Back in 2010, Brad Reed wrote about the Irish bank bailout for C&L.
In exchange for a loan of up to €90 billion from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Ireland will have to implement further austerity measures that involve raising taxes and cutting services. And whose services are getting cut, you're wondering?
Yeah, I'll bet I don't have to answer that one, do I?
Now interesting information has come to light about who benefited from the bailout of those Irish banks. Since we've established it wasn't the people of Ireland, who could it be? That's right, it's Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation! Corporate education reform and all sorts of "benevolent goodies," brought to you by the guy who didn't take nearly the same hit that everyone else did during that recession.
The world's second-richest man, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, was a major Irish bank bondholder ahead of the financial collapse that saw the taxpayer put on the hook for the €64bn bank bailout.
Gates was a bondholder in Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Nationwide Building Society, Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank, according to filings seen by the Sunday Independent. The filings detail investments held by Gates' Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The identities of wealthy bondholders in the Irish banks, bailed out in most cases by Irish citizens, have never been revealed fully. Billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich emerged as a bondholder in Irish Nationwide after his investment vehicle Millhouse was involved in a UK lawsuit in which it tried to extract full payment for its bonds in the building society as part of a tender offer. Abramovich and his partners lost, but many other bondholders were repaid in full despite backing bust banks. German and French banks were the largest holders of Irish bank bonds.
Pressure from the ECB and US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Ireland not to burn senior bondholders saw those French and German banks repaid when the Irish banks hit the skids. Some junior bondholders were burnt.
Wasn't that nice of Tim Geithner to make sure our billionaires didn't suffer?
The cost to Ireland for that gesture is at least two more years of austerity measures before they're eased in 2016. These measures, forced on them by the European Union and IMF, actually do harm to Ireland's prospects for economic growth, but when has that stopped the billionaires and oligarchs? After all, 14.3 percent unemployment could be worse, right? Poor and young people have suffered the most, as with all countries where billionaires are served ahead of ordinary folks, and immigration from Ireland to other countries with health care and better social programs has nearly doubled. (Report -- PDF)
But hey, there's a silver lining for Ireland. Microsoft Ireland's earnings are on the rise! Isn't that great? Maybe not. We are seeing an unprecedented rise in corporate profits at the same time that the middle class is disappearing. That's not coincidence.
The math goes like this: Bank bailouts = billionaires made whole at the expense of working people. Corporate profit increases = billionaires made richer at the expense of working people.
The next time you hear something about the Gates Foundation's benevolence, remember that math.
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