The bond markets say there is no alternative. In a falsetto voice, they, the walking, talking bond markets, declare that we are where we are. We must remain focused on the job at hand now that we have taken the tough decisions.
We have turned a corner. We are all in this together. Everybody must pull on the green jersey and share the pain. But above all, be aware of this pertinent fact: there is no recession in bullshit.
It's bad enough that our standards of living are being put through the ringer, but really, must we suffer the strangulation of public discourse that is being effected daily?
The BS comes in many forms. Clichés are major offenders, but there are also statements and slogans that sound like they have arrived directly from Mars.
Clichés have attended this recession like undertakers. They are trotted out by all manner of politicians, lobbyists, talking heads, broadcasters and economists.
The most favoured one is "sharing the pain". There should be an award for a broadcast programme that manages to get through its discourse without anybody using the phrase "sharing the pain".
If we're not sharing the pain, we're taking the pain, or inflicting the pain. What is this obsession with pain? Is there a sado-masochistic element to the recession?
The worst offenders for clichés are those who are defending the government. The suspicion must be that deep in the heart of Government Buildings, where spin is devised and disseminated, there is a dark room set up to accommodate the induction of public representatives. Therein, a spinner – most likely a former journalist – puts the politicians through his or her clichés.
"Say after me: 'it's time to pull on the green jersey'. This is a particularly effective one because it really puts it up to the Blueshirts."
"He's somebody who always wears the green jersey," Dermot Ahern told Matt Cooper recently, referring to Peter Sutherland, a banker who was once a Blueshirt and a rugby player, but never pulled on the Irish jersey.
And on it goes. Beyond the clichés lie slogans which are fomenting into clichés in the current crisis. "There is no alternative" is a favoured one. Keep repeating it until it burns into the public consciousness.
"There is simply no alternative that meets the bank's unavoidable obligations," Brian Lenihan told the House last March about the Anglo bailout.
Before long, the few citizens who still frequent public houses will be leaning across their high stools and intervening in any discussion about the state we're in. "There is no alternative," the sage will declare, closing down that avenue of conversation and returning to more exciting topics like football, or ballet dancing.
The coming budget will not be slashing the life out of the economy, but will instead be concerned with an "adjustment".
"The government has decided that an overall budgetary adjustment of €15bn over the next four years is warranted," Brian Cowen said 10 days ago.
There is method to this madness. The objective is to bore all viewers and listeners into tuning out and turning off. As a form of propaganda it is probably more effective than anything tried by North Korea's Kim Il Sung.
Then, if all else fails, revert to Plan B, which is to send for Willie O'Dea. Cometh the hour, cometh the superlative BS man. Last Tuesday, Willie was at it again, on TV3's Tonight with Vincent Browne. He refuses to soil his vernacular by resorting to tired clichés, so instead he just talks over anybody who is in conflict with his view. If it's BS you want, then Willie is your only man. Just don't ask him to swear on it.
The opposition are no slouches when it comes to clichés. Observe Fine Gael's James Reilly attempting to make it through a declaration without inserting the choice phrase, "it beggars belief".
Reilly is his party's spokesman on health, whose belief by now must be beggared into abject poverty.
Then, there is the favoured constituency of all politicians at the moment, "lower- and middle-income earners". This constituency is really the dog's bollocks in political terms, because it includes everybody except the rich, and who is rich these days?
"Will lower- and middle-income earners in the public sector be immune to the paycuts?" Enda Kenny asked Dáil Éireann in October last year.
"We do not agree with the government and Fine Gael consensus that lower- and middle-income earners should shoulder the burden [in the budget]" – Joan Burton told The Week in Politics in October this year.
Who are these people? What about the household where the teacher and the garda pull in €120,000 between them? Are they lower- or middle-income earners or are they in a high-earning household? Or the manager on €100,000 whose husband works in the home. Middle or high, or whatever you're having yourself, or is it just BS?
There are also some choice lines delivered in the last few years that simply, well, beggar belief.
"We have turned a corner," Brian Lenihan declared last December. "Our plan to return this country to prosperity is working."
But even better was one from developer and Sunday Tribune columnist Simon Kelly, who earlier this year berated the haranguing of former Anglo honchos, Seán FitzPatrick and David Drumm.
"I will miss Anglo and it will be missed in the future by the whole economy… So I say to Charlie Bird and the like: get off David's lawn and get out of Seán's front drive. They have lost everything but they still have to live. The bank failed because we all failed." In a time of living dangerously through severe BS, that takes some beating.