The Lenihan testimony before the Finance C’mtee made me nauseous.
It made me so ill/mad that I didn’t originally notice the abysmal absence of the Green’s parliamentary party from the event.
First off, he made much of the historic prudence of the lenders, referring to LTV’s of 75%. At a time when the banks were tripping over themselves to lend 100% and more to retail clients, what is there to convince us that they were more prudent when lending for shorter durations on what looked like ‘better’ bets, the development lands. Apart from the fact that these are all historic now.
There are no actual numbers on show here, hidden behind the cloak of ‘commercial sensitivity’ – but if we are the owners and guarantors are we not entitled to know…..
Secondly, (and this is as beautiful a piece of ‘chutzpah’ as you will ever hear) he quoted Obama quoting the Hippocratic Oath of ‘Do no harm’. This coming from the party that stoked the bubble to a point where the OECD said we had lost touch with reality (or the ‘fundamentals’ as they politely put it). I was too busy puking to see if anyone had actually laughed, it seems no one had.
Next, he spoke about ‘risk sharing’ saying he expected NAMA to ‘make gains in its lifetime’. A very careful choice of words that, gains, but not necessarily a profit. Also, he was unable to demonstrate how and hadn’t bothered to come up with a mechanism for so doing.
NAMA is all about ‘cleaner, less risky’ bank balance sheets and restarting lending to get the economy moving again. The fact that NAMA only isolates the headline toxic debts means that it does nothing for the huge amounts of retail mortgages that are in negative equity and the small businesses that ran only on the steam of the overheated economy. Nor does it address the issue of where the banks are to get the capital to start lending again. So we will have NAMA and still have ‘zombie’ banks…….
Lastly, he said once again that NAMA is not a bailout without proving it. In fact, one sentence uttered does not make any sense, financially or gramatically. NAMA is a transfer of wealth from workers as taxpayers to capital as share and bondholders. It is theft wrapped up as a bailout.
There was much more to be sick over, including the Oppositions failure to land any heavy blows on the Minister. But by that stage, I was empty.