The Other Rental Crisis

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1916 EVENTS 758A7847_90508930(1)

tonygroves

From top: Simon Coveney, Richard Bruton and Leo Varadkar; Tony Groves

We have a Rental Crisis in this country. I’m not talking about the Daft.ie, Daft Rental Crisis, although that certainly is a Crisis. A small bedroom, as part of a house-share at €900 per month is a Crisis. But the Rent Crisis I’m referring to is caused by what economists call Rent-Seeking.

A Rent-Seeker is a person or entity that seeks to increase their share of wealth, without actually creating any wealth.

Rent-Seekers look to use their wealth and influence to reduce economic efficiency in a way that will increase the value of their particular pot of gold. The best Rent-Seekers find ways to take something that used to be free and introduce a charge for it.

Sound familiar?

It’s important to note that not all Rent-Seekers are Big Multinational Companies, Banks or Private Healthcare Companies; although many of these are. There are less obvious Rent-Seekers all around us.

Politically they tend to be Right Wing Capitalists who espouse Libertarian, Free Market Views. But ideologically they are Selectively Libertarian and are only interested in freeing up the market to their advantage. They tend to say nasty things about the Left and label anybody who talks of tackling inequality as “grasping, deluded, spiteful and envious“.

Many of them, like Leader in Waiting, Leo Varadkar tend to air their extreme Right Wing views by suggesting we privatise 20 Dublin Bus Routes, or suggest migrant workers should only receive 3 months dole as an incentive to leave. But he quickly glosses over his Far Right leanings by mentioning equality of opportunity in an Irish Independent puff piece.

Rent-Seekers are the ‘Haves’ in our Society. They have accumulated wealth without creating any. Generational Landlords and the like. Many of them sit in the Dáil. How can you expect Rent-Seeking Politicians to seriously tackle the Rental Crisis they are benefiting from?

These fake free marketeers are, for the most part, liars. They are all for the free market when it comes to eroding public services. They are all for the free market, with incentives, when it comes to their particular fiefdoms. The Construction Industry Federation spends more money on lobbying than the Construction Industry those on building Lobbies.

Why? It’s quite simple. If you need to invest one million euro in “incentives” in order to game the free market, but stand to make a billion euro from the rejig then why not! Think it’s a miracle we aren’t more corrupt? Have a read of the Tullock Paradox.

Think about it. 50% of Irish workers earn less than €30,000. By 2014 we had the highest percentage of Low Paid Workers in the OECD. Most workers have suffered wage stagnation for a decade. Yet there are 7,000 new Irish Millionaires in 2016. How does this happen? Rent-Seekers.

gini

Rent-Seekers and or free market libertarians decry the Welfare State. They should celebrate it. Cormac Lucey, Chairman of the Hibernia Forum likes to use the above Gini Index to show inequality isn’t that bad. What he fails to mention is that  our spending on Welfare lifts the lower paid out of extreme poverty.

He neglects to say that the Welfare Bill is a bargain. It’s a small price to pay in order to avoid things like a wealth tax, or a fair Corporation Tax. The Welfare bill keeps the pressure off the Rent-Seekers. If these state supports weren’t in place Paddy would really want to know who isn’t playing fair.

A total of 1.9 million people receive some payment from the Department of Social Protection, Pensioners, Carers, and Job-seekers etc. This is down from 2.2 million in 2013. The total spend is €19 billion per year. In other words the same amount of money the EU Commission say Apple owes us in back taxes and interest. Yet Leo Varadkar launched a “hard-hitting” publicity campaign regarding Welfare Cheats!

Ask a fake free market libertarian, their views on immigration. Watch them tell you that only markets should be free, people should be restricted because of a quirk of birthplace and some lines drawn on a map a few hundred years ago.

Ask a fake free market libertarian, their views on a wealth tax, or wealth redistribution. Watch them call you a Communist and insist that they gained their wealth via some sort of talent that makes them better than you or I.

A real Free Market Libertarian, Professor of Economics Bryan Caplan, advocates for the Free Market as a fair and just way for people to deal with each other.

He advocates for a Free Market that includes the free movement of people. In his own words “the single greatest loss to the world right now is the talent trapped in poor countries, where they can only function at a small fraction of their potential productivity”.

Think of all that untapped potential, stuck because of people/corporations (who espouse equality of opportunity) are Rent-Seeking. Think of the wealth creation missed out upon because fake free market libertarians are busy rigging the system, domestically and globally, to grow their percentage share of the pie.

The fake free market libertarians are the like the new politics. They create and do nothing productive. They generate no new innovations and inhibit real entrepreneurial spirits. They limit competition in their fields.

They are Leo Varadkar, hinting at tax cuts for the wealthy, while punching down at those on Social Welfare. They are Simon Coveney, worried about EU Water Fines, but unconcerned about EU Emissions Fines.

They are Vertex Pharmaceutical, charging €159,000 per patient, per year for Orkambi. They are Irish Retail Banks with Mortgage Interest Rates 2.5% above the EU average. They are the Rent-Seekers.

But yeah, equality of opportunity and stuff. Am I right, Right Wingers?

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld

Rollingnews

132 thoughts on “The Other Rental Crisis

  1. MoyestWithExcitement

    Looking forward to all the part time economists dismissing this financial consultant with personal insults and comments about writing style.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      “that makes them better than you or I.”

      That should be “better than you or me”.

        1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

          Aye, that works too.
          If you’re unsure, just remove the ‘you or’ from the sentence and re-read it. “Better than I” is wrong.

      1. de feq

        I thought i had a good gag years (and years) ago about what does the fella with the long hairdo do? Den dem young fellas de Rubberbindits do dere UHU do brilliant like.
        On a sadder note I’m reeling from events concerning dasquiggles . Oh how we pinged and laughed the night away, ( since the beginning of Ballyhea), I kid you not. Now that dasquiggles had a grip on language. Jeeze there’s loads of space here Isn’t there?

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      Moyest – one look at the photograph accompanying this article is worth ten thousand words. When the eff are we, as a nation, going to wake up?

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        I really, *really* am not sure that’ll ever happen. Part of me wants to fight, part of me thinks it’s completely pointless and I should fupp off to Germany or Canada or somewhere. Too much apathy here and reverence of power. Most people don’t know and don’t want to know and people like Leo count on that. Nobody’s really paying attention so him and his like get away with all sorts of crap. People need to realise it’s generally a privilege to not care about politics.

      2. Rob_G

        Colleagues – or even just ‘people’, at the end of the day – shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries.

        – oh, the humanity \(●o○;)ノ

    3. classter

      There have been non-sequiturs, generalisations, & unsupported arguments in the pieces thus far.

      When I gave an example of one and explained my argument, he responded with ad hom.

      He can hardly complain if others do the same!

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        He can, yeah. Why go after delivery rather than content? Why point at writing style instead of disagreeing with the message? You wouldn’t do that in a face to face conversation.

        1. classter

          In this case, I would.

          This is so incoherent and unfocused that it is difficult to know what part of the message to even ‘go after’.

          This is a mish-mash of different opinions – some of them, I even agree with. But:
          A) They don’t connect really together at all
          B) Some points are patently silly or overly-simplistic.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            “This is so incoherent and unfocused that it is difficult to know what part of the message to even ‘go after’.”

            So pick one. This isn’t a writing competition. You aren’t a judge in one. You’re a randomer on a blog. I don’t see how you think your opinion on what constitutes good structure is should matter to anyone. If he said something disagreeable then disagree. Otherwise you look like someone who got offended and wants to offend back.

          2. classter

            The piece begins with the premise that the housing crisis exists purely because of ‘rent-seekers’.

            It never again addresses that point, except in passing to decry the Construction Industry Federation because it is a lobby group. They primarily represent construction companies who generally operate on shockingly low margins.

            The main villain of the piece seems to be the Minister for Social Protection – whose remit does not include construction or housing at all.

            I have some sympathy for the first point, except that I think that the real rent-seekers in this case are developers, financial institutions, land-bankers etc. The truth is that a critical mass of the Irish, across all classes, are closely wedded to the idea of property ownership and rising house prices.

  2. andy moore

    Ah now many of the rent seekers do be artistic & of un-deserved sensibilities, which can be hereditary ??

  3. rotide

    “The Construction Industry Federation spends more money on lobbying than the Construction Industry those on building Lobbies.”

    I assume you meant to say ‘does’ instead of ‘those’?

      1. classter

        To be fair, that line is an empty, smart-arsed ‘quip’.

        Out of interest, how much does the construction industry spend on building lobbies?

  4. MoyestWithExcitement

    “The fake free market libertarians are the like the new politics. They create and do nothing productive. They generate no new innovations and inhibit real entrepreneurial spirits. They limit competition in their fields.”

    Yes but the lie creates a power dynamic and social hierarchy. ‘We create the wealth. You need us for jobs so you can buy things’ and so we get Donald Trump in the white house and millionaire public servant Clinton as his beaten foe on the way there. It seems like lots and lots of conservative and right wing folks don’t understand what wealth and wealth creation actually is and this directly hurts all of us.

  5. rotide

    “Ask a fake free market libertarian, their views on a wealth tax, or wealth redistribution. Watch them call you a Communist and insist that they gained their wealth via some sort of talent that makes them better than you or I.”

    Ignoring the buzzwords for a second, what do you actually mean here?

    Surely the people you are talking about have a talent for gaming the system to create wealth for themselves. While this doesn’t make them better than you or I on every scale, It does make them better at creating wealth for themselves. There will always be people who are better than others at the contemporary system. You should be railing against the system and those who prop it up rather than those who benefit from it. Having said that I accept that these are often one and the same.

    This probably makes me a fake free market libertarian

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      “Surely the people you are talking about have a talent for gaming the system to create wealth for themselves.”

      And if a single mother gamed the welfare system for a couple of hundred euros breathing space, you’d be up in arms. But you want to make excuses for millionaires because those boots won’t lick themselves. Shameful.

      1. rotide

        I’m not making excuses, I’m stating facts.

        People do game the welfare system all the time. People game the tax system all the time. It’s part of life. You yourself gamed the comments system above where you used Trump as an example for no reason rather than using the more acceptable elected governments of Sweden or Holland.

          1. rotide

            All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.

            Same Dude.

          2. Increasing Displacement

            To be fair Rotide, you’re talking rubbish.

            All I got was; take what you can because you can, before anyone else can

            Rotten.

  6. MoyestWithExcitement

    “50% of Irish workers earn less than €30,000. By 2014 we had the highest percentage of Low Paid Workers in the OECD. Most workers have suffered wage stagnation for a decade. Yet there are 7,000 new Irish Millionaires in 2016. How does this happen? Rent-Seekers.”

    Preach.

    1. Fact Checker

      The increase in millionaires might have something to do with the sustained, global increase in asset prices since about 2010. The same way that the number of millionaires tumbled between 2007 and 2010.

      But I guess a financial consultant would know more about this.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Yes. Prices have gone up, “Most workers have suffered wage stagnation for a decade.” so they’re charging more money while paying staff the same amount so they get to take more out of the pot. But I’m sure a “Fact Checker” knows more.

        It’s actually baffling how you think you’re refuting his point there.

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      No reply button for ‘Increasing Displacement’? No matter – my sentiments entirely. We must now stand in awe of everyone who has their eye on the main chance. This is what civilisation has come to.

  7. nellyb

    Tony, when you see capitalism next time – please say hello and tell I miss it & want to meet it at last. Right wingers turned it into a circle j€rk, lazy langers, ruined it for all of us.

      1. bisted

        …nice to see you are honest Tony and admit you are a capitalist in the old fashioned sense…that the means of production should be used for production…isn’t that what the blueshirts call the trickle down effect? You are a sort of Marxist capitalist…

        1. Robert

          Isn’t a Marxist Capitalist a Social Democrat?

          Market economy please as a means to fairly reward performance coupled with a redistributive dynamic to smooth out the day-to-day realities, of you know “society”.

          Sound far fetched? You may say that I’m a dreamer …

          1. classter

            Isn’t that, to a greater or lesser degree, what we have?

            Any such system has some balance between a free market and regulations/laws/taxes/etc. Presumably whichever politician Tony disagrees with on any given day is a fake free market libertarians unless they are on the extreme left or right?

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      “Looking forward to all the part time economists dismissing this financial consultant with personal insults and comments about writing style.”

      I love this game.

      1. Rob_G

        He seems to be suggesting that being right-wing (like that famous ‘Far Right’ Leo Varadkar) is incompatible with belief in the welfare state – this is demonstrably untrue.

          1. classter

            It is.

            There could been the germ of a good piece here but it needs a seried of re-writes!

            Be honest, if a fresh grad handed you this in work, you would have a serious chat with them.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s not. The only people who take issue with writing style are people who regularly voixe right wing opinions. Instead of having some dignity, you choose to behave like this in reaction to a message you didn’t like.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          And Leo Varadkar IS far right. Racism isn’t a prerequisite for being far right.

          1. classter

            He is right wing but ‘far right’?

            ‘Far right’ is usually used to connotate politicians who are:
            1) More ‘ethnocentric’
            2) More populist
            3) More socially conservative
            than Varadkar

            Even in terms of being pro-free market, I’m struggling to think of a decision he has made which would possibly justify a designation of ‘far right’ rather than right, or even centre right.

            I’m not a massive fan of Leo & it might seem pedantic but words matter. If you devalue the currency of a term like far-right, you merely make it easier for the far right to advance its causes.

      1. Fact Checker

        Thanks Tony.

        Maybe you can dig deeper into Caplan’s writing on the subject the next time. He has plenty to say.

    1. classter

      It is weird to quote Caplan approvingly. He is way further to the right of any Irish politician.
      He is a hard-core Libertarian & a fan of Ayn Rand.

      Are you annoyed that Varadkar is right-wing or not right-wing enough?

  8. Owen C

    “their extreme Right Wing views by suggesting we privatise 20 Dublin Bus Routes”

    Who knew the fascist Trojan Horse would arrive in the form of an Aircoach bus…

    “He neglects to say that the Welfare Bill is a bargain. It’s a small price to pay in order to avoid things like a wealth tax, or a fair Corporation Tax…A total of 1.9 million people receive some payment from the Department of Social Protection, Pensioners, Carers, and Job-seekers etc. This is down from 2.2 million in 2013. The total spend is €19 billion per year.”

    €19bn per annum is a bargain?

    Serious question though – how would increased social welfare, for instance, increase wealth in the economy? Or increased public sector pay without increases in productivity? Would they not also be examples of rent seeking? Rent seekers exist on both the left and the right…

    1. Fact Checker

      There are a few problems with how TG characterises the welfare spend.

      The over-65 population is growing at 3% or so per year which mechanically pushes up costs no matter what the state of the economic cycle. The overall pension spend went from about €5.5bn in 2008 to €6.5bn in 2014 despite no change in the rates of payment each year. This should really be excluded from comparisons as it is in most cases an entitlement that people have spent a working lifetime contributing for.

      The second issue is that the reason 1.9 million people are in receipt of social welfare benefits is that about 560k of them are pensioners and about the same number are mothers in receipt of child benefit. Child benefit and pensions are just cash for status. The remaining number is kind of what policy can focus on.

    2. MoyestWithExcitement

      “Who knew the fascist Trojan Horse would arrive in the form of an Aircoach bus…”

      He was talking about extreme right wing ideology manifesting in privatisation of public services. You are *still* sneering at people for what they say and immediately demonstrating you didn’t actually understand what they said.

      “how would increased social welfare, for instance, increase wealth in the economy?”

      Money is used to buy things.

      https://youtu.be/SDoPZyOpbVs

      1. Rob_G

        ‘”how would increased social welfare, for instance, increase wealth in the economy?”

        Money is used to buy things.’

        – by that logic, we should double or triple the social welfare spend to really get benefit.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          No, they should get nothing! Seeing as we’re extrapolating arguments nobody made.

          1. Robert

            No sorry – that’s just nonsense to take what he said and just multiply it by 3. You’re presuming that you can take a truth and scale it indefinitely which is fallacious ad extremus …

            The point was that “Giving money away” is good for the economy because it gets to (or trickles down to if you like) areas it wouldn’t otherwise. Of course you could “give too much money away” but I think we’re quite far away from that extreme where we stand right now.

          2. Fact Checker

            People at different income deciles have a different marginal propensity to consume out of an additional euro of income.

            In pure Keynesian terms €1000 in the hands of low-income person is much more likely to be spent than €1000 in the hands of a high-income person.

            I am not recommending this policy. But is slightly more subtle than you think.

          3. Robert

            Nice supply-side formulation. You can turn that on its head and I think it illustrates the seriousness more honestly: The poor person needs that €1,000 more. That’s the difference between making a mortgage payment, or tuition fees. For a wealthy person it’s just a weekend in Spain.

          4. Fact Checker

            I’ll try again.

            The wealthy person is more likely to spend it than the poor person.

            Spending generates the economic activity.

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            “The wealthy person is more likely to spend it than the poor person.”

            No they aren’t. The wealthy person is more likely to put it in a bank. The poor person can’t afford savings and will spend it in nearby businesses. Please consider changing your name.

          6. Robert

            Nice try. But the wealthy person may use it for savings and investment which also in theory stimulates economic activity. Somehow, magically (mechanism unstated) this is expected to trickle down, but in reality it starts to go round in loops. You have whole industries (accountants, financial services etc.) dedicated to hoovering up any surplus before it gets to the bottom. So to keep things ticking over for all sectors of the economy you need a certain amount of redistribution.

      2. Owen C

        If money is used to buy things, isn’t it a good thing for right wing rent seekers to get more money?

        Is the privatization of any public service to be considered “extreme right wing” in nature? The “extreme” part is what I was getting at (you’re not always able to keep up). Just want to know where we all sit on the Moyest Fascism Ladder.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “If money is used to buy things, isn’t it a good thing for right wing rent seekers to get more money?”

          They get their money from people buying their crap. More people with money to spend means more money for them. Come on.

          “The “extreme” part is what I was getting at”

          You’re the only one who mentioned fascism.

          1. Owen C

            No. People who produce crap which the rest of us buy aren’t rent seekers. They’re creating a service or good. Did you miss the part about what a rent seeker is supposed to be? I think you must have.

            I just think its hyperbolic to suggest that private bus routes represent extreme right wing ideology. Its more accurate to describe that ideological position (that any privatization of public services is extreme right wing) as extreme marxist in nature. Why not just start putting up the “Property Is Theft” plackard and be done with it?

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            “People who produce crap which the rest of us buy aren’t rent seekers.”

            “A Rent-Seeker is a person or entity that seeks to increase their share of wealth, without actually creating any wealth….Rent-Seekers look to use their wealth and influence to reduce economic efficiency in a way that will increase the value of their particular pot of gold”

            You need to consider what you read before reacting to it. What do you think wealth actually is?

            “I just think its hyperbolic to suggest that private bus routes represent extreme right wing ideology.”

            Privatisation of public wealth in general. Why are you focussing on bus routes.

            I just think its hyperbolic….. Why not just start putting up the “Property Is Theft” plackard and be done with it?”

            Sensational.

          3. Owen C

            “Why are you focussing on bus routes.”

            Cos it was the specific example used directly after “extreme right wing”? And its a questionable example. So i questioned its credibility as an example. This is pretty simple stuff.

            Me: “If money is used to buy things, isn’t it a good thing for right wing rent seekers to get more money?”

            You: “They get their money from people buying their crap.”

            You therefore claim that rent seekers will get their money from people buying their crap. As discussed, it can be assumed that people selling goods or services create value or wealth, its basically how the economy works. Just stop with this part, admit you got that one wrong and move on from it. Learn from your obvious mistake. Kthxbye.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Cos it was the specific example used directly after “extreme right wing”? ”

            Uh huh, as an illustration. All you’re doing here is demonstrating a shockingly low level 9f reading comprehension.

            “As discussed, it can be assumed that people selling goods or services create value or wealth, its basically how the economy works.”

            Right, and you also have no idea how economics work. I haven’t created any wealth in forming a company. Demand creates wealth. Good God, man. Read a book.

          5. Owen C

            Actually, I see where the renter seeker selling crap thing went wrong.

            You were in favour of more welfare cos people buy stuff. I suggested rent seekers buy stuff too. Either way, if people are buying crap, wealth is being created through the sale of goods and services, so it doesn’t matter if its welfare recipients or rent seekers who are receiving this money. Welfare recipients are no more likely to buy crap or create wealth than rent seekers one they have received the money. Its not a reason, in itself, to give them money.

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            Except that less people have more money now. Profits are up and wages are down. The same amount of money is in circulation. The top have more and the rest of us have less. That trend is unsustainable. Eventually people won’t have any disposable income and those “wealth creators” won’t have any customers. The economy suffers as a result. It is absolutely a reason to spend more on social welfare. They put their money into local businesses. The wealthy let it sit in bank accounts.

          7. Anne

            “I suggested rent seekers buy stuff too. ”

            There’s only so much a handful of wealthy individuals will purchase.
            Wealthy people tend to put their money away rather than spend it. There’s only so many pairs of jeans one person will buy..

            It’s explained well by a multimillionaire in fact, in Robert Reich’s documentary below, Inequality For All.

          8. Robert

            Moyest you described the Ricardian apocalypse. Named for the 17th century economist who originally proposed it. Has yet to happen unless you count the two world wars. But even still dire apocalyptic predictions rarely win arguments or influence onlookers. We need to accentuate the positives of what a more socialised society can achieve. There are plenty – just not if you’re of the greedy persuasion.

        2. Owen C

          “Uh huh, as an illustration”

          So privatizing bus routes is an illustration of extreme right wing policy? This is the lack of credibility that I’m talking about.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Privatising public wealth is, yes. I don’t know why this is complicated for you.

          2. Tony Groves

            Speaking about a “lack of credibility”, you continually fail to acknowledge the second part of the sentence. You know, the line about Leo advocating for immigrants getting treated like 2nd class citizens.
            Yes, Leo Varadkar is Far Right.

    3. Tony Groves

      I’m not advocating for increases in welfare. I’m saying the spend on welfare, funded centrally, is a bargain for Rent Seekers. If alternatives were imposed on rent seeking then welfare would/should reduce.
      Thanks Owen

      1. Owen C

        I didn’t say you were advocating for it. But we all know there are various lobby groups which do. They are surely rent-seeking like the construction sector is? I’m not discussing which has more merit, note, just that rent seeking occupies any lobby group left or right. Corporate welfare creates no more wealth than social welfare, its simply a policy choice and where to redistribute depending on economic and social objectives. Its odd to frame rent seeking as only a right wing/corporate/”fake libertarian” issue. The left (AAA/PBP) in Ireland is very much against wealth taxes such as property tax, for instance, but very much in favour of more social welfare spend, implying that they only want an outcome which is less about sound policy formation and more about re distributive outcomes in favour of their clients.

  9. mauriac

    nice vernacular version of Marxist rentier class but it lost me at the end with facile strawman arguments and by shoehorning in a dubious open borders argument.

    1. Tony Groves

      There’s no need to argue for open borders. They are only argued against. At the risk of repeating myself, you cannot put the globalisation toothpaste back in the tube.

  10. spudnick

    Leaving aside the bizarre Random Capitalisation (as Moyest has already shut down that line of dissent), surely nobody with a brain in their head could disagree with the need to tackle the inevitability of growing inequality inherent in capitalism.

    It’s even in the best interests of the rich to have content, well-fed proles under them who a) won’t bother them with pesky civil unrest and b) will have enough disposable income to buy stuff to keep the whole economy going. And that’s even ignoring the moral side of it.

    Unfettered free movement of labour is hardly the answer though, as you end up with a National Front in charge in no time at all, and you’re back to square one.

    A generous but realistic visa programme alongside politically agreeable wealth redistribution is the only realistic policy.

  11. Anne

    Divide and conquer is the name of the game. Social welfare ‘scroungers’ versus the tax payer.

    Let’s say the housing situation continues, we’re going to be talking about pensioners who were never able to get on the property ladder, who never got the opportunity to eventually pay off a mortgage.

    You’re talking extreme impoverishment for old aged pensioners who wont be able to afford rents.

    Who’s going to end up having to support them? The tax payer of course… but it’s not the people who can’t afford a property who have benefited..

    It’s the landlord class – many of whom are TDs that the social welfare system supports.

    Divide and conquer.

    1. classter

      Combating welfare fraud should be enthusiastically welcomed on the left.

      Even if the numbers are not large (I suspect they are not), it is an integral part of maintaining public buy-in and support for the social welfare state. By similar logic, universalistic systems (even if they entail higher taxes) are preferable for many public services than means-tested systems.

      I accept that some politicians do use ‘welfare fraud’ as a means of trying to demonise welfare recipients but it works, in large part, because the left leaves the field open to them.

      1. Anne

        “Even if the numbers are not large (I suspect they are not), it is an integral part of maintaining public buy-in and support for the social welfare state.”

        Yeah, sure thing.

        Do the wealthy who pay little to no tax, need public support no? How much are they ‘costing’ us?

        I think people are starting to realise who’s getting an easy ride – that’d be the wealthy in case you weren’t sure…i.e. Those are facilitated in making more money and paying little to no tax..

        I’ll give you examples of what social welfare fraud look like…

        You have a partner with a serious lifelong illness. You are expected to pick of the tab for everything if you are ‘co-inhabiting’ or married…. that’d be no medical card, no small weekly payment, no help with anything.. 50 euro at least, a pop, to see the doctor. Can’t work again. Ever. The co-habitanting partner is earning above a certain threshold, you can suck it up. The threshold is about 35k PA.

        Or, you have a single mother, with her own kids ,working minding someone else’s kids, getting 300 a week max for 30-40 hours a week, and the state want her friends and neighbours to report her for the 188 or whatever they’re giving her.. that’d be less than 500 euro she’d be getting.. but that’s who the state want us to focus on ….divide and conquer as I said.

        1. Anne

          “co-inhabiting”

          Co-habitating .. sharing an evening meal, or a bed is how it’s defined.

      2. know man is an island

        Dreadful oul cant from a great apologist for the status quo. I do feel a bit sorry for you on this classter coming in here with your jeremiads straight from the mouth of mainstream apologists. A few years ago you would have been the type moving parish priests around after they were convicted of paedophilia and NOT realising there was anything wrong with doing so as it would “for the good of the country”

        1. classter

          I do not think that I am an apologist for the status quo.

          There’s a lot that I hate about how things are done in Ireland, never mind further afield.

          I do think that a correct diagnosis is vital, however. Sometimes that means praising the Irish state or accepting that a politician did an okay job in a difficult situation. Or that the alternatives carry significant risks. Unceasing negativity/cynicism is every bit as damaging as blind adoration/obedience.

          One of my bugbears is that we are rather too accepting of the lazy, inchoate blanket condemnation of some mysterious ‘elite’. It feels good temporarily but leaves us further away from where we need to be heading and gives cover to the genuinely incompetent, corrupt or malevolent.

          This piece is a neat encapsulation of this. Quite a few commenters are praising it, yet I genuinely can’t figure out whether the author is a hard-core libertarian or on the left.*

          *(Now, perhaps I just lack basic comprehension but I’m arrogant enough and I read the piece enough times to believe otherwise).

  12. rotide

    What’s laughable about this entire article and comments section is that Moyest tries to shut down any critisism of the shocking quality of writing, yet goes on 3 page arguments stemming entirely from the incoherance of the article.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      I shut down nothing, kid. I just made a comment about how utterly embarrassing it is to read those pathetic comments, unsurprisingly all coming from people ideologically opposed to his message. You can’t honestly take on his message so you have to sneer and try to condescend.

      1. classter

        I’m not ideologically opposed to his message, so far as I can understand his message.
        I suspect that I am actually significantly to the left of Mr. Groves on most topics.

        Consider this. If you read a rambling piece which kept referring in a generalised way to ‘Lefties’ and ‘Libtards’ would you take it seriously?

        1. jusayinlike

          Classter, GTFO.. the only person I can think of who you might be left of is Gert Wilders..

          1. Classter

            I’m not suggesting we chose the side of wealthy, well-connected people over welfare recipients.

            Nor am I suggesting that that the welfare system is perfect and without anomalies.

            What I am saying is that when the topic of welfare fraud comes up, the response of the left is significantly at odds with most of the public. The odd anecdote about double-claiming brickies or a non-single single mother does massive damage to public support for the welfare state. It helps right-wing tabloids concentrate on fraud rather than the vast bulk of people being given support (and meagre support at that) by the state

    2. jusayinlike

      Editor/Rotide, moyest made mince meat out of you, the neck of you to critique someone else’s posts when all you do is nit pick about grammar, Tony keep the satire rolling, right wingers hate satire..

      bravo

  13. Eric cartman

    What a complete load of crap, just more left wing ‘boo money, boo rich people’ clap trap

  14. Deluded

    That was largely unreadable (a few commenters tried to salvage something from it though, fair play to them for making the effort)

  15. Anne

    I keep meaning to catch Ken Loach’s film on this subject. ‘I, Daniel Blake’

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/15/ken-laoch-film-i-daniel-blake-kes-cathy-come-home-interview-simon-hattenstone?CMP=share_btn_fb

    ‘Loach has spent the past half-century making films that shake with anger, and is just about to release his angriest yet. I, Daniel Blake, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes film festival, is about a man broken by the British benefits system. His doctor says he is too sick to work after a near-fatal heart attack, but the Department for Work and Pensions decides he is not entitled to sickness benefit. Blake finds himself trapped in a downward spiral after his jobseeker’s allowance is suspended, because he is thought not to be trying hard enough to find the work he is unfit to do. The film is so spare and spartan, it could be a parable. It is also immensely moving – particularly a scene in a food bank, when a young mother Blake has befriended breaks down in a manner that borders on the feral.’

    They’re going down the same route in this country. It’s despicable going after people on social welfare.. while you have Baldy Noonan wining and dining with the Vultures paying who are paying no tax. It’s just despicable.

    1. Classter

      Base that film. It’s retry moving and believable too.

      I guess part of the point is that if the left refuses to engage with public questions on fraud etc it gives those who are ideologically opposed to welfare cover to implement the sort of system exposed in I,DB

      1. Robert

        What is “the left” to do though? Are you presuming that welfare cheats have a political affiliation? The issue with this kind of clampdown is it makes life harder for people that are already in a pretty tough position. If there were some method by which you could target the scammers without hurting the poor I’d be more supportive.

        1. classter

          ‘The issue with this kind of clampdown is it makes life harder for people that are already in a pretty tough position’

          This is a fair point. But surely it is not beyond our competence to do so in a fair & relatively sensitive manner. The left in supporting this should then be extending this same rhetoric/logic to argue for beefed up white-collar crime enforcement.

          The clear implication of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ was that there was no genuine effort to separate scammers from the rest. Blake was clearly deserving (almost too perfect an example) and yet was being thwarted by sub-contracted private sector bureaucrats with a vested, financial interest in making it difficult for him to claim his entitlements. By many accounts, the story reflected the actual appraoch in the UK under Cameron’s govt (and presumably still the case under May).

          1. classter

            I’d like to think we can. I’d hope so.

            Its a much bigger, more atomised society over yonder.

            I also think that the ideological nature of the two parties there makes such things worse. The Tories wouldn’t have seen Daniel Blake’s constituency as winnable and with their FPTP electoral system, they had absolutely no political price to pay for abandoning large swathes of the country. Part of the reason, 2.8m people who never voted came out to give Cameron a bloody nose.

          2. Robert

            Oh you “like to think” – oh okay then lets run a litlle “experiment” with real people’s lives just sate your interest. For dubious benefit.

            I known your type sir.

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