That's capitalism WS 106


Recession is just another word when you are rich. Google bosses, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have just spent €17.6 million on a 60-seater Boeing jet for their “personal use”. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen splashed out €140 million to buy the world’s eighth largest yacht. It comes with two helicopters, two submarines, eight smaller boats, a basketball court, swimming pool, a crew of 60 and running costs of about €15 million a year.

The Beacon Hospitals group plans to build a 170-bed for-profit hospital in the grounds of the public Beaumont Hospital. It won’t deal with A&E, and any difficult cases will be diverted to the public hospital next door. The state has agreed to this, and to pay at least 30% of Beacon’s building costs. But we are told there is no cash for better public facilities.

Most people in Swaziland live on less than 60c a day. That didn’t stop King Mawati III spending €8.86m on a fleet of BMWs to mark “40 years of independence”.

King Mawati III and Freddie Mac chief executives, Richard Syron and Daniel Mudd, pocketed a $24 million pay-off. How much would they have got if they had turned a profit instead of losing $14 billion in the last year?

Michael Fingleton, chief executive of the Irish Nationwide Building Society, is “concerned” about wage rises going higher than inflation. Of course this “concern” didn’t extend to his 27% rise from €1.8 million to €2.3 million a year.

Mary Harney and Brendan Drumm are the two people most responsible for our hospitals. They claim they have been sparing no effort to give us an excellent service. Why then do they both have private health insurance? When RTE’s Marian Finucane asked them if they had enough confidence in the public healthcare system to let their private insurance lapse, both refused to answer.

Over nine million children died before reaching their fifth birthday last year. Most died as a result of poverty related illnesses. The mortality rate in Western Europe is 6 in every 1,000; in the worst case, Sierra Leone, it is 262 of out every thousand.

While PAYE taxpayers see our money used to bail out the banks, it’s nice to know that it’s having some effect. Bank of Ireland’s Brian Goggins gets €6.75 million in pay and benefits, and Anglo Irish Bank boss David Drumm gets €5.59 million a year. Anglo Irish finance chief William McAteer also picked up €6.4 million for his ‘expertise’.

Other poverty stricken victims of the recession include Irish Ferries’ slavedriver Eamon Rothwell (€7.03 million), IAWS chief Owen Killian (€10.15 million), Elan CEO Kelly Martin (€6.87 million), Smurfit’s Gary McCann (€6.16 million), and Cement Roadstone’s Liam O’Mahoney (€11.8 million). That’s just what they declared as last year’s income.

From Workers Solidarity 106, Nov 2008

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Click on one of the thumbnails for an PDF version of the northern or southern edition of Workers Solidarity 106 which can be printed out on eight A4 pages.