Central Bank: every banker knows that higher volumes of lending risks lower quality – the chance of loans not being repaid. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

As loan profitability declined, banks just made more loans – the usual checks and balances disappeared

Apples and oranges: the comparison with “US poverty levels” is risible; one economy is at full employment, the other is not even close. Photograph: Thinkstock

Further taxing Ireland’s diminutive 1 per cent won’t deliver equality; full employment will

According to Revenue, there will be 129,919 people earning over €100,000 this year.  Photograph: Joe St Leger

A key part of Sinn Féin’s plans is to raise taxes on people earning over €100,000

The smart money is clearly on a negotiated settlement, but only after a good bit of sabre-rattling. Photograph: Getty Images

Stakes could not be higher for crunch EU talks – but common ground appears elusive

US president Barack Obama thinks Americans should start to pay death duties. Republicans in control of Congress are apoplectic. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Politicians and commentators who persist in calling for the introduction of wealth taxes are being disingenuous

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. ‘Draghi may be like Napoleon’s favourite general: lucky.’ Photograph: Michael Probst/AP Photo

Amid the bond-buying the furore, the release of key economic data was ignored

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper: few of his incremental reforms can be described as radical but taken together, over several years, they have amounted to an astonishingly successful centre-right revolution. Photograph: Ben Nelms/Reuters

‘Reboot Ireland’ must think that significant chunks of the Irish political spectrum are perhaps business-hostile

Someone has to pay for pensions. For the public sector and the State pension that someone is the taxpayer

Pension promises cannot be honoured when the ratio of pensioners to workers explodes

 Tokyo, Japan: the country’s recent success can be partly ascribed to the dramatic policy shifts implemented over the past few years

Japan is growing its GDP per head at levels approaching 2% a year but Europe’s GDP per head is still falling

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