Government trying to reinvent Economic History

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Government Ministers over the last fortnight have been trying to rewrite economic history. Included in this rhetoric is repeated (wrong) assertion that we were in favour of abolishing stamp duty, and that we wanted more government spending.  The quotes below from Richard Bruton’s responses to budget debates in the years between 2004 and 2009 highlight our approach to the budget and national finances.  

“There is a worrying complacency in Government about our enterprise sector.  In the last four years, employment in the exposed sector of our economy has been in decline. The rate of job loss has been more than double the rate of the mid nineties, continuous job growth has depended on the sheltered sectors of the economy, most noticeably the building and construction sector…Dramatic acceleration in the growth of public service employment and payroll costs, have forced up taxation meanwhile, the average price of exporters since May 2002 has fallen by 15%. .. It is not enough to live off past successes and ignore the emerging challenges.”

Budget 2005 (1st December 2004)

“The core of this budget should have concentrated on these real challenges.
        Reform to deliver real improvements at the front line in public services
        Improving the competitiveness of businesses trying to survive in tough external markets
        Confronting rip off at its source
        Eliminating gross waste in public spending
But these have not been the subject of today’s budget.”           Budget 2006 (7th December 2005)

“This is the latest in a series of budgets whose pattern was set by the huge spending spree… 
Government spending has grown 50% faster than the rate of growth in national income. Government has doubled its dependence on a construction boom which now contributes 25% of its revenue.
These, of course, are patterns which cannot be sustained. You cannot build indefinite spending growth on the back of a building boom no more than you can build long-term economic prosperity on the back of a building boom.” Budget 2007 (5th December 2006)

“We are past the time for a wake-up call. The alarm bells are ringing…We trail every league in service delivery. We witness bureaucratic madness, screwing up delivery in vital areas like health…. The Minister talks smugly of a timely housing correction…The government presides over a dysfunctional housing market…Change in the way taxpayers’ money is spent is already long overdue.” Budget 2008 (5th December 2007)

“If ever there was proof that this Government was not capable of leading the country out of this recession, then today's Budget is final proof. No plan for jobs, the wrong balance on tax increases and spending cuts and a dangerous bailout plan for property speculators and banks confirms that this Government is hopelessly out of its depth in dealing with the economic crisis that they caused.” Emergency Budget 2009 (7th April 2009)

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