While I agree with most of them, points 1 through 3 I don’t agree with. These are
- Cut taxes. (only way to boost consumer confidence is through increased disposable income)
- Restore confidence in the housing market. (cut stamp duty further)
- Remove the logjam in the banking system. (get NTMA to fund cheaper mortgages)
These three points focus on trying to sustain, and further inflate, an unsustainable bubble. The economic growth of the last number of years has been built on cheap and accessible credit, and on everyone spending themselves into large amounts of debt.
Bloxham want to give consumers more disposable income, in the hope that it’ll trigger them back into a spending spree. The US tried this with a tax rebate, and it hasn’t reignited their economy. I think, however, that the recent economic downturn will prompt people to be more prudent with their money. I suspect many of them would use it to pay down debt, and I doubt it would prompt people back into a debt-fuelled spending frenzy.
When Bloxham talk above about restoring confidence in the housing market, what they’re really saying is to give potential house buyers more money now so they pay elevated prices for property. The housing market in Ireland, as in the US, Spain, the UK and elsewhere, is deflating. Trying to keep house prices artificially high by enticing people to buy now will only serve to prolong the pain. House prices need to fall to more reasonable levels before people will have the confidence to buy into the market again.
The last point above, having the National Treasury Management Agency fund mortgages, will only serve to increase the national debt and leave Irish tax payers covering the defaults. There’s good reason why people can’t get large mortgages – the lender doesn’t think they can repay it. Over the last number of years, mortgages were given out to people without their income being properly stress tested. Banks are now imposing more stringent checks before handing out the cash. By making mortgages easier to get, these checks would become more lax, and we’d end up with the same problem we have now in another few years time.
Luckily, the rest of Bloxham’s points should serve to strengthen our economic position. I’m not sure if selling state assets to cover current expenses is a great idea, but since they didn’t expand too much on the points, I’m not sure if this was their intention.