We've shown yet again how we can waste a good crisis
With all the noise, spin, political point-scoring and special interest lobbying over the past 24 hours, it is difficult to assess where exactly this Budget is taking the economy and, more significantly, what is the overall game plan.
In terms of the latter, Michael Noonan said: "One of the primary tasks of this Budget is to lay down the conditions for a successful exit from the bailout programme at the end of this year . . . We are well on course to do this."
But we are well on course to do what exactly? Over the past four years, economic policy has been reduced to targeting the budget deficit as a percentage of national income. This can be achieved by either raising the growth rate or by reducing expenditure and raising taxes.