Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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To save the Euro, end the right to borrow?

Posted by Jason O on Feb 11, 2010 in European Union

The Euro: Worth saving.

The Euro: Worth saving.

Eurosceptics are right about one thing, and that is that maintaining a currency union without a central treasury is leaving a crucial control open to abuse. It’s like putting an extra accelerator on the outside of the car, where the driver can’t reach it. If the Euro is worth saving, and I believe it is, then we need to ensure its credibility, and that means stopping member states from being reckless. The easiest way to do that is to bar member states, by law, from borrowing, and instead only having borrowing done at EU level. This will remove a key ability of a reckless member state to thrash the currency.

Now, don’t get me wrong: This is a massive ceding of national sovereignty, and the effective beginning of a United States of Europe. Some countries will not want to do this, and indeed, I suspect that some countries, like Ireland, would be politically unable to do this, and so would have to consider the unthinkable, leaving the Euro. That’s why such a decision would have to be ratified by national referendums. But either way, the Euro’s stability needs stable, well-run countries, and this is the tough love way of getting those countries.     

 
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Time to tax US political donations?

Posted by Jason O on Feb 11, 2010 in US Politics

Oh, say can you see, the senator I pay top dollar for?

Oh, say can you see, the senator I pay top dollar for?

The recent decision of the US Supreme Court to remove bans on corporate donations is just plain obscene. It’s daft. It gives corporations and trades unions the rights of individual citizens, which is just plain odd, but what is most offensive is this bizarre association of money with free speech. In other words, the more money you have, the more free speech you have? What?

As if there isn’t enough on the president’s plate, this needs to be fixed. Until such a time as he can get a moderate majority back onto the court, which is going to be damn hard considering the conservative judges are younger (although conservatives tend to eat more red meat, don’t they? I’m just saying!) than the liberals, maybe a constitutional amendment has to be looked at? Could he get it through the state legislatures? Interestingly, how do independent voters feel about the issue? Could it be a way of bringing them back into the Obama camp?

In the meantime, how do we deal with the new right of big business to buy themselves congressmen? How about a tax on political donations, rising with the size of donations? The money raised could be used to fund candidates who don’t take large donations, of all parties. If anything, it would discourage election spending, which is surely no bad thing.  

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