Tuesday 16 January 2018

The question now is not who to hang, but what to do

Punishment of top bankers is certainly warranted, but economic policy can't be run like a Jerry Springer show, warns Marc Coleman

LAST week topped a rotten few weeks for the taxpayer and a mixed time for the economy. But, believe it or not, it hasn't been such a bad week for Nama. Of course, you wouldn't think anything good was happening, judging by most media coverage of the economy these past few weeks .

Wednesday saw a festival of fury over Anglo Irish Bank. Friday saw a sideshow over alleged insolvency at the Quinn group. But, having risen by 20,000 in March last year, last month's estimated rise of fewer than 1,000 in unemployment is a relief. Having held steady for three months -- at the 13.4 per cent rate at which the Central Bank forecast it to peak -- after two years of relentlessly rising, it looks like the worst is over.

And, although still strong, the rate of annual decline in output continues to ease. In 2009, GDP and GNP settled back to levels slightly above and below, respectively, 2005 levels. If we stop taxing and talking it to death, this is where the economy should stabilise, global recovery permitting.

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