Bill Clinton made a huge impression in Ireland last week during his visit and scored huge credibility points with his straight talk and in particular his comment that “Ireland needed to get a handle on the Economy and its Finances or else it would be toast”
This speech came at the same time as we announced even bigger banking deficits and serious noises about four year austerity budgets. Doom and Gloom in mega portions. Would you like some despair with that?
Bill was quickly compared by the media to our own leaders and we all fell into a hole of depression as we know we are seriously lacking in credible and inspirational leadership that we can genuinely believe in. Bill did say we could take the tough medicine IF we believed in the results that would follow.
He is right – we need to get a handle on our economy before we are all toast.
The big issue is that no one seems to have a clue about bread and how to avoid our bread (or lack of it!) turning into toast – it just isn’t understood. I am getting no sense from anyone that there is anything close to a solution, a definite and a clear believable plan.
I had a meeting this morning with an accountant friend of mine and the subject of Irish toast came up.
Quite simply my friend made a statement “As accountants, both of us we know that you just can’t take any more money out of this economy. People are on their knees so this is an impossible situation.” The elephant in the room was let out! Of course you can’t get blood from a stone, that is so obvious.
There is a tricky dynamic between confidence, spending, investment, disposable income, indirect taxes and direct taxes, which has us barely hanging in there. Without confidence we have not been spending, which has impacted on tax take and look what’s happened.
The feeling and atmosphere I witnessed since last week reminds me of the terror and fear that gripped everyone and resulted in choking the life out of the economy at the start of 2009.
Without a huge package of Real Positive Initiatives (RPI and not RIP!) that help to generate spending and job creation in the economy, some of which we heard about from Grant Thornton last week on Newstalk (for example in Australia 100% Capital allowances were introduced to encourage spending and investment) to go with some necessary cutbacks, where there is still serious excess we will in serious bother.
Do we need to understand about making bread if we want to avoid being toast?