Brendan Keenan: However you look at it, there's not much in it for Christmas
The fear factor will shape the Budget -- but which scares the Coalition more: a disapproving troika or angry public?
THE cry goes up: "What will it mean for the next Budget?" This urgent question is the response to almost every development these days, whether it be an EU summit, a spot of borrowing on the bond markets, or a cut in ECB interest rates.
The answer in all three cases is the same -- not a lot. Or even nothing at all. This lack of obvious benefit has caused great distress among commentators and public representatives -- and even more distress among government ministers desperate to be seen as the bearers of good news.
Michael Noonan had to battle hard to spread any joy from the EU summit agreement on bank funding. Ruairi Quinn was unable to get much mileage from the fact that the State had to pay "only" 1.8 per cent annual interest to borrow money for three months at last Thursday's bond auction by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).