"The next bust is on its way but nobody is shouting stop"

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
38,532
A good article by Shane Coleman in today's Times Ireland (subscription required)

The next bust is on its way but nobody is shouting stop

All the mistakes and failings of the Celtic Tiger and previous booms have returned. Nobody on either side of the Dáil seems to have noticed or to care. On the contrary, they appear determined to keep outbidding each other with populist politics.


We are destined to maintain our boom-bust-boom-bust cycle. At its core lies the perverse correlation between politics and economics in this state. Irish politics is at its best at times of crisis when all economic hope seems lost. Unfortunately it is at its worst when things are good, losing all semblance of backbone and pandering to every vested interest for electoral gain.

...
With the return of the good times, there seems to have been a wiping of the collective memory as to how we got into the horrendous mess in the first place. We’re back spending money we’re not sure we’ll have in a few years. During the Celtic Tiger we did this with stamp duty from property sales. This time it’s inflated corporate tax receipts. All difficult decisions have been shelved.
 

AlbacoreA

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,265
While we certainly have problems it's definitely not the same as Celtic Tiger. May have similar problems and outcomes eventually but the cause and effect is different.

We are invested heavily with outside money and workforce. Our services especially health can't cope. Our housing can't cope. Govt does nothing except encourage it.

What happens when the outside money pulls out or sells out.
 

Palerider

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,438
I completely agree with the piece, a look at traffic on the roads confirms , they are jammed with vehicles of all sizes, I travel the N7 at various times of day and it is incredibly busy, advance orders of the likes of the Camry ( €40k ) and Tesla 3 ( starts at €49k ish) suggest we are out there happy to spend or finance.

Cash buyers snapping up houses, large funds snapping up apartment to let projects, money no object.

Depositors getting nothing.

Fundamentals like Health suffering from poor governance from the children's hospital cost debacle to long waiting lists for the ordinary Joe.

The black economy is thriving, receipts are hard to come by, you have to request a receipt, followed by a long face, tradesmen charging what they want to, I'm culpable, I like cash work done on my house but that cash work is not there now, the handyman now considers cash work to be the same as vat included....if you can find a tradesman.

When a pint costs almost €8 in parts of Dublin it's hard not to wonder where we are going, for €8 I'd want it from a golden chalice and served in a pub where Billy Joel is the resident piano man.
 

cremeegg

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,067
Things are going well so the next bust must be on the way.

Well unless the current expansion lasts forever I suppose the next "bust" must be on the way.

The government response to the current expansion is nothing like the government response to the previous boom.

In housing the last time we borrowed hugely and built lots of houses. Now borrowing is restricted and not enough houses are being built. I know which response I think was better.

We spent tax money in the previous boom on increasing public service pay. We are spending it today on capital projects. Wether we are getting value for money is a separate question. But a less important one. Was rural electrification value for money ? The issue with rural broadband is not do we need it, we do. Its not even how much it will cost, what did rural electrification cost, (its irrelevant), I am slightly concerned about who will own it and more concerned that it may become obsolete rapidly. Will 5G make a nonsense of fibre networks just as they come online in rural areas.
 

Folsom

Frequent Poster
Messages
189
I agree with the general sentiment of the article (or the snippets that I have been able to read), but I do think its observations are somewhat flawed.
I think it is naive to consider the political system and the economic system as a 'perverse correlation', the two are intrinsically intertwined.
I also think commentators would be well minded to cast their eyes abroad and observe the political upheaval occurring over the last decade. Be it Trump or Brexit, Yellow Vests or the rise of far-right groupings, be it Catalonia or Scottish Independence, Ukrainian civil war, Russian annexation, or perpetual regime change wars by the US in Venezuela, Africa and Middle East.

Since the international economic credit crunch crash in 2008, and 9/11 before that, the global political, economic and social order, is being slowly pulled apart.

For us, the FG/FF supply and confidence has kept the political system on life-support. But it is all window dressing and a great deal of riding the wave as long as possible.

I do think Ireland is somewhat between a rock and a hard place. The monetary system is being artificially pumped up by the ECB in order to keep it ticking over. Do we try to exploit it and try to grow the economy out of debt and hope the system doesn't deflate beforehand leaving us caught truly with our pants down?
Or do we impose rigid fiscal discipline once again and watch as the whole political patchwork job we have in place splinters into a thousand pieces?
 
Last edited:

noproblem

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,859
In fairness the piece of journalism is very simply looking back at what went wrong before the Celtic Tiger bolted, pick out the obvious headline markers and all that, but there's as much good going on in Ireland as there is wrong. Coleman makes headlines by doing a David McWilliams on it, ie, it might go belly up, but it might not either. You wouldn't need to be any genius in journalistic terms, or economics, to write it.
 

pauric

Frequent Poster
Messages
64
I am slightly concerned about who will own it and more concerned that it may become obsolete rapidly. Will 5G make a nonsense of fibre networks just as they come online in rural areas.
The issue about who owns it is potentially a valid one.

However the technical solution is the very best that is out there and won't become obsolete in the next 25 to 30 years as once you have the hard and expensive part of laying fibre in the ground and stringing on the poles to upgrade that in the future is just a matter of swapping the optics at the end of the fibre which means a new modem for the customer and an upgraded piece of equipment in the exchange.

In all the years you have had broadband how many modems or routers have you gone through as technology advances, they are very cheap items and easily replaced.

To future proof to best of our capability today our Internet needs to run over fibre and and not over the air.

5G on the other hand is just another iteration of a wireless technology where previous generations have been commercially deployed for broadband schemes in Ireland and failed after a few years. We need to do this rollout right and fibre is the only way of doing that.

The amount of available spectrum on fibre compared to wireless spectrum is order of magnitudes greater and is in general not influcenced by poor weather such as rain or snow.

Other problems such as building new masts in rural areas will also be a huge problem as nobody wants them in their area and they will be a must to deploy a 5G radio network.

At this stage the government needs to just get on with it and start the rollout, perhaps it is more expensive than it should be but there are no other credible options so let's get started as the country badly needs it and if we wait there may be no money left as we could well be already on the road to bust at that stage.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

Frequent Poster
Messages
870
This all depends on where the economy is with regard to its potential.

I don't think Coleman has a view on this, and I doubt he even has its conceptual framework.

Some claimed economy was due for a crash in 2000, some said it 2007. They weren't both right.

The more useful questions (and my suggested answers) below:
  1. Is there room for manouevre (a few years of deficits) if there is a downturn? Probably, but a surplus of 1%-2% right now would be better than a balance.
  2. Is the tax base sustainable? The tech sector, and corporate profitability in general, are in a good place right now. It's not clear that corporation tax revenues will be there medium term.
  3. Is the public spending mix right? Policy since spending started growing again in2014 has been to prioritise current spending over capital. This is changing, but is vulnerable to a downturn when capital would be the first to be cut.
 

Folsom

Frequent Poster
Messages
189
Is there room for manouevre (a few years of deficits) if there is a downturn? Probably, but a surplus of 1%-2% right now would be better than a balance.
I agree in general terms that a surplus would be better, presumably to pay down debt? But the problem is where do you extract the surplus from?
Politically it is a quagmire. Economically, would running a surplus have significant effect on our levels of debt?
I would be more minded to run balanced budgets or small deficits insofar as growth continues to exceed the rate of increasing debt.

Is the tax base sustainable? The tech sector, and corporate profitability in general, are in a good place right now. It's not clear that corporation tax revenues will be there medium term.
I take it from that that you consider it unsustainable. If that is the case, I would agree. The question is, where to find alternative sustainable tax streams to compensate for any diminishing of current tax streams?
 

Gordon Gekko

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,700
To be fair, global multinationals paying taxes on their profits is a world away from transactional property stuff.

Pessimism sells, but the reality is that Ireland Inc is in rude health.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

Frequent Poster
Messages
870
To be fair, global multinationals paying taxes on their profits is a world away from transactional property stuff.
Yes and no. Revenues have really soared since 2014 when a few companies (this is all anecdote) decided to register IP in Ireland.

Corporation Tax is forecast to be €10bn next year, it was €4bn in 2010.

It's fair to wonder about the sustainability of any revenue item that grows 150% in ten years.
 

cremeegg

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,067
Corporation Tax is forecast to be €10bn next year, it was €4bn in 2010.

It's fair to wonder about the sustainability of any revenue item that grows 150% in ten years.
The number of people at work in Ireland has grown nearly 20% in the last 6 years. So a 150% growth in CT is not as out of line as you might think, nor entirely due to IP accounting tricks.
 

Gordon Gekko

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,700
Also, things like the Double Irish are falling away.

Some people are just naturally bearish; the reality is that due to a wide variety of factors, Brexit included, we are becoming even more of an aircraft carrier for countries to access Europe.

Rather than built on clay, our economy is now built on real things.
 

Folsom

Frequent Poster
Messages
189
The Irish economy is certainly purring away nicely. But is Irish society benefiting accordingly? I would suggest that it is not.
Aside from the headlines of homelessness, there is an underlying personal debt issue that is hanging on a large sector of Irish people.
There is a significant glut of people who bought from 2005-2008 on the promise of a 'starter home' who are now half way through repayments but no hope of aspiring to the 'finisher home'.
Others bought into the promise of commuter midland homes only to be caught in daily grind of travel fatigue.
Families are being deferred, wages still relatively subdued, immigration is required to sustain and grow population.

I think people are rightly concerned of an economic downturn of any significant scale. It will be a tipping point for many. That is why I think exploiting cheap money now for capital infrastructure that will serve us well into the future is far better than trying to batton down hatches now.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

Frequent Poster
Messages
870
Also, things like the Double Irish are falling away.

Some people are just naturally bearish; the reality is that due to a wide variety of factors, Brexit included, we are becoming even more of an aircraft carrier for countries to access Europe.

Rather than built on clay, our economy is now built on real things.
Which of the following taxes has the most potential to fall 20% (absent policy change) in the next five years:
  1. PRSI
  2. LPT
  3. VAT
  4. Corporation tax
  5. Income tax
When you've picked your answer, tell me what the best policy response is.
 

Gordon Gekko

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,700
Which of the following taxes has the most potential to fall 20% (absent policy change) in the next five years:
  1. PRSI
  2. LPT
  3. VAT
  4. Corporation tax
  5. Income tax
When you've picked your answer, tell me what the best policy response is.
VAT I’d say. Cut it or launch a stimulus programme.
 

PMU

Frequent Poster
Messages
967
The correction is more likely to come in the form of inflation.
Why? EU inflation was 1.4% to end of March (estimated to increase to 1.7% by end of April) https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/9760508/2-03052019-AP-EN.pdf/dbcc52b0-a975-4da5-a3c2-8f7eb892b802, i.e. below the ECB target of 2%. The ECB isn't printing money https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/stats/md/html/ecb.md1903~3484303072.en.html. So where will this correction in the form of inflation come from?
 

joe sod

Frequent Poster
Messages
724
The correction is more likely to come in the form of inflation.
yes correct, thats the big danger for the global economy, interest rates at historic lows , over indebted governments addicted to the cheap money and borrowing, ireland will not be able to borrow its way out of the next crises because we already have over 200 billion in debt. The oil price is rising, the supply is very tight with sanctions on iranian and venezualan oil .
A small rise in interest rates will cause carnage, the euro will come under real pressure then, maybe italy and greece will crash out bringing the whole thing down
 

noproblem

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,859
A small rise in interest rates will cause carnage
Every now and then we hear this comment, it's an absolute load of codswallop. I'd love to hear the facts of why this might be so, in fact any iota of it being a cause of carnage?
 

Gordon Gekko

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,700
The authorities WANT inflation because that’s what will deal with the debt.

Take the Anglo promissory note as a microcosm; inflation at around the 2% level will make that far more manageable in 2038.
 
Top