Tuesday 17 October 2017

Dan O'Brien: Signs suggest reform will be slower now troika's gone

Dan O'Brien: 'If consumers and business believe that the squeeze is coming to an end, they may spend and invest more'
Dan O'Brien: 'If consumers and business believe that the squeeze is coming to an end, they may spend and invest more'
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

Restore the State's solvency and spur economic growth to a decent clip -- these are the Government's two broad objectives for the remainder of its term in office. With the coalition partners wielding more control over policy choices since the end of the bailout, yesterday's 'Medium-Term Economic Strategy 2014-2020' was designed to show how those objectives will be met and fill a void in the policy-setting agenda left by the departure of the troika.

If the plan has two broad objectives, it might have had -- and perhaps should have had -- three distinct audiences: voters at home; those who have been lending to the State over the past three years; and the international financiers who, it is hoped, will hand over lots of cash in exchange for the State's newly printed IOUs in the years to come.

But it is clear that only one audience was being addressed yesterday. The medium-term plan was aimed at giving a fillip to consumers and businesses at home in an effort to add to the gathering momentum in the economy. There is little in it that will reassure the now-departed technocrats in Brussels and Washington and even less that will be of interest to international financiers.

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