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Message to Ordinary Green Party Members

From Emer O’Siochru, Smart Taxes Director.

You are our only hope left to save Irish people from an appalling future – the future that Nama will bring.

A compromised government and a lazy media is trying to tell us that there is “no other game in town” or that ” it is a done deal”. This because responsible Nama opponents stepped into the background to allow for a clean debate of the Lisbon Treaty. For their pains, their patriotic action has been spun as a capitulation by the anti – Nama movement.

Please believe us that nothing has happened or been said that has changed our minds.

The 46 respected economists who signed the original article to the Irish Times still believe Nama is fundamentally flawed and unfair. They have been joined by many others including Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.

Most Irish environment activists are very concerned about Nama. Eight national environmental NGOs, members of the Irish Environmental Network called for a SEA or Strategic Environmental Assessment of Nama. Except for the veto of one NGO member, the new Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership very likely would have called for the same thing today. The NGO member used the veto not because they supported Nama but because they were worried about influencing the internal decision-making of a Political Party.  But I think you would prefer to be informed of all relevant information (in the spirit of Aarhus) at this crucial time.

An SEA requires that a number of options for fixing the banking system must be researched – not just one; information must be shared with the social partners and civil society so people can participate fully and the impact of different options fully explored before a decision is made.

The SEA is an internationally developed protocol to make sure that decisions are not rushed – especially critical decisions in a time of emergency. Ignoring the SEA checklist is like a pilot in a jet aircraft ignoring established safety procedures when the engines cut out in mid flight. The fact that that ‘there is a crisis’ or that ‘there is little time’ would not be acceptable as an excuse from the pilot in that situation no more than it is an acceptable excuse by the current government – especially a government with Green Party Ministers.

The complexity of the issues is not a reason to take on trust any particular voice.. We can understand how the the Green elected members  got pulled down a particular path by the apparent confidence of senior civil servants, the experience of banking advisers and the panic of their partners in Fianna Fail. No less a man than President Obama got pulled into agreeing to the Tarp Plan in the US – a similar plan to Nama to purchase toxic assets. But as time passed, better judgement prevailed and a different path was taken in the US.Sadly, Green Ministers seem to lack the courage or self belief to call a halt in order to honestly examine other options before sealing this irrevocable deal.

It is now down to you ordinary Green Party members.

Please stop this before €54 billion is paid for assets that can be had for €24 billion, without depriving bondholders of a penny. This is real money and will cost us real money in taxes for a generation. Nama is a sleight-of-hand gift to bankers and their friends, wrapped up in wishful thinking and sprinkled with threats. For the taxpayer to break even, Interest rates must stay low and property values must rise in a truly fairytale fashion. It leaves nothing in the kitty to help with the unbearable debt of ordinary families and many businesses. It postpones the property price drop that the economy needs to restart. It blocks all reform of planning and taxation that might potentially reduce the ‘long term economic value’ of its property portfolio. That includes reforms that would divert investment into productive businesses that would prepare us for an energy scarce and climatically unstable world; reforms that would create jobs for our young people, a secure retirement for our old. The lame risk share and weak levy thrown in at last minute does not change any of this.

Nama is not the only worked out solution to the banking crisis.

The ECB will give us the same deal as for Nama bonds for any of the competing options to Nama developed by non self-interested economists, bankers and businessmen.  Go ask them if you don’t believe us.

The bond market will be more willing to lend to a government that has committed only €24 billion compared to €54 billion in government bonds to recapitalise the banks. Go ask them if you don’t believe us.

Taxpayers and citizens would be happier to face up to their loss of wealth in property if they were partly compensated by a gain in bank shares. Go ask them if you don’t believe us.

But they will not be asked by the current government because they do not want the Irish people to hear the answers.  Only you are in the privileged position to be asked your verdict of Nama. You have this position because despite all, the Green Party has stayed true to democratic principles.

Please speak for all of us.  Demand an SEA.

For Further Information Link to

Smart Taxes : Various posts, submissions and research papers.  Use Nama tag to find everything.

Environmental Pillar : Check out videos of economists presentation re Nama.  See especially Professor Brian Lucey of Trinity College and Richard Douthwaite of Feasta.

Greens Against Nama : A mix of blogs, videos and vox pop.

The Irish Economy : Karl Whelan led the economic critique of Nama.

True Economics : Dr Constantin Gurdgiev crunches the numbers to expose the Nama scam.  No tag search so the best way is to look at archive for Nama in title of posts.  Here are some to start.

Nama 3.0

Myth of Nama

Mad Math of Nama

Nama, bondholders and shareholders,

More Nama lies exposed,

Nama gets deserved bashing

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