€25 bln is a lot of money

In case you did not know already, Lucey and Lyons wrote a reminder.

15 replies on “€25 bln is a lot of money”

ITER’s up to €15bn already – it was €10bn last year, silly! And even in the best case it’s not going to result in a profitable source of energy – more research is needed, natch. It’s oddly similar to Anglo come to think of it.

Does anyone know how much of this €25 billion has been drawn down and frittered away? My understanding is that the statistical reporting requirements of Eurostat mandate that the full commitment should appear in the Government’s accounts but that the balance will be drawn down as and when gaps emerge.

And I would be surprised if the public authorisation of this largesse by DG COMP of the European Commission is not helping to focus minds in both the Commission and the Council on fiscal governance and debt restructuring. Sightings of media reports have appeared on this site; there may be more in official documentation.

Yes 25bn is a lot of money and the whole Anglo phenomenon was a mirage. But the taxpayer did very nicely out of this mirage on the way up. Of all that bloated spending on property how much did the taxpayer get in stamp duty, VAT, CGT, income tax etc.? It seems that we were enjoying windfall tax breaks of 20bn a year (the deficit now the mirage has gone). Not all of this windfall was generated by Anglo of course but I would have a stab that in the round the taxpayer is quids in as far as Anglo is concerned. Of course that is no consolation now as we face the fact that we were living a mirage and it is oh so tempting not to pay back our mirage windfalls.

Much as I like the idea of gold plating all of O’Connel st. in 1.75mm thick gold chrome, it would just get robbed as soon as it was finished.

Here’s my favorites:

6 Buy 8,500 years of private speech and language counselling and really help autistic and speech-problematic children

51 Buy Steve Jobs (€25 billion is the actuarial value on his life) and get him to work for Ireland Inc

83 Abolish income tax for two years (based on 2009 government income tax receipts of €11.8 billion)

95 Fund the Unesco ‘Information for All’ project for 1,200 years

98 Repair – twice over – the damage done to Haiti in last January’s earthquake

32 Endow one university to the level of Harvard

Also, I don’t have the numbers but I’m guessing that amount of money could pay for good quality special needs education for at least the next 2 decades. A nice approach might be a decade of free special needs education, and a decade worth of research into prevention/cure/education research funding., or a nice mix of all of the above over a shorter duration/quantity!

Typical micro’ guys: they totally ignore general equilibrium effects.

Very interesting point, Brian Woods II.

There is an air of unreality about the economic debate. I have a sense that we are paying back what wasn’t ours in the first place. This is certainly the case with the current budget deficit. The absence of the deficit was a mirage made possible by the bubble (and consequent windfall taxes) as BW2 says.

We’re now looking for scapegoats (bankers and politicians) because we can’t accept that we weren’t worth what we were paying ourselves.

It is an interesting point that Anglo by contributing to the bubble also generated taxes so we are now paying back Anglo? I don’t know why I don’t feel any gratitude!

It would be good to know where the 24 billion that we are paying Anglo went in real terms (the bank is only a financial intermediary). The property developers lost. The banks lost or to be exact the shareholders. The people who sold their land to the developers must have made a fortune; roughly equal to the combined losses of the banks and property developers? Where did this money go? Is it gone abroad? Did some of it go back into the banking system making possible a further expansion of credit? Can the State tax this wealth of these winners to pay for the bank rescue?

These are more interesting questions than how many space shuttles can be bought with 24 billion.

@ John Martin

At last a kindred spirit! As to where the money went, provided it did not disappear abroad and the BoP suggests it didn’t, it is still in the country in the pockets of those in the property game who where still sitting when the music stopped.

There is talk of sovereign default. Maybe as a last resort, but before that we should consider a retrospective tax on all net property gains since the turn of the millenium.

Fly every adult to Las Vegas and give them €10,000 spending money each. I guess that’s what they mean by casino capitalism.

If 52 has been properly costed we either have too many academics in UCD/TCD or we pay them too much – I couldn’t hazard a guess which.

@John Martin
“It would be good to know where the 24 billion that we are paying Anglo went..”
Yes indeed that is the question – one which should be asked in global terms – not just the Anglo billions. There are clues .. yes there were property owners who made fortunes selling to the developers – but that cash is a drop in the ocean and probably evaporated by now through subsequent bad investments.
Look instead at the investment bankers in Wall street and elsewhere who dreamed up the CDO and CDS double edged swords. Look for a start at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan who are still paying themselves astronomical salaries and bonuses. A massive global fraud was perpetrated and as yet only Bernie Madoff has been punished. Sometimes the non-economists give a better picture.

@ AMcGrath,

I think that’s way too complicated and gets a lot of people off the hook. All the money went from the property developers and our banks to Wall street?!! I prefer to take one step at a time.

BW2 thinks that the Balance of Payments figures in this country indicate that the money didn’t go abroad.

Is is possible that the massive profits that the sellers of land made from the now bankrupt property developers/banks were invested in bonds/deposits in Anglo Irish Bank among other banks?

Is the State subsidising the banks so that the profits of these people are preserved? If the money did not go back into the banking system where did it go?

I don’t know the answer. But I’d sure as hell like to know.

Reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools to 1:10 for the next 20 years

Ten teachers for every pupil? That sounds like hell to me.

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