It appears to me that in the face of the economic morass that we find ourselves in, we must take a drastic one-time action if we are to even attempt to pull the country back onto steady economic foot. I propose a list of measures that will reduce the national debt, provide a low cost source of funding to the exchequer, and will safeguard the future of Ireland as a sovereign political entity. The medicine is tough, but the alternative in my eyes is 10, or possibly 20 years of economic stagnation and hardship. I believe there are three areas that we need to focus on to achieve this. 1. Reduce the cost of funding for the Irish State, and by extension, the Irish banking system. 2. Reduce the overall level of national debt. 3. Reduce the level of current exchequer expenditure. Measure 1: Nationalise the private sector pension schemes and place the NPRF under the direct control of the government; then liquidate all existing investments. This will give us a pot of €100 billion worth of low cost funding (we could issue bonds with a coupon payment of say 4%). It would probably put the pension industry out of business, but it would mean that the cost of managing the national pension scheme would be brought down to citizen from 1.5-2% to a fraction of that. Measure 2: Irish banks currently have €300 billion on deposit, with citizens holding accounts for possibly hundreds of billions more that are outside of the state. Assuming the figure is €500 billion, we could institute DIRT of 100%. If you assume an average rate of 2% paid out on deposits, that provides us with €10 billion of revenue every year. Measure 3: Institute capital controls to repatriate deposits from abroad. When the initial bank guarantee was announced in 2008, there was €1 trillion worth of deposits in Irish banks. That figure is now down to just over €300 billion. While much of the money that has left will be corporate, there's no doubt that a decent sized portion of that will belong to Irish citizens. I suggest that measures be taken to force these Irish citizens who moved capital abroad to bring it back. Measure 4: Institute a flat rate property tax. There are roughly 2 million houses in the state. If we take an average value of €200,000 per house, then apply a 1%, we will create revenue of €4 billion every year. A property tax of 0.5% will yield €2 billion per year. Measure 5: Take a Morgan Kelly type scalpel to the public sector. Excluding the banking bailout costs, the exchequer spent €50 billion while only taking in about €30 billion. Scrap all new capital spending (road, hospitals, schools, etc.), tear up Croke Park and institute instant 25% paycuts, cut welfare by 25%, increase medical/hospital related charges or reduce services. Aim to close the deficit to figures in the region of 5% within 2 years. Placate the public by abolishing the useless quangos, the Seanad, ridiculous semi-state/judicial salaries, etc; use an emergency national vote if legislation is required. Measure 6: Sell every semi-state and/or public asset, use the proceeds to pay the down national debt. Colm McCarthy suggested that we would reap a windfall of €10 billion from selling semi-state enterprises. The state also controls other valuable assets such as roads, fiber, land and buildings. All these non-essentials could also be placed on the auction block. We might even be able to squeeze out another €5 billion from this. I don't know if all these measures would be required together in their entirety, but I think it's quite clear that we can take quite a lot of pain to pull through the crisis we're in. Also, these measures would show international investors that we are deadly serious about our intentions to repay our debts and to demonstrate our capacity to repay. I think we could very quickly bring our debt to GDP ratio back below 80%, that would dramatically reduce existing bond rates and give the State an outlet to draw down new funding. Another thing, by going it alone, we would show to the world our strong mindedness in tackling our problems. Reputationally, we would restore some of the confidence that was lost by the initial EU/IMF bailout. Our future as a sovereign nation would also be assured, Europe would have no cards with which to force us to reduce corporation tax for example. Like I said, the medicine is tough, but at least with these proposals, there is actually light at the end of the tunnel. After two years of gut-wrenching pain, our books would be balanced, the level of national debt manageable by a combination of low interest payments, and an overall level of lower capital to pay. The economy would then be able to return to a position of normality and growth. The cleansed banking system could be sold for a profit and austerity capital control/taxation measures could be eased. All we need is a leader who can stand up and win the confidence of the people, some who is far-sighted enough to see that two years of extreme austerity is better than ten years of slightly less austerity and the loss of our fiscal and political autonomy. Thoughts?