Tuesday, November 30, 2010

$111 B for Ireland Bank Bailout - $15 B for Haiti

The Irish bank bailout announced two days ago turned out to be much higher and more costly than expected.

It is staggering, to say the least, that the Irish government was forced to accept an average 5.8% interest rate on the loans from the EU and IMF. Ireland is a country of 6.2 million people.

By sake of comparison, Haiti, devastated by an earthquake almost 11 months ago and now ravaged by the aftereffects of floods and cholera, is a country of over 10 million people, more than a million of whom have been rendered homeless by disasters.

It isn't the type of thing that running totals are available for, but the most up to date figure seems to be that $15 B, much of it long term, has been pledged to the relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti.

Reportedly, $37,000 has been given to each displaced Haitian family, although it is not readily apparent exactly how many of these cheques have been paid out, or whether it is possible to do much with these cheques .

Any way you line it up, something is not right here: $111 B for Irish bankers, albeit at loanshark terms, vs $15 B of invisible aid for Haiti, where hundreds of thousands of people are living under tarps or tents if they're lucky. While it is discouraging enough to see the Irish middle class being forced into a future of austerity, Irish style "austerity" would be considered a paradise for Haitians.

No doubt that more needs to be done to aid Haiti.

1 comment:

The Mound of Sound said...

The population of the Irish Republic as of July, 2010 is given by the CIA Factbook and other sources as just 4.6-million. I suspect the Wiki figure you've got incorporates the north which isn't part of the meltdown/bailout.

4.6-million, by way of perspective, is significantly smaller than the population of the greater Toronto region.