FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ireland’s Home Mortgage Crisis: No Debt Relief

by CAOIMHGHIN Ó CROIDHEÁIN

We are living in a society where the combination of fractional-reserve banking (lending out multiples of deposits) helped along by quantitative easing (printing almost unlimited quantities of money) based on fiat currencies (money without intrinsic value) has created exponential growth for the world’s financial elites. This led to unprecedented bubbles in the property market as banks made it easy for people to borrow more money  than they would have been allowed in the past when a conservative banker guideline for a home buyer was to have a two to two and a half times mortgage-to-salary ratio.

In contrast to these methods for almost unlimited sources of (false) wealth conjured up by financial elites, workers (borrowers) have only one source – wages – which are going into decline due to  government cutbacks and increased taxes. Yet despite this obvious anomaly, whereby the banks get bailouts with even more money, borrowers are expected to pay back, and in full, under threat of repossession, every single cent of the flawed money lent to them to pay exorbitant house prices inflated by excessive lending in the first place.

According to David Hall, Director, Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation:

‘The Irish mortgages crisis, now into its sixth year, is still raging beyond any control of the authorities. Per latest figures from the Central Bank of Ireland, 186,785 mortgages (including BTL) in Ireland are at risk (in arrears, restructured or in repossession), accounting for an unprecedented 25.3% of all mortgage accounts still outstanding.’

Hall goes on to state that ‘with some 650,000-750,000 estimated people residing in the households with the principal residence in mortgages difficulties, we are witnessing a wholesale destruction of savings, pensions and wealth of several generations of Irish people.’

As if that wasn’t bad enough the government is introducing property charges from 1st July. Media discussion of these issues revolve around valuations of properties and not around the huge amounts of tax already paid to the government when the houses were purchased or  the fairness of such a tax on properties which were bought during the bank-inflated boom, delusionally misnamed yet commonly known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’.

Media pundits, sounding like poodles discussing the length of their leashes, have not questioned the ethics of forcing people to pay back such huge sums of money under the rubric that allowing people to write-down a portion of the debt would cause a ‘moral hazard’ (as if the initial lending spree was itself moral). Similarly, there is little discussion of the property tax deferral option for low income persons, a sinister move, which implies, (like with the hard line taken on mortgage repayments) that exemption is not an option any more for low wage earners but only more accumulated debt (with interest) to be paid sometime in the future- further impoverishing those least able to pay.

Adding insult to injury, the Department of Finance secretary general John Moran spoke recently of an “unnaturally low level of repossessions” and that ‘homeowners could not expect the taxpayer to subsidise them to remain in a house “that is beyond their means”.’ It is interesting to note that ‘their means’ didn’t seem to matter at all when it came to lending out the huge amounts of money at the outset.

Credite posteri – Believe it, future generations (Horace).

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is a prominent Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes (http://gaelart.net/). His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes.  His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail