What the Dickens
• The fiscal treaty reminds me of Charles Dickens's novel 'David Copperfield'.
In that novel, we meet a character, Mr Micawber, and he gives us the Micawber Law for life.
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
There is no way, long-term, that you can spend more than you earn. If you borrow for consumption, then long-term your disposable income declines, as you have to service an increasing debt and increasing poverty results.
If you borrow wisely and invest in productive assets that increase your earning power, then you can service the debt with the extra profits and have some profits to increase your disposable income. The dictates of common sense mean we must abide by these economic facts, whether we vote for this treaty or not.
If we don't vote for this treaty, then no one will lend us money, and cash out must balance cash in -- we cannot spend more than we earn.
It is not austerity as much as the art of the possible. Demand is need, backed by money.
Oldfield, Co Limerick
• I find the Sinn Fein stance on the EU fiscal compact treaty rather confusing.
In December 2010, the party voted in the Dail against the bailout, with Mary Lou McDonald on record as stating that the EU and IMF were "behaving like loan sharks". The party is now arguing for a No vote in the forthcoming referendum.
Gerry Adams stated in the National Gallery this week that, were the treaty to be rejected, there was "no way" the EU would deny us access to new funds from "current sources".
I suggest that the next logical step is for people to vote Yes, to make certain that the troika is not in a position to disappoint Sinn Fein.
Harold's Cross, Dublin 6W
• Do the unions and the Nos to everything in this country honestly believe they will have less austerity and a less painful recession because they are voting against the fiscal treaty?
Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim