September 2009 Archives

Questions about Nama

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Four questions about Nama:

  1. Why is the onus on Irish taxpayers to recapitalise the main banks via Nama? These banks could raise substantial capital by selling off non-core investment and insurance activities and holdings in banks in the UK, Poland and the US. 

  2. Why is the Minister preoccupied with the capital requirements of the banks when determining the haircut on loans being transferred to Nama? Surely, this amounts to match-fixing with taxpayers on the losing team.

  3. Will the Minister accept that property values could continue falling for the next few years and might not rise for several years thereafter? This would be a consequence of the overhang created by Nama's portfolio, rising interest rates and ultra-conservative bank lending.

  4. Why doesn't the Government direct the banks to grant share options to mortgage holders experiencing negative equity? This would help compensate them for the failures by the Government, Regulator and banks to exercise judgement and prudential control during the boom which they provoked.

Lead letter published in the Irish Times on 17th September 2009.

Say Sorry & Resign

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A shorter letter from the Ceann Comhairle to the electorate incorporating the words "sorry" and "resign" would have been more appropriate.

Letter published in the Irish Times on 16th September 2009.

Window Tax instead of Property Tax?

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The 1911 Census required householders to state the number of front-facing windows in their dwellings.

Instead of asking householders to value their houses in a very uncertain market, the proposed property tax could be based on a windows count.

How about a tax of €100 per front-facing window or one-third of total windows which ever is the greater? It would be very easy for Revenue to check this and evasion by bricking up windows should be evident.

A window tax was used in the UK and France in the 19th century as an alternative to income tax and gave rise to the phrase "daylight robbery".

Letter published in Irish Times on 9th September 2009.

Nama's Role in Price Rigging

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The property market is in the doghouse simply because, as dogs on the street know, prices have to fall considerably further to make long-term economic sense based on yields and prospective interest rate increases.

Clearly the Government is not listening as it strives to ensure that Nama will be able to exploit its dominant market position to keep prices artificially high for the benefit of bank shareholders, bondholders and developers. Surely this amounts to price rigging and State subsidisation and is contrary the public interest.

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