Friday 24 February 2017

Brendan Keenan: It's 2000 and the economy already appears to be growing too fast

Been there, and now we are picking up the pieces

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

The past three columns in this series looked at the start of each decade since 1970, with the benefit of knowing what actually happened. This one really was written in July 2000. The old problems are again to the fore, as irreconcilable as ever. There was no hint at all -- quite the reverse -- that the country was about to embark on the credit and spending splurge of all time. The economy seemed over-stretched already. Let's hope current predictions for the coming decade prove equally wide of the mark.

THERE are few words more irritating than 'I told you so' and few that are harder to resist saying. Well, we told you so. This newspaper, this columnist, and others, warned that the current national wage agreement was unsuited to the conditions of Ireland in 2000. What few of us expected was that we would be proved right almost before the ink had dried.

We concluded that the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) was virtually the exact opposite of what was required. It repeated the old formula of moderate (sort of) wage rises paid across the board at national level, along with tax cuts that enhanced take-home pay.

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