Opinion Shane Coleman

Saturday 27 May 2017

Shane Coleman: The yo-yo approach gets yet another airing on Budget Groundhog Day

Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael Noonan. Photo: Tom Burke
Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael Noonan. Photo: Tom Burke
Finance Minister Michael Noonan Photo: Damien Eagers
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

We pretty much know what's going to be unveiled in the Dáil today. God, do we know. Irish Budget speeches can be broadly divided into two categories: good times speeches and bad times speeches. There's really no in-between.

For the good times (see, for example, 1977-1980 and 1996-2007), it's across-the-board spending increases and tax cuts like there's no tomorrow. For the bad times (eg 1973-76, 1982-1989 and 2008-2014), it's ... well, the reverse: across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases, because without them there may be no tomorrow.

Happily, today's speech falls into the former category (tax cuts and spending increases). But the history of the past 50 years tells us it's only a matter of time before we're back into the latter grouping. Yet, somehow, we never seem to grasp the link between our ongoing boom-and-bust cycle and our yo-yo approach to Budgets.

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