensive and often explosive solutions to a relatively simple problem.

It is always handy, when stealing from the public, to have examples of stupid people in power. “We did not realize what was going on”, “no-one could have predicted” sound less unbelievable.

And we all womndered why there are so many stupid politicians!

Dan Boyle’s position as “economic spokesman” for the Greens reminds me of being a kid and forming a club, and everyone had to have an important-sounding position or there’d be fights. All right, you get to be economic spokesman, then! But I’m president, and Jimmy’s emperor!

just for clarity: the nama ‘iou’ is not the same thing as our sovereign iou, while a debt is a debt, the accounting is different and that politician was only trying to explain things in a manner the public could digest, nobody has actually communicated the intricacies of nama in plain-speak, or maybe the public just don’t want to hear it.

The advantage to having a situation in which a govt Minister actually says that kind of stuff in public and there ISN’T a huge call for her resignation is that at least we can have to comfort of knowing the Irish people truly deserve what’s coming to them.

I don’t care how modest your level of numeracy. If someone who has been entrusted with running your country makes a statement like that in a situation where she is proposing to spend €20,000 of your money and you do NOT immediately take to the street to have her removed from office, you deserve to have to pay that €20,000.

That, to me, is a lesson in civic duty. Democracy is a responsibility which the Irish people quite simply have failed to take seriously. They deserve what they will get.

I’m an accountant and it’s the fancy accounting that gets so many companies into trouble (Think Enron, all banks, Elan a few years ago). There’s an accounting principle called substance over form which seems to have gone out of fashion. It basically says if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it is a duck no matter what name you put on it and that’s how you account for it.
Nama looks like a debt, sounds like a debt and if it could walk would walk like a debt. It’s a debt. Fancy accounting will just get us all into bigger trouble.

@Karl D. and Stuart

It is, of course, possible that Mary H. was referring to the Eurostat ruling on whether the NAMA debt counts as official Irish public debt. But, to be honest, I don’t think so because there are a couple of buzzwords that people use when they are getting that point across — “off-balance sheet” “not sovereign debt” “Eurostat” — and she didn’t use any of them.

More generally, I’m perfectly aware that picking out a particular sentence from a politician’s statement can be unfair (and I thought that Hanafin did a good job in the rest of the interview on the difficult subject of social welfare.) The reason I have highlighted this statement, however, is that “We’re issuing IOUs not borrowing” has become a standard issue talking point for government Ministers when discussing NAMA. So I don’t think this was about off-balance sheet accounting or a slip of the tongue. This is part of the official government communication on NAMA and, to my mind, the point it’s making is spurious.

There is a piece of waste land down in Ringsend which was bought for 400 million Euros from some lucky wheeler dealer.
It is now valued at 60 million. that is 15% approx of its purchase price.Assuming that virtually all of the capital used for these loans was cross guaranteed on other inflated property assets what proportion of all toxic loans is land.?
Mr Lenehan values all assets at 70% of the original book value.
Does this refer to the amount of money loaned to the developers.
if so we can presume they expected to make a profit of -say 100%- on their sales in those heady days of old.
However if the properties were finished and sold off at cost (50% of the originally anticipated price) maybe Mr Lenehan has it right.
problem is will the developers finish the properties, and sell them with zero profit.?

Come on, you really dont believe that, do you? This is as Stuart has said DEBT. Mary H knows that well. as does Frank Fahy. What you are confusing is what politicians say qua politicians with what they know qua smart human beings.

NAMA IOUs are the same as any other debt. At some point you have to pay them back. NAMA may make zero. It may make billions. But neither of these things is directly relevant to the fact of the debt.

If I swap an IOU for 100 euro for 80 euro worth of sprouts, how much debt do I owe? The government would have us believe I don’t owe anything, because they are wizard cooks and will turn the 80 euro of sprouts into 110 euro of sprout falafel… and you know what the long-term demand for sprout falafel is…

I thought we were issuing 6-month Treasury Bills and that NAMA bonds were out the window? Is Mary Hanafin out of date or do I have the wrong end of the stick?

TBH – I think that most cabinet Ministers are up to their neck with trying to find cuts in their own departments. I expect that they are leaving the heavy intellectual lifting vis-a-vis NAMA to Lenihan, Gormley and the opposition.

Who knows? Everytime the minister of finance answers questions, the story is different. For the sake of certainty, I suggest he stops clarifying things…

@ Zhou/YM

i suppose the only small difference would be that these ‘IOUs’ are not being monetized (at least directly), and so its more of an asset swap situation rather than a sale of debt. However it still ends up being new debt at the end of the day, albeit in exchange for assets of a disputed or uncertain value.

I don’t know Eoin. I think the only difference is that these bonds don’t count as part of our debt for the purposes of the Growth and Stability pact but that as far as the markets are concerned they are a straight debt. Whether the market will put some value on the NAMA assets in assessing the Irish balance sheet of assets -v- liabilities remains to be seen. I am losing track of the NAMA bonds structure at this stage.

At least Mary Hanafin wasn’t asked to explain the “subordinated” NAMA bonds and how the extortionate coupon thereon is a reward for the banks taking a risk on NAMA but isn’t a form of profit sharing. We’d really have to reach for the Disprin then.

I was shocked by Hanafin’s statement on the Nama IOUs, and equally shocked that nobody in the mainstream media picked it up. She’s not the only one to come out with this piece of spin. This needs to be challenged in the media by our economist friends.

@ Zhou

they dont count for SaG pact, but they are also (we are to assume) ‘off market’ in that, outside of the ECB repo ops, they shouldn’t have any affect on the liquidity of general govt debt outstanding (except for possibly the Irish banks’ demand for new issues).

I’m not trying to change the nature of them being the same as normal debt, but only noting the technical difference between this asset swap transaction versus simply selling 54bn in T-bills into the market and buying the bad loans with cash. I suppose it could be argued that there is a nuance between how people interpret “borrowing” as a ‘cash’ transaction and this not being so.

“outside of the ECB repo ops”
Well, the ECB seem to be planning to make lots of stuff outside ECB repo ops. Really, the whole “ECB giving us free money” thing has died a death. Given the state has some 30 bn in t-bills outstanding, would a near tripling of this amount on the interbank markets looking for repo leave a dent? The thing is, the banks don’t need assets. They are stuffed to the gills with assets. What they need is cash…

Besides, I believe Zhou is talking about them in terms of what the market perceives as the state’s debt level, not about the actual selling impact.

@ YM

and im not talking about how the market perceives the debt, just how it may react to its presence and how there is a relevant technical nuance between the usual issuance and the NAMA-related issuance. But its still debt, and its still gotta be repaid at some stage down the line.

I really believe it is time for another letter from the academic economists

1. Paying any LTEV is a high-risk gamble.
2. This is especially true because the risk-sharing is bogus.
3. The assets should be valued at current market price no matter how “low”.
4. Stating once again that there are MANY better alternatives.
5. Proposing a conference of academic economists – because they are independent – to decide by majority vote the best alternative & to report within weeks.

With tens of billions on the line it would be well worth doing.


Perhaps we should clarfy what the state is doing!

As I understand it (open to correction) the State will issue 95% ordinary 6 month Treasury Bills to the banks together with 5% in high interest bearing contingent NAMA bonds as consideration for the assets.

The Govt is relying on the Banks to hold the bonds and to accept new bonds after each 6 month period rather than selling them for cash.

[It is not clear what mechanism is being used to this end. It is also not clear whether the banks will have the mother of all guns to the State’s head at this stage. It is also not clear how foreign banks will be expected to behave.]

If the banks, or any person who has acquired the bonds from the banks, present the treasury bills to the State, after the 6 month term expires then the State is obliged to give that person cash if that person is not willing to accept new bills by way of repayment.

Have I got that right?

@ Zhou

that is what seems to be emerging as the picture, though i till think the whole process is bizarrely vaue and unclarified on a number of levels.

I was at a presentation by the NTMA a few montsh back and they mentioned that the process may involve an “asset swap”, so would that mean that the T-bills get re-issued/rolledover on maturity or you get X-bn in NAMA loan assets back in return?

@ myself

actually, having re-read that, it seems like a sh1tload of issues would arise if that was supposed to be the process.

There is an enormous enormous differece between borrowing to purchase assets and borrowing for current expenditure and everyone on this site knows it. But for avoidance of doubt, do we see anything different between the following two situations?

A. Joe is an average citizen earning 50K p.a. Joe borrows €200K to buy a house. Okay he may be in negative equity.

B. Joe instead of buying the house goes on a €200K spending spree.

The minister’s point is totally valid despite her getting the numbers wrong.

Even if Peter the Independent is right, NAMA will “lose” €20Bn over 10 years. We are currently “losing” €25bn a year in budget deficits (okay I’ll let the smart asses deduct capital expenditure from that).

@ Brian Woods II

in their recent downgrade of the Irish soveriegn rating, Fitch talked about Irish government liabilities in totality, and the rapidly deteriorating fiscal situation. If we take a starting point of 1/1/09, NAMA adds a maximum of 54bn over 10 years to this, the budget deficit will do the same by the middle of 2011.

@Brian Woods 2
We are in a deep hole. It is an odd thing to justify digging ourselves another €20 Bn deeper on the grounds that hey, it makes little difference.

The comparing the cost of NAMA to the deficit red herring started to appear on internet forums some weeks ago. I was impressed when I heard Thomas Byrne TD make the same comparison to Peter Mathews.
The NAMA spin machine is quick to dissemble plausible sounding nonsense across the organisation.
But when the same already refuted guff (Frank Fahey and Willy O’Dea had peddled this line and been blown out of the water on here some weeks ago) is spouted again by Mary Hanafin I am less impressed.
Truth is obviously not something that is funneled upwards.

NAMA will not lose €20 Bn over its life. It will lose €11.65 Bn immediately best case and then add another €8.35 Bn over its life per Peter Mathews.
With this sort of profligacy it is the Elton John of bank bailouts.

With tens of billions on the line it would be well worth writing another letter.

@ tirnanog33

The story of the site is even more bizarre.

Irish Glass Bottle, later named Ardagh and later South Wharf, never owned the site.

It was owned by Dublin Port and was leased to the bottle company.

The company was apparently alerted to a tax loophole when Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Míchéal Martin, rushed through an amendment of the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) Act, in 2005, to protect properties owned by IDA Ireland, Shannon Development and Udarás na Gaeltachta, which were leased to client companies. Other State owned properties, subject to leases, were not protected by the amendment.

In the same year, SW had lost a case in the High Court against the Port, on the latter’s objection to a change of use from manufacturing/warehousing.

South Wharf had claimed it was entitled to purchase the fee simple for 5% of the commercial value.

The Port got 33.6% from the 2006 sale proceeds as a compromise and the DDDA used most of the proceeds to buy a stake in the purchasing company vehicle.

@ Graham Stull

It is astounding how years can pass by and the media and politicians can engage in shadow boxing on issues and blatant falsehoods become accepted as fact.

I was back in Dublin last week and I went to the press conference on the OECD survey, planning to ask 2 questions.

It began 30 minutes late and press officer said only 2 questions could be asked.

In fairness to Brian Lenihan, he did extend the number of questions.

I wasn’t able to ask my second question which was on benchmarking, for the minister.

I don’t recall ever seeing or hearing a minister being forensically interviewed on the issue.

Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere but fitch doesn’t think the NAMA and the SPV really keep the NAMA debt off the balance sheet.

The breadth and depth of the country’s banking sector problems have substantially increased sovereign risk. NAMA is set to inject EUR54bn of fiscal resources – a third of GDP – into the banks in exchange for property and development loans after applying a 30% haircut to the book value of the loans. The banks will in turn recognise about EUR23bn of losses and are likely to require additional state capital.

Government debt ratios are rising very rapidly due to large fiscal deficits, the fall in GDP and additional liabilities associated with banking sector support measures.

Gross government debt including NAMA liabilities will rise to over 110% of GDP by the end of 2010 (77% excluding NAMA). As recently as the end of 2007, gross government debt was just 25% of GDP. The rise in debt is likely to push the ratio of debt interest payments to revenue above 15%, one of the highest among Fitch-rated sovereigns in the ‘AA’ range, reducing fiscal flexibility.

Interesting extract from the ECB Sptember bulletin re Eurostat and off-balance sheet AMCs:

“Beyond its immediate impact, the financial crisis and the severe economic downturn may also affect public finances with a delay. This further pressure derives from three major risks. First, considerable risks associated with the bank rescue operations still affect both the asset and the liability sides of the government balance sheet. On the one hand, loans may not be (fully) repaid or acquired bank assets may have to be sold at a loss in the future and, on the other hand, state guarantees provided to the financial sector are contingent liabilities that may ultimately be called. Second, the true fiscal costs of the financial rescue packages are still subject to considerable uncertainty. In particular, on 15 July Eurostat published a decision which implies that certain public interventions to support financial institutions and markets during the financial crisis will not – at least in the first instance – be statistically recorded in general government accounts. However, irrespective of their inclusion in the general government accounts and the timing thereof, the risks for public finances related to these operations need to be closely monitored in a transparent manner. For this reason, Eurostat also announced its intention to publish, as from October 2009, supplementary tables related to the activities undertaken to support financial institutions (e.g. government guarantees, special purpose vehicles and temporary liquidity schemes). Third, the current sharp contraction in economic activity may be followed by a prolonged period of subdued economic growth, which would result in a lower structural level of tax receipts. To avoid a further rise in deficits, governments therefore need to adjust their expenditures appropriately to the new macroeconomic conditions and, in particular, reverse the sharp rises in government expenditure ratios as soon as possible.”

If the rating agencies won’t go along with us then the sole motivation for the SPV is Eurostat. They are bending their guidelines and we are twisting NAMA to fit.
Why not be honest and say we need a once-off increase in our debt?
It will be going up in ten years anyway when NAMA fails.

@Michael Hennigan
The Dublin Port story is a graphic illustration of the dangers of legal errors.
The SPV as sketched is a cartoon bomb with lit fuse at the heart of the NAMA project. The port lost two thirds of the site value due to their bungle.
51% of the €42 Bn of assets would be €21 Bn. No, that couldn’t happen, could it? Why that would be like a giant hidden subsidy for the banks.
Zero chance of that occurring.

@Brian L: fair point, debt is debt, I don’t disagree – and said as much, but to focus on one comment can give a certain perspective implication. I reckon the answer is to actually do a video ‘nama for idiots’. on that point – tell ya what, if any of you want to do it i’ll step aside from my pro-nama stance to film and edit it, put it down in plainspeak, the whole debate barely makes sense to anybody outside of academia/finance. break the points down one at a time in bite size chunks.

While I fully agree that (i) the Government’s NAMA-related (and other) communications have been consistently shambolic and (ii) the NAMA obligations are debt, I think the posts in this thread are slightly off the point.

The question from the audience (like many others in similar fora over recent months) in effect asks why can’t we obviate the need for 4 bn in budget cuts by paying the banks 4 bn less than the planned 54 bn? I’d view the Minister’s response – given especially her position in charge of the department where cuts are likely to generate the most heat – as a (clumsy) attempt to hold the line and explain that this approach does not offer a way out rather than a firing offence.

A transparent official description of the implications of servicing NAMA obligations for the time profile of above-the-line government expenditure would help explain why a cheaper (or no) NAMA wouldn’t imply that there’s no need for steps to correct the existing budget deficit. But such a description of course might scare the horses in other ways …

As a matter of interest, will the NTMA be taking a stake in NAMA/NAMA SPV?

I had thought NAMA can only pay for assets with bonds and the capitalisation of the master SPV is limited to €100million.

It would certainly ease the pressure on the sovereign debt if, for instance, the NTMA paid cash for €5bn worth of NAMA assets as this money could be wiped out without adding to our sovereign debt and would allow the Govt to be more aggressive with NAMA.

It would seem a deficiency in the NAMA legislation that a body cannot buy in to the risky end of the NAMA assets with a view to making a profit on the upside. One can say that one is against socialising profits but the cost of this profit opportunity to the taxpayer is high in terms of risk and in terms of its implication for our sovereign credit rating.

Things have moved on in the last month. The opportunity to bring in private investment to recapitalise banks has waned significantly and the international recovery is looking more fragile.

I would also like to say that I do not see why we are limiting the “subordinated” NAMA bonds to 5% in the legislation. This seems to be a mechanism of handcuffing NAMA and subsequent Govts into this deal with the banks. The suggestion must be that the banks would not sign up if it were any greater. I think that is a false argument. The suggestion that the markets require it is also false as the markets do not trust the banks one way or the other and in any event the Minister could state 5% as being the intention subject to the assets portfolio not carrying undue risk. Tying one’s hands in legislation in this way is a peculiar act imho.

I also watched the Frontline on Monday. Though I barely watch TV, my wife decided I was going to watch this. At least she gave me some chocolate to eat while I had to suffer it.

Mr Angry: This is the same guy that was having a pop at the union leaders (Begg et al) who were walking at the front of the march last Friday. He was ‘led away’ then too. A colourful character. He would make a far more entertaining interviewer than Pat Kenny. A few elocution lessons and teach him to be a little more articulate/succinct and who knows – the boy could have a future.

Watching this programme, I observed Ms/Miss/Mrs Hanafin talking about welfare cuts – she seemed to only want to talk about child benefit (which sounds like bad news for the other benefit payments…. when a minister deliberately avoids talking about them). I’m not overly familiar (in the nicest possible way) with this lady but she clearly isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. Is this a fairly typical standard for FF ministers these days?

Point 1) I’m amazed that someone (Pat Kenny) who is paid in excess of €600k a year can’t summon up more incisive questions than he did (does he always give people such an easy ride on this so-called ‘hard hitting’ current affairs show? It’s the first time I’ve watched it and I thought he was pathetic. Like a mediocre chat show host – which he is – trying to play Jeremy Paxman/hard ball journalist….. and failing badly.). I had to laugh when I saw the words ‘talent’ and ‘Pat Kenny’ in the same sentence somewhere that same evening.

Point 2) We are 3 weeks away from what is probably the most important budget in the history of our State and we have a government minister on the TV telling us that “no decisions have been made yet” (and that was repeated by Brian Cowen yesterday).

Now correct me if I’m wrong but if it were true that no decisions have been made yet then the best case scenario is that they are imcompetent (they should be fine-tuning things 3 weeks away from the budget, not still deciding what they are going to do).

If it is not true and they have decided what they are doing then she misled us?

It beggars belief that any government can be 3 weeks away from a budget like this and tell us “they don’t know what they’re doing yet”.

All this BS about the better off being already taxed to the hilt and that Lenihan can only cut benefits and public sector pay instead of raising taxes is just that – BS. Ireland must be one of the lowest tax regimes in Europe?

I wouldn’t be surprised to see unemployment benefit cut in this budget then the minimum wage to be brought down next year (then unemployment benefit to be cut again next year – accompanied by enforced wage cuts in the public and private sectors). They will probably dress it up a bit by maybe giving less in child benefit to higher rate taxpayers and tell us they are ‘hitting’ them too. I believe the current phrase is ‘sharing the pain’.

The joke is that I know some people who claim more in private pension contributions tax relief than others get in unemployment benefit (and they’re usually the first people in the queue wanting the unemployed scalped).

When I put what Hanafin had to say through the BS filter, I also thought she was saying that younger/single people (the most mobile people) would be hit hardest in this budget. This will no doubt be done under the guise of ‘protectiong the most vulnerable families’.

I suspect the reality is that the government want younger single people to leave the country. They are less easy to put the fear of God into and make pliable and if they can get lots of out of work youngsters to leave (and masses of students to go after their studies instead of signing on) it will make the unemployment figures look better.

The amount of spin that is going on by the government at the moment is the greatest I have ever seen in Ireland and that alone has to start ringing some alarm bells. Does anyone have access to the figures around how much they have spent on PR this year v previous years? Though I guess these days that PR is so deeply embedded in government that perhaps the use of outside PR consultants isn’t that great.

The irony for Pat Kenny surely is that privatising RTE must have crossed the government’s mind as it would raise a few bob. He would find himself out of a job pretty quickly, replaced by a younger, cheaper ‘talent’. Mr Angry – your country needs you.

@ Joseph

“All this BS about the better off being already taxed to the hilt and that Lenihan can only cut benefits and public sector pay instead of raising taxes is just that – BS. Ireland must be one of the lowest tax regimes in Europe?”

It is Joseph. Unfortunately its also probably the most progressive. Chec out Karls recent post on this matter. 50% of all workers pay ultra-low or no tax. If we are to raise taxes, it will have to include these people taking a large percentage of the adustment to tax rates. If you are going to suggest this, than at least be honest that you are asking lower middle class earners to take a very large relative increase in their tax burden in order to keep public sector pay and welfare benefits at their hugely elevated levels.


I’m not against public sector pay being cut as well as having tax increases.

BL has already said he’s going to cut welfare payments so that’s a given.

Sounds like a quicker way to get to a solution to me if we did something in all three areas. Share the pain man, share the pain…… and abolish all tax reliefs too! Every single one of them.

I agree completely with you. I have posted here before about all the tax reliefs. Someone else posted here about the top 450 off earners paying something like 5% effective tax.

There is no joined up thinking in the government. Last year’s October budget and this year’s April budget were spectacular missed opportunities. They should have done all three last October and the hole would have been much smaller now.

Last night on VB Jim Power (Economist) stated that GNP for 2009 will be 120 Billion.
Assuming he is correct then the 54 billion for NAMA amounts to 45% of GNP.
The Irish debt clock is now just shy of 74 Billion. This amounts to 65% of GNP.
Our total national debt is almost 107 % of GNP today (assuming NAMA was already up running).


I just heard Michael Kennedy TD explain how the ECB is loaning us funds on foot of IOUs on the radio, all approved by the ECB, EU Commission, IMF, OECD, Alan Dukes and Garrett Fitzgerald. Perhaps we need an article about what NAMA isn’t before we can et people to understand what it is. It’ll be like the Lisbon myth-busting all over again! Sen. Eugene Regan was worse again with his childlike wonder at the EU approval process and state aid restrictions with no view what form an EU Commission adjustment to NAMA would take or whether this would affect the legislation.

This acceptable level of ignorance and half-knowledge is a endogenous to a modern technological society imho. (Gold star for Zhou for use of “endogenous”.) That is one of the reasons why it is a practical necessity for us to be in the EU for access to its resources.

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