BREXIT aside, the most important economic question is whether the public finances are in danger. It may be even more important than the B-word because, if we are not in safe territory, a disorderly UK departure would create an even bigger mess for the Irish economy than current forecasts suggest.
That's the easy bit out of the way - probably. If you thought the three years to agree a withdrawal deal for the UK's departure from the EU were awful, just wait to see what's coming next. That's making the more than heroic assumption that, whether before or after an election, the current deal will go through Westminster sufficiently unchanged not to need another EU summit. I make the assumption partly on the grounds of saving my sanity, but also because it is now the probable outcome.
The semi official international forecasters, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the OECD, received a deal of flack for not spotting the great recession coming in 2008. Even Britain's queen Elizabeth said as much to one of their representatives at a formal event. The lesson to draw is not to ignore their prognostications, but to read them carefully. Apart from the fact that they are creations of government, there is no science for forecasting when recessions will arrive - even though they appear to be an inevitable part of economic life.
Courtesy of the folk at the Newstalk radio station, I recently had the pleasure of reprising the 1982 Budget. Well, one of the 1982 Budgets. There were three that year. Something of the kind may need to happen again, but for quite different reasons from 37 years ago. Back then, the economy was much more like that of 2009, rather than 2019. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, neither of whom could get a majority despite three elections, were locked in a bitter struggle where no quarter was asked or given.