Some scary figures

Things aren’t looking well for the Irish Economy at the moment and a few numbers seem to look fairly ominous for the economy and therefore the rest of us.

FinanceDublin.com supplies one of the figures which is actually a Debt Clock tracking the Irish Governments Debt which currently stands at over 64 billion euro. That is a shocking figure which we and our children will have to pay off.

The second figure comes from a press release by Deirdre Clune of Fine Gael on the issue of Youth Unemployment (found via Youth Politics on facebook)

“Figures released by the CSO show that youth unemployment has jumped by 170.9% in the last two years. In June 2007, just two years ago, 33,872 people under the age of 25 were on the Live Register. This had increased to 91,755 by June 2009.

“This represents some 57,833 young people joining the live register in the last 24 months. The devastating effect this is having on these young people and their families cannot be displayed in figures and graphs. But it does exist, and it is being ignored.

“Youth unemployment growth of 171% in this two year period has been well above the national average of 151.6%. Young people are clearly facing the brunt of the economic downturn.

That isn’t great news for us young people in Ireland.

The thrid figure is from the recent IMF report on Ireland which shows that the Irish Economy is worst placed among the developed countries

GDP is projected to contract by 13½ percent through 2010, the largest among advanced economies

Read full report (PDF)

Things aren’t looking well at the moment, when will they pick up? Who knows. It depends on what the Government does and how well it does it.

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I am annoyed! – Gov’t to cut Sucide Funds

I just read a piece on Irishhealth.com that points out the the Government are to cut funds to the National Office for Suicide Prevention by 12.5%. The cuts will come to funds availible to mental health support groups.

This is a terrible time for this. Mental Health is underfunded in this country and the fact that the government is to do this is highly annoying. This is aswell a highly stressful time for people with job losses and wage cuts and higher taxes meaning people are under pressure and things will only get worse.

According to Dan Neville TD, the Fine Gael Spokesperson with special responsibility for mental health said

Research into suicide since the 1890s shows that there is an increase in suicide rates and mental illness during times of economic recession. The Minister for Health and the HSE should be responding to this need in the present economic crisis. They are doing the opposite and justifying it on the back of saving a relatively small amount of money

He hits the nail on the head when he says “Government cutbacks in this area at a time of financial crisis amounted to a decision to save money at the expense of lives.”

It is well known and documented that suicide rates increase during recessions, especially if foreclosures are on the increase. As deputy Neville says,

The high rate and threat of home foreclosures is of concern. For most Irish, our homes are our primary investment and the locus of our identities and social support systems. When combined with the loss of employment, home loss or the threat of home loss, has been found to be one of the most common economic strains associated with suicides

Rising unemployment will see a rise in suicide rates, that is a well known and documented fact. Deputy Neville points out the Kelleher/Daly Cork Study in the 1980s, in which two thirds of the men who took their life, were out of work at the time.

As usual the Government will blame the economic crisis for all this, but just like the attempted cut in the disability area in the budget was reversed because of the paltry savings, this should be reversed aswell!

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Recession Diary – 2nd March 2009

Welcome to my Recession Dairy, these will be a series of posts on how the recession is hitting me and my observations on it hitting other people. These are unstructured rambles of the moment like most diary’s are!

So, I have two jobs now. One of them is my former 40 hour a week job which is now down to a 30 hour week job. The other is a part-time job, which normally is only covering my sister working the door on a club (taking the money on the door, not being a bouncer).

Last Saturday night I was working and I could really see how the recession was hitting people. One guy came up to me with the entry fee in coins!!! €10 in €2, €1, 50c and 20c pieces, I was like Jesus Christ! I have to count all those! But working the club is grand, I know a lot of people that frequent the club so its a laugh. My sister is thinking of giving up the job, so it could be me there every week.

I have noticed, even before my hours were cut I had taken steps to rein in my spending. I stopped buying a daily newspaper. I used to buy one at least 4 times a week. I started cutting down on the amount of coffee I bought in coffee shops. I try to limit myself to one day a week, normally Saturday. I have started buying monthly bus tickets. I worked out today that if I use the bus twice a day for 5 days a week it will cost me €64, while the monthly ticket only costs €62 (I get the bus 6 days a week, so I save more!). What I have noticed since I got that ticket that I am getting less taxi’s as I am getting the bus into town, meaning I am getting moneys worth from that ticket and saving on taxi money!

I am drinking less. I wasn’t a huge drinker before, but lately when I go out I am noticing that I am drinking less and therefore spending myself. I also find myself availing of offers to get into clubs, for example my usual Friday night haunt is normally half price before 11:30, I normally get there for 11:20!!

So that is some of the ways I am noticing the recession hitting. I will try and do one of these posts very week, but no promises!

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"Government has finally woken up to the scale of the crisis facing the economy"

Via The Angry Hedgehog and Breakingnews.ie

So we are going to have an early budget. October 14th to be exact. Is Brian Lenihan going to take a different tack to Darling in the UK (BBC Link) and actually try to talk positive about the economy and by doing three things that Fine Gael have outlined that will help the economy?

– Cutting waste
– Cutting tax
– And promoting substantive reform across the public sector

In ists statement the Government finally admitted our over dependence on the Construction industry which has been long evident to economists and non-expert alike!

Domestically we are also faced with a contracting construction

sector which is suppressing economic growth rates and a rising cost base is

eroding Ireland’s competitiveness. In addition, the slowdown has resulted

in a rapid deterioration in the public finances and falling consumer

confidence.

Fine Gael TD and Party Spokesperson on Finance, Richard Bruton, was quick off the mark to criticise the Governments slow reaction to the budget crisis.

The Government has finally woken up to the scale of the crisis facing the economy. This week’s Exchequer figures and the unprecedented rise in the live register has prompted a belated response from Fianna Fáil. But the Government has squandered valuable time and sabotaged Ireland’s ability to weather the economic downturn.

Even still, we will wait a further six weeks before we see any concrete proposals. The fear remains that this announcement is about filling a publicity cycle and is not based on a clear strategy. It remains to be seen whether this crisis Budget is about tax increases for families and businesses in the short-term and cuts in frontline services early next January.

We can only hope that the Government has a clear plan of action to rescue the economy, and is not hoping for a flash of inspiration between now and the Budget. Without a definite strategy, Fianna Fáil is likely to foist emergency tax measures on the public come October. Many of these will be stealth taxes which will hit the vulnerable members of society the hardest.

Fianna Fáil only has itself to blame for this debacle. Fine Gael has been warning for years that the Government’s over-reliance on a debt-fuelled housing boom was unsustainable. Time and again I highlighted the risks inherent in Brian Cowen’s economic strategy. As far back as 2005, the IMF and OECD issued stern warnings about the dangers that Brian Cowen’s Budgets would overheat the property market and expose the economy to recession. They were comprehensively ignored.

So an early budget is a novel approach and alot better approach then a stamp duty holiday which is the route been taking by the UK which is a tried and failed method highted by Guido.

I wonder what intiatives they will come up with?

Ditching The Euro

David McWilliams had an interesting column in yesterdays indo. While he is on the right track on what caused the economic downturn we are now facing

In economic history, no sovereign country has faced a property downturn, inspired by a ridiculous credit binge, resulting in such huge personal debts without devaluing its currency.

Look at what is happening in the UK and the US. Both countries find themselves in the same bind as we do. They thought that they could get rich by buying and selling houses to each other using other people’s money.

But the idea that we ditch the euro? How much will that cost us?

Businesses will not be for this, they are the ones that will have to change signage, equipment etc. But also the government will have to print a new currency and all the things like that. Its just not economically feasible to spend money on a new currency when we have only had the current one for a (comparable) short period of time.

Germany has lived out a recession that has lasted over 10 years and now Germany is quickly becoming (again) the economic powerhouse of Europe. We will have to weather it out. Our business will have to take “the recession on the chin”, just like Germany did.

While I agree that the Euro is a part of the problem it is something we will have to stick with. It will keep us competitive vs the UK, in terms of dealing with the continent.

While I dont know much about economics, (Its one of the reasons I flunked College) I dont see how ditching it will help us!