Debra J. Saunders

This being Ireland, there are plenty of folk who look at the bankers and the Taoiseach (say tee-shack) -- that's Irish for the prime minister of the Irish Republic -- and the Dail (say doil) -- Irish for the lower house of the parliament of the Irish Republic -- and pronounce all bankers and politicians to be crooks and thieves. You hear that in San Francisco and New York and Boston, too.

Corruption certainly has a hand in this cookie jar. But also, the picture that emerges is all too universal in the modern world. When economic growth meant good living for middle-class families, the rewards came from riding the tiger. All the smart people were on board, so it seemed sour to speak against the good times.

When the bubble burst -- as bubbles always do -- then the good times are called bad names. Like "Greed." Sadly, it is the new homeowners and young parents working to carve out a good life for their families who will forfeit most dearly because these bank failures are huge. The Irish Independent reported the cost of this bailout could reach 138,000 euros (U.S.$173,301) for every man, woman and child. That's like an extra mortgage.

Old and young wonder if the end of boom times will allow Ireland to shed some of its newly acquired excesses -- and bring back a slower, sweeter life. They hope fewer toys can mean more quality time.

"We survived the famine," an Irishman-turned-Californian told me before I came here, but we're not sure we will "survive the feast."


Debra J. Saunders


 
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