Marc Coleman: It's clear a far harder rain's gonna fall on our children
There is nothing wrong with investing in infrastructure, but not by emptying our coffers.
In its plan to boost the economy by investing €6bn in infrastructure, the Government undoubtedly means well. According to the plan, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will target water, school-building, roads, energy and telecoms. In the process, it will create tens of thousands – possibly more than 100,000 – jobs. How sustainable those jobs will be once the money runs out is not yet clear. Nor whether any growth will last beyond the short-term first-round effects. As we're about to spend the only savings we have left, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council will hopefully answer these questions clearly before any money is spent.
In coming up with these plans, the Government was clearly influenced by advice from academia telling us what we need to get the economy going is not tax cuts or cutting spending waste, but lashings of spending and debt.
Now, anyone with any common sense will agree that the last thing someone with a debt problem needs is more debt. But some think they know better. Governments are different, they tell us. Different because, unlike people, they don't have to repay their debts but can "roll them over".