It is now crucially important that the Government secure sufficient Dáil support in the December budget to deliver on its 2010/2011 commitment to reduce current and capital spending by €3 billion and €1.75 billion respectively, as well as to raise tax revenue by €4.6 billion. Failure to secure this support would gravely damage our financial credibility.He also goes on to support - reluctantly - some reductions in social welfare:
While I am certainly not happy about that proposal, the alternative of up to €2 billion in cuts in the total cost of health and education means that I cannot rationally reject the need to take some action in relation to social welfare.Again, it is part of the old Dublin Consensus line that 'There Is No Alternative'. It's a zero sum game: if you don't agree to slash A you are, effectively, supporting a slashing of B and/or C. The 'markets' have already ruled out any discretion on borrowing and any increases in taxes must be moderated (even though we continue to tax the very wealthy very lightly).
In the same edition, Noel Whelan ('Lee's economic solutions look unrealistic') suggests a type of clock:
...a “national debt clock” should be erected in Dublin city centre as a means of focusing minds on how rapidly our national debt is rising....Like 'Today we are borrowing €70 million' as the digits keep rising.
Something similar has been suggested by Swedish economist Jens Henricksson.
Yet again, we are served a diet of mild hysteria and tilted ideology. Taking a figure of €50m per day (dividing €18bn net borrowing by 365 days) - approximately €25m of that goes for capital spending. The remaining €25m arises largely from cyclical factors associated with the surge in payments of unemployment benefit. These may be viewed as partial stabilisers.
We don't hear a prominent chorus for a 'national unemployment clock' on our thoroughfares. Neither do we hear calls for a 'tax relief clock' showing an estimate of how much Government is losing in taxes on subsidised private health, pensions for super-earners etc.
Political and union forces on the left need to stand up to this.