Try and find a little happiness..

There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there. Much of it is real 🙁 My last post talked about the apocalypse.

So I’ve decided to look for bright spots today! Try find some positives somewhere. Came up with the following:

  • Cost of living is down. Whilst income levels are frozen at best or heading south across the board, we might take some comfort in the fact that mortgage rates are close to bottom, fuel prices are coming down, we are seeing negative inflation (deflation) for first time in quarter of a century. Not exactly unalloyed good news but depends how you look at it.
  • Credit should begin to trickle once more. With the first stage of recapitalisation underway funds should begin to flow through once more funding house purchasers and the SME sector. Anecdotal evidence is that the flow is still just a trickle but that has to change. Mortgage lenders and developers are beginning to innovate with new schemes to take the risk out of buying for first-timers and others looking to get on the ladder. ‘Let-to-buy’ schemes allow tenants rack up credits against a potential future mortgage whilst price insulation programs guarantee the purchaser against a price drop.
  • Technology. The tools of the new trade are quick easy and free. Every business should be using twitter, blogging, social networking etc to promote themselves and win new contacts. Skype could be exploited for exporters to talk to international customer base for free. There’s lots that could be done here.
  • Our greatest asset under our feet. The land. So coveted and fiercely guarded for so long (probably partly responsible for some of the pickles we’ve got into) the Irish relationship with land is historic. Taken by an alien invader we took it back in spades. (Still suspicious of the big house though)
    With a generation moving off the construction wave and either ill-equipped or ill-inclined towards an alternate career in the ‘knowledge economy’ (its not realistic to suggest higher order occupations can result in 100% employment) what about going back to our roots in the agrarian economy. As an island nation we can market ourselves as the green hamper, we’ve got the raw materials, whats to stop us becoming the garden of Europe? a new export sector, plenty of innovative and enthusiastic indigenous foodies and a long term labour market to fill the gap in manufacturing or construction related sectors.
  • Open economy and stimili. Obama might save us yet. With the 800BN stimilus package across the water and similar moves afoot across the other side, the US and UK economies if sufficiently stimulated may spill over into our own still wide open economy. There is a potential threat from Obama’s ‘Buy American’ mantra but we should be able compete in some sectors. Not forgetting out own stimulus package which saw an extra 150M pumped into school building only last week for example, and the home insulation programme is going to be huge over the next few years.
  • The meat in the sandwich? (Ash Wednesday excepted) Lastly we fear usurption by the East as call centres, technology and probably more conclusively manufacturing move eastwards into India, China, Eastern Europe. One gleam of hope though, is that our time zone, along with our established strengths may save us. An educated workforce, edge of europe (better get Lisbon II thru tho), good transatlantic transport links, low corporation taxes etc were what first attracted the multi-nationals here. What may help keep them is the idea of a ‘follow-the-sun’ working day. 8 hours in the US, 8 hours in India, and the middle 8 hours in Ireland. These companies cannot afford downtime and time is another cost, time differences cannot get in the way of business to there may be an argument there for keeping ourselves in the mix on this island.
  • One Reply to “Try and find a little happiness..”

    1. Conor


      Here’s an idea that should be discussed >>>

      Firstly. offer generous tax relief to companies that employ anyone that is in full time unemployment. This would be cost neutral to the state. Currently there is Employer’s PRSI relief available through FAS, this should be extended to everyone on the dole.

      Example, a person on the dole is paid about €10-12k per annum. Give the dole to the employer if they employ someone on the dole. Offer this payment on a limited basis – i.e. 6 months, 12 months or 24 months. Monitor it monthly so that it doesn’t get out of hand.

      Secondly, the dole offices should be made aware of all job openings. If someone on the dole is offered a job, and they don’t take it, cut their dole by 10%. Increase the cuts if they continue to refuse employment.

      Example, an umployed SR Technics employee goes to sign-on. The social welfare clerk offers them a job cleaning up vomit from street footpaths in the city centre for €8.65 per hour after boozy weekends. If the ex-SR Technics worker refuses the work, cut their dole by 10%. The next time they sign-on, and they refuse, cut their dole by another 10% etc. etc.

      These are just 2 tax neutral ideas to encourage employment.

      Ireland needs to be geared up to promote employment – not encourage unemployment.

      However, and most importantly, everyone in the country needs to be thinking out ideas like this and ringing their TDs 24/7. Annoy the hell out of them. Get the ideas debated in the Dail.

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