Saturday 24 February 2018

Plugging the black hole

WITH so many billions flying in all directions, it is almost impossible for the ordinary person to get any sense of how much trouble the country is really in. This uncertainty creates fear, and also despair. Both are the enemy of action, which is why the uncertainty must be dispelled as soon as possible.

The figures produced by the National Treasury Management Agency yesterday certainly look frightening. The interest payments on the burgeoning national debt reached almost €5bn last year.

This figure -- the amount which taxpayers must find -- is a better measure of the burden than the €93bn actual debt. That sounds an impossible amount, but solvent countries do not have to repay their debts. If they can comfortably pay the interest, they can replace old loans with new ones.

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