Personal Notes

June 12th, 2012
I looked into the face of “austerity” when I visited Dublin, Ireland last weekend.  What a change from my last visit 7 years ago.  7 years ago, my daughters and I visited the tallest building in Dublin, the Guinness brewery.  I recall looking out upon the Dublin skyline and remarking to my daughter, “I have never seen as many construction cranes at one time in any city in my life”.  And, in last week’s visit to Dublin, I noted no, none, zero construction cranes.  Instead I noted a number vacant or half filled office buildings, wide-spread graffiti, and many young people standing in groups on the streets.  Ireland is suffering from a terrible real estate bubble, a bailout of its banking system, and high unemployment.  I cannot help but fear that the future of United States could hold the same fate IF the U.S. does not change its overspending, huge deficits, and chronic unemployment.  
There is a silver lining to the Ireland malaise.  Ireland voted on May 31 to tighten their belts, stay in the Euro, and work through their current problem instead of following a course of action which may have ended in Ireland exiting the European Union.  Ireland has a tough row to hoe, but they have developed a framework to do so – given enough time, I am confident they will succeed.

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