Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 8/1/2009 9:31 AM EDT
There's a T-shirt you see a lot in Ireland this summer. It says "Is feidir linn," Gaelic for "Yes we can," the Barack Obama theme during his election campaign.
It says something about where the Irish are looking for their heroes these days --not their own country but America.
They need all the heroes they can get. The newspaper headlines this Friday morning are truly stunning.
The Irish Government is about to get into the property business; to the tune of $150 billion dollars.
Yes you read right.
That is the amount of bad loans that the property speculators have saddled the IrIsh banking system with - a banking system that was more than greedy enough to make those loans at the height of what is now looking like a psychotic episode of boom and borrow.
The government will takeover the repayments on 1,400 loans worth $150 billion at the top of the market.
What they are worth now is anyone's guess but it is probably less than half that.
The government will wait for the porperties to go back up in value before seliong themon-- that may take alifetime.
It was the government which allowed the boom and bloom to turn to gloom and doom with their refusal to rein in the property bubble makers years before the crash.
Now they are reaping the benfits.
They had no choice. The developers could not pay and the banks would have gone bust. The Irish taxpayer is left to pick up the pieces.
The financial system will be solvent as a result, the developers whose crazy greed launched the worst recession since the great depression are likely to walk away unscathed.
The ordinary Irish taxpayer will be the person footing the bill.
The greedy and arrogant banks will also be able to wrote down the property bust in an orderly fashion and thus recommence their lack of lending to the ordinary public.
Already, two banks have announced a hike in mortgage rates adding insult to injury for taxpayers caught in the worst downturn of their lives.
It is extraordinary stuff and has greatly affected the Irish body politic.
The Irish people are down and out this summer of 2009.
Is Feidir linn indeed.