At least this will be a Budget for the people, unlike Kwasi Kwarteng’s farcical UK mini-budget that sent the markets into a tailspin last week.
The predictions are that Britain will run out of money as a result, because financiers will not fancy funding their borrowing on current account.
Ireland is in a much better and more stable position, not least as a result of it being a steady member of the EU and the single currency adopted by most member states.
But the same Kwasi-style questions arise – can Ireland sustain this level of commitment to the whole community (not just to the rich, as the British package seems tailored) into the longer term?
Much will depend on the fires of inflation, which the Department of Finance badly misjudged last year.
Inflation had reached 8pc before the end of 2021, even if the Russian invasion of Ukraine has kept its wrecking effects at the highest level in 40 years, thus disguising that failing.
But as with last year, the innate belief on Merrion Street is that inflation can be prevented from rising to even more dangerous levels and could be tamed in the medium term, meaning a few further years.
But that depends on outside events in the wider world, or what the mandarins in the department are prone to place under the general heading of “downside risk”.
The Budget’s defensive firepower is focused on once-off measures, with a view to fighting the acute energy crisis without building in an ongoing commitment that would add to inflation, not help to contain it. But there is also a view among some economists that all extra State spending tends towards price-push inflation, in and of itself.
The political framers of the figures for 2023 know there is already a huge slice of the cake going towards the floating-up cost of standing still. This is called “ELS”, or the naturally occurring higher cost each year of providing for the Existing Level of Services.
Here, that wallet will also take in the increased cost of the public sector paybill under the deal recently agreed with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
But the proposed increase in the ceiling before all income taxpayers hit the level of 40pc State take on their income – which is a major concession to the broad mass of workers – will have to be “baked in” to future budgets. It is thus a heavy ongoing cost. At one level, it adds to the risk in balancing the books.
So while today’s moves will undoubtedly stave off the worst, the question is for how long? The State is also operating against a background where it has been warned that the engine for much of its surplus – a handful of giant corporations headquartered here – cannot be relied upon as a sustainable source into the longer term.
But for now the huge cash giveaway towards cushioning the worst effects of the sudden cost-of-living crisis will be widely and warmly welcomed.
The amount involved – €10bn – makes it the biggest giveaway, and never more needed. Yes, Charlie McCreevy presided over huge jumps to weekly pension and welfare payments such as Child Benefit, even augmenting savings through the SSIA scheme, but that was at a time when the country had never had it so good.
The success of the pandemic measures have pointed us to this package today. Yet the front-loading of all this spare finance begs the ultimate question: if the Ukraine crisis persists, or worsens, what do we do in 2023 and the years after?