The last of the ‘tough’ budgets? December 17, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
Those of us who read the front page article on the SBP (and the Sunday Independent) this weekend will have been treated to the proposition that ‘One more tough budget left, then austerity ends’. And the text was unequivocal.
Another tough budget will be needed to fix the public finances – but economic growth will then take over to allow EU debt and deficit targets to be reached, according to the government’s post-bailout economic plan.
And it’s all 3% growth rates and stimulating the construction industry and so on and so forth. And very exciting it all sounds.
The phrase ‘optimism in government circles’ over the plan is used. And why not?
And yet, doesn’t that sit oddly with the following from the Irish Times from a mere two and a half months ago or so, when according to one E. Gilmore, who is Tánaiste of this state:
“This [Budget 2014] is the last of the difficult budgets. This achieves about 95 per cent of the total adjustment which is required to meet our targets. We have provided in this budget for a deficit target of 4.8 per cent which gets us much closer to the 3 per cent which is what we have to achieve by 2015.”
That was pretty unequivocal too.
But if correctly quoted, and who could doubt the IT, surely the government should be pessimistic because it’s predictions from October have been set back by another year? And it raises the question, do they mean ‘last’ of the ‘austerity’ budgets in the way most of us would understand the term ‘last’ or in this new definition where what is actually meant – or so it would appear – is that it is the penultimate budget.
So therefore, if they’re saying Budget 2015 is the last of the tough budgets then they really mean Budget 2016. Or is it 2017… or…