Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cowen and Brown: Budget or Bust!

Today Britain will join Ireland by launching a budget that hopes to solve its economic woes, presumably by ignoring the origin of those problems and penalising the innocent ... again.

The deepest recession since World War II did not - despite all the spin to the contrary - happen overnight. It was caused by Government Ministers for Finance not properly overseeing what the banks and big businesses were really up to. All the risk-taking, greed and fraud of bankers and brokers across the globe is what has led us to the catastrophic situation in which we now find ourselves. Many people cannot pay their mortgages or bills. Many are now unemployed and can nolonger pay their rent. Despair and depression abound. But what of those ministers and executives who led us into this mess?

While the rest of us are struggling financially and don't know what next month will bring, the higher executives of the banking and business sector continue to avoid any personal blame and award themselves huge pay increases, bonuses and retirement plans.

But perhaps most shocking of all is the fact that the British and Irish Finance Ministers during the misguided economic boom - the ones who mismanaged and botched our future prospects - are actually rewarded by being allowed to ascend to the position of Prime Minister/Taoiseach!

Oh irony, how bitter and twisted thou art!

It is also, unquestionably, a matter of karma. We reap what we sow. Those ultimately responsible for creating the recession have ended up with the buck-stops-here, high-profile, spotlight job of appearing to do all they can to sort everything out. Karma, karma everywhere! They get to publicly wallow in the sewage-spill of their own making. We get the government we elect.

It is all the more disappointing, then, to realise that all the PMs are willing to do is to tighten the belts of the ordinary person - yet again - to the point of bursting. The average person is crushed! And those who are not yet feeling the burn will only have to wait another pay-cheque or two to watch it all unravel.
Anyone in Ireland payed by the government - supposedly a cushy number - such as civil servants and teachers, have had involuntary pay-cuts forced upon them. Houses are being repossessed at an alarming rate and dole queues have returned to long-forgotten proportions.

I assume Britain's budget will today follow a similar tack ... nodding and winking in the direction of minimal rescue remedies while cutting and trimming in all the wrong places, ignoring the systemic disease at the root.

Look around. It's like the end of the world out there! We have mis-spent our entire lives building houses of sand. And now it's all being swept away. The disintegrating planet is gripped by disaster, famine, disease and war. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have laid siege to The Bank of England. What next ... a plague of locusts? ... street-prophets wailing 'Repent! The end is nigh' ?

We get the politicians we deserve. If the consequences weren't so serious, we might as well just burst out laughing!

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