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No, the ECB should not "just end lending to Irish banks."

The ECB should resolve those banks which are insolvent. That means reimbursing their depositors, up to the limit of the deposit guarantee (say, € 20.000), and then attempting to recover whatever value can be recovered from their assets. Any value that can be recovered from their assets beyond what is needed to cover depositors is then paid out to their creditors, in order of seniority. The remaining creditors get to fuck off and die.

The ECB should lend at the discount window to those banks which are solvent. That does not involve taking on crap collateral. If the bank is not able to post collateral that is not crap, then it isn't solvent and should be resolved.

The Irish state should spend money in order to support demand and restore full employment. The ECB should support this policy by purchasing all newly issued Irish bonds at the ECB's policy rate of 1 %.

The Irish state should attempt to claw back the money that was unjustly paid out to the creditors of insolvent banks. To the extent that money was ever actually paid, this is going to be hard. But I'm betting that most of that money was never actually paid, in the sense of being moved from one reserve account at the ECB to another. I'm betting that most of the money "paid out" in the Irish bank bailout was actually just the Irish government buying the debts of Irish banks using newly issued Irish government bonds. In which case it is a matter of supreme simplicity to declare those bonds void. Bonds are numbered and notarised, after all.

The Irish state should not, under any circumstance, engage in austerity. Not now, not ever.

But what is actually happening is that the ECB is telling the Irish government that the ECB will not support a sane Irish recovery policy, because the ECB is concerned about the Irish national debt. Instead, the ECB will only refinance Ireland's existing national debt, and only if Ireland engages in certifiably insane macroeconomic policies.

The logical response to that - indeed the only sane response - is to say "well then, fuck the national debt." If there is no national debt, then there is no need to refinance, and then the ECB cannot impose its austerity insanity.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 06:49:33 AM EST
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