Wednesday 20 September 2017

Stephen Kinsella: We need investment, but we don't need more people digging up roads

SOMEWHERE in a darkened room, presumably lying on a pile of money, a man is laughing his head off. This genius, this Don Draper-level marketing guru, is the man who invented the phrase "shovel ready".

A shovel-ready project is a large, capital-intensive project that is ready to go, so ready to go in fact that there are lads sitting around, shovels in hand, just waiting for the cash to kick on with the job. The only thing the Minister for Finance needs to do is to push the "money on" button, and all the shovel-holding lads will begin digging immediately.

Austerity is a bad idea, and results in unnecessarily harmful policies for large sections of the populace. The Government has finally realised this, perhaps because of mid-term poll slumps, and has decided to wind up the National Pension Reserve Fund and funnel the remaining €6.4bn into a Strategic Investment Fund for broadband, water, energy and other projects. They will also spend up to €750m on shovel-ready construction projects to be announced in October's Budget. These are two very good ideas.

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