One thing that strikes me about the posts of many members of p.ie and in general conversation with colleagues, family and friends is that many people seem to believe that our financial deficit is solely due to the banking crisis and the guarantee, and that if it hadn't been for those "greedy capitalist bankers" we'd be fine.
There are two huge flaws in this logic that people seem unable or unwilling to grasp:
- that the deficit is largely due to the excessive day-to-day cost of running the state - public representatives, public servants, health, education and social welfare
- that there were many arms of the public sector involved in the boom to burst cycle, many of whom were well paid to directly oversee a successful economy (Central Bank of Ireland and Financial Regulator) and others indirectly (Dept. of Finance) - they failed miserably at this job by allowing the bankers do what bankers were always going to do
The adage "the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one" comes to mind. In many peoples minds, and particularly those in the public sector or are dependent on the state in some way, this is a private sector problem and needs to be solved by the private sector by working harder, paying more tax and getting back to a position where there is sufficient state revenue to get back to the way it was.
Unless we're all on the same page - that this is as much a public sector problem as it is a private sector problem - and we all realise that the solution needs to be found on both sides - reduce public sector costs and increase "user pays" taxes like VAT, health, education, etc. we're never going to resolve the issue.
The big obstacle in this "come to Jeebus moment" however, is probably the fact that our leaders - those elected to represent us and the senior officials in their departments - have a lot to loose by being open about this. They will loose face/status by openly admitting that, in a nutshell, they phucked up, and will lose serious income if/when the cost side is addressed and we re-baseline top salaries in the public administration to the scale of the economy and against genuine bench-marks. These leaders are happy to enable the ignorance, and that has to be their greatest failing.