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The Luck of the Irish Runs Out 809

Posted by Soulskill
from the top-o'-the-tax-bracket-to-ya dept.
theodp writes "Looks like threatening to take their ball and leave paid off for US tech firms. The Irish government announced plans this week to tap the welfare state and working class for much of the $20B in savings they've pledged to find over the next four years, but the austerity measures will not touch large businesses like Microsoft, Intel, Google, HP, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pfizer, which created jobs and fueled exports in Ireland after being lured by low corporate tax rates. More than 100,000 Dubliners took to the streets to protest the bailout plan, calling for the Irish government to default on the country's debts, and demanding an immediate election. 'We should default,' said a retired union worker, 'the idea that the workers of this country should pay for the gambling of the billionaires is disgusting.'"
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The Luck of the Irish Runs Out

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  • by Kensai7 (1005287) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:29AM (#34363358)

    Going default will be a short-lived remedy. The country will go back to 1990 in terms of market appeal and productivity. And yes, if the big tech companies leave, the hope of reacquiring a high-tech knowledge industry will go away as well.

    • by jchandra (15040) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:38AM (#34363388) Homepage

      Going default will be a short-lived remedy. The country will go back to 1990 in terms of market appeal and productivity. And yes, if the big tech companies leave, the hope of reacquiring a high-tech knowledge industry will go away as well.

      Paul Krugman's latest column [nytimes.com] addresses this. The main point is that Iceland let the banks default, while Ireland took the banks debts as public debts and guaranteed it. In the end, Iceland has recovered while Ireland's people have to bear the burden due to austerity measures.

      • by mickwd (196449) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:17AM (#34363502)

        The debts involved are massive, too.

        From this article [nytimes.com] (though note it was written back in September):

        "Under the current program, we estimate that each Irish family of four will be liable for 200,000 euros in public debt by 2015."

        Ouch.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:19AM (#34363508)

          Each American family of four is liable for about $200,000 in public debt.

          • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:45AM (#34363582) Journal
            That is why I figure the USA will default in 5 years, 10 tops. The only thing really keeping us afloat is the Fed printing money as fast as the presses will run and using it to buy our debt, basically making the money worthless. Then figure in the retiring boomers, huge masses of working poor that are only kept afloat by social programs, and the cost of two endless wars? Yeah I give it a decade tops. Enjoy it while you can folks, because from the looks of it another worldwide great depression will soon be upon us. The only question is whether we will learn from our mistakes and put heavy regulations on the banks like we did during the last one, or if those that believe in the free market fairy will win out. Without control free markets quickly end up corrupted when too much ends up in the hands of too few, just as we have now.
            • by khallow (566160) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @08:15AM (#34363680)

              That is why I figure the USA will default in 5 years, 10 tops. The only thing really keeping us afloat is the Fed printing money as fast as the presses will run and using it to buy our debt, basically making the money worthless. Then figure in the retiring boomers, huge masses of working poor that are only kept afloat by social programs, and the cost of two endless wars? Yeah I give it a decade tops. Enjoy it while you can folks, because from the looks of it another worldwide great depression will soon be upon us. The only question is whether we will learn from our mistakes and put heavy regulations on the banks like we did during the last one, or if those that believe in the free market fairy will win out. Without control free markets quickly end up corrupted when too much ends up in the hands of too few, just as we have now.

              So what part of that list of woes is due to "free markets"? The Fed printing money? Retiring baby boomers? Social programs? Two "endless" wars (one which is in the process of ending, I might add)? None of those items are due to free markets. Four words describe globally the bank/real estate problem: "private profit, public risk". It's not a free market when you can pass on risk of your investments to the public.

              Having said that, I don't know if you're accurate in your prediction of default. The US is a big train and there's still a window for improvement of US government finances both in the next two years and in the presidential term after that. Still, if we get another G.W. Bush or Obama, I'd have to consider default in the next ten years a real possibility.

              • by MrHanky (141717) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @08:41AM (#34363770) Homepage Journal

                Four words describe globally the bank/real estate problem: "private profit, public risk". It's not a free market when you can pass on risk of your investments to the public.

                Sounds like the only possible "free market" is in a classless Marxist utopia, then. Since in any society dependent on investments from rich capitalists, the latter will manage to make deals like in Ireland: No, either you pay, or I take my investment somewhere else. Which is, of course, the kind of market people usually refer to when talking about free markets.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Lonewolf666 (259450)

                  These are two distinct problems.

                  The one you refer to is international corporations moving to places with low taxes (hello Google). Lets call this #1.

                  The other one (#2 and IMHO worse) is politicians being scared into propping up banks that have mis-speculated. Which is the main probem of the Irish:
                  The government has foolishly guaranteed for the banks' debts.

                  Only now, when the massive impact from #2 becomes obvious, Ireland briefly considered changing #1.

              • by mswhippingboy (754599) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @09:49AM (#34364118)

                another G. W. Bush or Obama

                I'd say the chances of this are pretty likely. Barring a major upset, Obama will get the Dem nomination and the GOP will likely pick someone that makes GWB look like Einstien. I wouldn't be suprised to see "we must stand by our North Korean allies" Palin get the nod from the GOP.

                • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @10:33AM (#34364368)

                  another G. W. Bush or Obama

                  I'd say the chances of this are pretty likely. Barring a major upset, Obama will get the Dem nomination and the GOP will likely pick someone that makes GWB look like Einstien. I wouldn't be suprised to see "we must stand by our North Korean allies" Palin get the nod from the GOP.

                  Modded troll by some wingnut, but you're definitely right. Who thinks Obama is not going to get the Dem nomination? And, looking at the current crop of GOP candidates, we are likely going to wind up with someone like Palin. Gingrich thinks he is a serious candidate, but he would now be considered too "rational" and "nuanced" for the GOP. The current two-party plan is to keep the nation divided into two camps and have each side scared shitless of the incompetent fucker on the other side so that they feel like they have to vote for the least of two evils "just this one more time".

                  In short, we are doomed.

                  Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an oncoming train.

                  Definitely sounds like the 2012 elections. ;_;

              • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @10:43AM (#34364428)

                Having said that, I don't know if you're accurate in your prediction of default. The US is a big train and there's still a window for improvement of US government finances both in the next two years and in the presidential term after that. Still, if we get another G.W. Bush or Obama, I'd have to consider default in the next ten years a real possibility.

                Except our mess very much isn't just the GWBs/Obamas of the US. We're in what, 13T(rillion) of debt right now?

                The problem is that the baby boomer generation promised itself SO MUCH, we're going to go bankrupt from entitlements. Social Security is a small part of it. The real meat is Medicare. And that's not all LBJ. For instance, after Bush barred seniors from going to Canada/Mexico to appease the drug industry, he and Ted Kennedy (I think) pushed Medicare Part D to appease the huge senior lobby. This was called the single most financially irresponsible piece of legislation in history and will cost $10 Trillion dollars looking forward. The debacle shows how much the dear leaders here are really for free market, how dare people shop for cheaper drugs! /s

                Looking forward, at current tax rates, we'll have a total of $50 Trillion dollar gap between revenue coming in and revenue going out. By 2030, the Federal Government will have little more revenue than to pay entitlements and interest on debt, nothing for it's official functions.

                And is this surprising in a country where most government workers (including Army, USPS, many suburban Teachers depending on their local contracts, etc) work 20-25 years and can then retire on half pay and full health insurance the rest of their lives. How many private sector jobs let you start at 18 and quit with by 43? Yeah.

                Most of my numbers came from David Walker, former US Comptroller General from 1998 to 2008, America's head accountant, appointed by both parties to various positions. Many of them came before the 2008 disaster although he was warning of a bubble iirc. It's probably worse now.

                http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7461407498377956300# [google.com]

                Anyway, I don't blame politicians except for bending to their constituencies. I blame following our democratic tendencies instead of our republican (small r) one starting with the 17th amendment. The People wanted entitlements, they got them.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by FauxPasIII (75900)

                So what part of that list of woes is due to "free markets"?

                "huge masses of working poor" would be the main one you missed.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by hedwards (940851)
                Obama? Are you seriously suggesting that he's got anything to do with this? News flash, the problems were inherited by him, the Republican party ran up somewhere in the neighborhood of $10tn in debt.

                The fiscally responsible thing to do is to make the banking industry pay back in full what the government has had to pay out plus some. And not just the TARP money, all of the money that they lost on behalf of other people. Will it happen, in a word no, the Republican party is just way too opposed to any sort
            • by freedom_india (780002) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @08:20AM (#34363696) Homepage Journal
              In a fiat money economy, the US does not need to default. It just needs to inflate itself out of debt.
            • by Xyrus (755017) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @01:12PM (#34365440) Journal

              That is why I figure the USA will default in 5 years, 10 tops.

              This keeps getting repeated and it keeps being wrong. The US CAN'T default on it's debt. Our debt is denominated in US dollars, which means the US government can always make payments, either through raising taxes or inflating the currency.

              The only thing really keeping us afloat is the Fed printing money as fast as the presses will run and using it to buy our debt, basically making the money worthless.

              So then, there must be rampant inflation then correct? According to economic indicators our currency has been strengthening recently, and inflation has been low to non-existent. In fact it has been too low which has worried some that we would enter a deflationary period.

              Then figure in the retiring boomers...

              Yeah, who will be taking their SS money and dumping it back into the economy. Sure it will stress the SS program but that money isn't evaporating into thin air. It will be re-entering the system.

              huge masses of working poor that are only kept afloat by social programs

              Mainly because we don't have a real education system in place for people to gain new skill sets. There's a reason why we rank far below other developed nations in education.

              and the cost of two endless wars?

              No argument there. The money that was spent on those two conflicts alone could have done much more good here in the US.

              Yeah I give it a decade tops. Enjoy it while you can folks, because from the looks of it another worldwide great depression will soon be upon us.

              You're a little late to the party on that one. So far it has mainly been a recession. The US is in a recovery, albeit a slow one.

              The only question is whether we will learn from our mistakes and put heavy regulations on the banks like we did during the last one, or if those that believe in the free market fairy will win out. Without control free markets quickly end up corrupted when too much ends up in the hands of too few, just as we have now.

              People like to think a free market is like nature, where survival of the fittest would yield the best companies. However this is naive. Companies will influence the market much like humans influencing their environment. Humans alter their environment, wipe out all competitors for resources, and any possible predators. Companies in a pure free market would act in the same regard. Eventually you would end up with one or a handful of companies that would completely dominate the market.

              You will always need to control greed.

      • by theVarangian (1948970) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:58AM (#34363628)

        Going default will be a short-lived remedy. The country will go back to 1990 in terms of market appeal and productivity. And yes, if the big tech companies leave, the hope of reacquiring a high-tech knowledge industry will go away as well.

        Paul Krugman's latest column [nytimes.com] addresses this. The main point is that Iceland let the banks default, while Ireland took the banks debts as public debts and guaranteed it. In the end, Iceland has recovered while Ireland's people have to bear the burden due to austerity measures.

        Iceland didn't let it's banks default as part of an act of clever crisis management even if that's what the members of the firmly right wing Icelandic independence party will confidently tell you. What happened was that a series of governments (dominated by the independence party) and stuffed full of free market fundamentalists sat around from the mid-nineties to 2008, deregulating everything, letting the banks grow at a fantastic pace and crippling the various organizations that were supposed to regulate the financial industry. For years they just held their ears shut singing: "lalalalalala... I can't hear you!" whenever somebody criticized the state of the icelandinc banks and the fact that they had become 12 times the size of the national GDP meaning that the state was therefore unable to back them up in a crisis. By the time the crisis finally hit the Icelandic government was completely bowled over. The Independence party had by now formed a coalition with the Social Democrats who proved just as useless as their right wing coalition partner and did little other than watch while the Independence party (who also dominated the central bank) fumbled about and caused things to fall apart. There were no emergency plans in place, nobody had anticipated this. After all, the infallible all-knowing free market should not act like this should it? They finally decided, at the climax of an epic panic attack, to nationalize the most endebted bank, Glitnir [glitnir.is], which caused the whole icelandic banking sector to collapse like a row of dominos. Krugman (probably unintentionally) gives you the impression that the Icelandic Government that presided over the 2008 collapse allowed the banks to default by clever design when in reality they simply "pulled a Homer" a phrase which wikipedia defines as: "to succeed despite idiocy". Like Mr. Krugman I pity the Irish for their successful efforts to postpone the pain by a couple of years because it made the problem exponentially worse.

    • by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy.LakemanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:57AM (#34363442)
      Debt's that cant be repaid, wont be repaid. The only question is how you intend not to pay them.
    • Not so fast... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Going default will be a short-lived remedy. The country will go back to 1990 in terms of market appeal and productivity. And yes, if the big tech companies leave, the hope of reacquiring a high-tech knowledge industry will go away as well.

      The main problem is the fact that big companies now are so powerful that they can hold entire tax systems hostage... they can play countries out against each other.
      But instead of having a single EU corporate tax system (which imho would make sense), we have all kinds of other silly EU rules... and corporate taxes keep dropping in a futile attempt to lure more big business.

      Governments should realize that big companies won't leave overnight. It'll take a little while to move people and offices.

      At the same tim

  • This is why (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the mobility of capital is a good thing.

    • Re:This is why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MachDelta (704883) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:18AM (#34363506)

      According to whom?

      Surely it's not the workers, because when Big'n'Big Co pulls up their tent pegs and moves shop, all the workers are suddenly unemployed.

      It's probably not the consumer, because when Big'n'Big Co finds a way to half their cost of production, it's not guaranteed to drive prices down. Why bother cutting prices and taking a bigger market share when you can just shovel up a pile of cash big enough to buy your competitors (or a controlling interest in their stock)? Hell, why not just collude with your competitors to keep prices artificially inflated - then everyone's happy!

      Surely then, it is the desperate - those poor starving people in $Third_World_Nation who desperately need employment of any sort. Except that, after their standard of living starts to rise, Big'n'Big Co just moves on to the next shithole and leaves the desperate unemployed too.

      Well fuck, if it's not the middle class or the lower class, who the hell is left?
      Oh, right, the bourgeois. Well, as long as they're doing all right, everything is just peachy! Hurray for Capitalism! :P

    • by fantomas (94850) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @08:50AM (#34363792)

      Tell that to the people who will have to emigrate from Ireland in search of work. A bit of a sore point I believe because of history.

      100 years ago, they travelled to the USA. Now they'd probably not be allowed entry because the USA frowns upon economic migrants.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by smchris (464899)

        Dude, There aren't any jobs here either. Most of us will have to live in the nest our rich shit into.

    • It depends. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by boorack (1345877)

      The capital deployed into a productive venture is a good thing. Speculative hot money pushed around various parts of the world does not accomplish anything except causing mayhem everywhere and enriching hot money pushers. And this is THE problem we suffer today. Too much hot money bumping around and too little capital willing to go into productive businesses (maybe except China).

      Back to Ireland. They are now forced to do draconian austerity measures on everyone except the banksters and to accept "bailout

  • Denial... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sznupi (719324)

    'We should default,' said a retired union worker, 'the idea that the workers of this country should pay for the gambling of the billionaires is disgusting.

    Yes, the "billionaires" lead the whole pack, and all that. However - not many of the proles stop to look around and wonder what brings the semi-dream around them while it lasts - but they do enjoy it. And cherish promises.

    That doesn't go only for the Irish of course.

  • by zoney_ie (740061) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:32AM (#34363376)

    Look, left-wing parties are likely to do well in our next election, but no-one sensible here, left or right, wants to raise the corporation tax rate. These companies provide our jobs.

    If a raise would be announced, ordinary people here would really start to protest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Haedrian (1676506)
      But apparently the jobs being provided aren't going to be very supported when the level of education crawls downwards. Lots of money in education is needed for those sort of jobs. I think in the end its going to be unsustainable - if they'd need to get foreigners to do all the work for them - it'll be cheaper to just relocate. Maybe.
      • by zoney_ie (740061) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:02AM (#34363458)

        Actually education is being given more preferential treatment in cuts being minimised compared to even healthcare.

        It's likely to be relatively unaffected by the cuts in government spending. Admittedly that means kids still going to school in rotting >century old buildings and temporary pre-fabs, but the level of people's education is not likely to drop. Quite the reverse given the fear of joblessness.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:51AM (#34363424)

      These companies provide our jobs.

      If all the jobs in your country, or even a significant majority of them, are provided by international megacorporations and conglomerates that can and will move them elsewhere if it benefits them, and use them as blackmail material to get the laws they want, then you've got bigger problems than whether to lower taxes or not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by horza (87255)

        They could go back to subsistence farming, even abandon the euro and go to a bartering system, but that is not the model they have decided to go with. Ireland decided to attract top-level business from all over the world via a highly educated workforce and a business-friendly environment.

        Yes this means working to remain competitive, but I don't think throwing a successful business model out in a tantrum is going to help them long term. The Irish banking crisis was not caused by low corporation tax, it was b

    • by OneMadMuppet (1329291) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:35AM (#34363554) Homepage
      The problem isn't the multinationals that provide jobs - they will stay. Intel can't move a FAB overnight. The issue is with the shells like Microsoft Licensing - that employ 5 lawyers, 5 accountants and a janitor - and that do nothing but funnel profits. THESE companies will up and leave in a heartbeat, because an extra 2% on $62BN is ENORMOUS. At the moment the corp tax income on these companies is E110bn - and the IMF money is nowhere near that. Raising the corp tax rate might mean losing 50-100 jobs, mostly accountants and lawyers (not exactly going to get a sympathy vote from most people), but could leave the country more than E50bn a year down - not really an option right now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by azaris (699901)

      Look, left-wing parties are likely to do well in our next election, but no-one sensible here, left or right, wants to raise the corporation tax rate. These companies provide our jobs.

      If a raise would be announced, ordinary people here would really start to protest.

      Ireland is not the US, where lower-middle class working people will protest on the streets saying that Mario Antoinette should have more cake.

  • by dackroyd (468778) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:35AM (#34363382) Homepage

    It's the private bank's debts.

    For some unknown reason the Irish government decided to guarantee all debts by banks in Ireland including banks that are owned and run by people who are not Irish or based in Ireland. These debts were not sovereign debts until the Irish government decided to unilaterally back them without any good cause. They did this back in 2008 [wsws.org] and it's only now that they massive amount that they've basically handed over to private investors is becoming apparent.

    It's pretty nuts that private investors had hoped to make money by investing in Irish banks - but now that they're actually facing losses the people of Ireland are going to step up and cover all these debts. So for the private investors it's a case of head I win, tails you lose - where there is no risk of the private investors losing any money - and no chance for the public to get a share of the profits that banks were making in the good times.

  • Ireland is being criticized by the EU for unfair tax exemptions for certain businesses, they say other EU countries can't compete. But 20% of Ireland's GDP comes from foreign companies so there's no shaking them.

    Tech jobs are the only jobs that are still available in Ireland. We went from 4% unemployment to 12% in 2 years. [rant]There's a levy on the wages already, they argued that we had one of hte highest minimum wages in Europe.. but we also have one of the highest costs of living.. they're raising t
    • by zoney_ie (740061) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:47AM (#34363416)

      The rich aren't paying 40% tax! The top tax rate is 41% but this is only paid on income over €36K (single) or €45K (married) or €73K (married both working).

      But when you factor in people's tax credits and various tax reliefs, the statistical data for workers in Ireland shows that income tax peaks at about 20% of income. Those with a *lot* of income who would in theory be affected more significantly by the 41% tax rate actually pay tax advisors and use various schemes so that at the top end, the income tax proportion drops below 20% again!

      Most workers pay almost no income tax - as you pay none at all up to something like €17K (when you factor in tax credits). Median income is about 20K, and ordinary workers would pay a max of about 10% effective tax rate. On an above-average income, I pay about 12% total in tax.

      10% is the tax rate some countries charge the low paid! (as opposed to 0% here!)

      We do have many other taxes, but that's to make up for low income tax.

      Of course all this is only valid until the budget on 7th December.

  • by vorlich (972710) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:45AM (#34363406) Homepage Journal
    Should be the more appropriate headline here.
  • 50,000, not 100,000 (Score:2, Informative)

    by ballyhoo (158910)

    The Irish Times [irishtimes.com] and The Irish Independent [independent.ie] both claim 50,000.

  • Non-story (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ababydingo (1948956) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:53AM (#34363428)
    There was never any serious proposal to raise the corporation tax rate in Ireland, it's the one non-negotiable position of the Irish government and always has been. Having a low rate is also popular generally, though many would feel the rate could go up a few percent (though still well below other many other European countries) so that corporations do contribute more, but no-one seriously proposes raising it dramatically. What should perhaps be changed are the rules about moving profits around so that multinationals actually pay the 12.5%. I read this week Google only paid a few million in tax last year. It's not the rate, it's the application of the rate. Germany may have a nominal rate much higher than Ireland but the effective rate is often much lower due to special tax breaks in certain sectors.
  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday November 28, 2010 @06:57AM (#34363440) Homepage

    As usual, many people are quick to defend these pricks, saying that if it weren't for them, everyone would be out of a job. Yes, the economy is in their power. Calling that a mutually beneficial relationship sounds like Stockholm syndrome.

    If your very survival depends on receiving a living wage from a corporation that can simply choose to go away if it is asked to pay for the infrastructure it also uses, then you are not living a "dream" generously provided by altruistic corporations, but in slavery to organizations who can let you starve if they wanted to. Not only workers, even governments are forced to debase themselves before these corporations, lowering their living standard, their wage expectations, cutting their social system and their taxes bit by bit to compete with other countries that are forced to do the same.

    Ireland, and the entire European Union at that, should make a stand against this and play hardball. The fact is that while corporations can move their production elsewhere, they do have to sell something eventually. A high-tech market requires a high-tech industry to flourish: If corporations leave the country, the economy goes to shit and nobody can afford the flashy gizmos these corporations are selling. Standardize the tax hike over all EU states, accompany it with an import tariff on technology not produced inside the country, and suddenly paying a little more corporate tax will seem like a much better alternative. The workers are not only their slaves, but also their customers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tom (822)

      You assume that the irish government is opposed to the tech companies. I doubt that. For some reason, this feels like on of the cases where a secret meeting ran roughly like this: "Hey, corporate guys. We here in the government would prefer to leverage the whole cost on the dumb sheeple, but we need a reason. The press is asking for corporate taxes to rise. Could you issue a press statement like the one we prepared here, so we can justify our actions? If you don't, we may actually have to raise corporate ta

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:12AM (#34363490)

    http://www.economist.com/node/17577107 [economist.com]

    I watched a German documentary this morning about how the Euro was bad (German is not my mother tongue, but I am fluent and could understand everything). Some of the stuff in that was political dynamite: I don't think that politicians in Europe understand the powder keg that they are sitting on.

    From the The Economist article,

    The most concerned onlooker is Germany, which sees its credit lying behind the entire euro area. As ever, Europe’s biggest tabloid, Bild, captured the mood this week, asking “First the Greeks, then the Irish, thenwill we end up having to pay for everyone in Europe?

    Oh, let's piss off the Germans . . .grand idea . . . in Europe, that always ends in tears.

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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