Why does nobody disagree with the Fiscal Council's report?

Brendan Burgess

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I heard Séamus Coffey talking about the Fiscal Council's report slamming the government's approach to spending and taxation on Morning Ireland.

Why is it that there is no one from the left arguing for more spending and bigger deficits?

Why is there no economist from the Trade Unions or NERI or TASC arguing the other point of view?

The Fiscal Council will be before the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight Committee at 1.30 today so we might see an alternative viewpoint emerge there.(Committee Room 4)

Brendan
 
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Purple

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Maybe denying reality is becoming more difficult for the Socialist parties, Trade Unions or their media and information outlets (NERI, TACS etc.)
 

Coldwarrior

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Seems everyone agrees with Fiscal's Council's assessments, but the government just continues to ignore them anyway
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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Analysis of public finance policy is hard.

TASC, trade unions and Social Justice Ireland don't have the capacity.

Only the ESRI and (kind of) NERI do.
 

Purple

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Only the ESRI and (kind of) NERI do.
NERI are the Trade Unions.

Arent FG left-wing?
Used to be centre-right, law and order party. Now they are a liberal centrist party but to stay in power they have to also play to the left wing populists and the powerful lobby group that is the public sector unions. That said they have done a commendable job of keeping the lid on wage increases in the State sector, relative to what happened before in the "good times".

I should state that I always considered FG to be centre-right. But if they are increasing spending and running budget deficits, doesn't that resemble left-wing policy?
They have always been a center left populist party, all things to all men type of party.

There are no right wing parties in Ireland, not even centre right.
 

Firefly

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I really believe at this stage, that the only hope for any Irish government to spend within their means requires stricter borrowing limits from the EU. Otherwise this pro-cyclical merry-go-round will continue.
 

WolfeTone

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The Irish government is spending within its means. As it stands, the economy is growing faster than levels of increased spending and borrowing.
As long as Ireland remains on such a strategy it will not be Irish government financial management that will cause/cost a recession.
Government policy, on the hand, may inadvertently trigger hotspots - eg. lack of suitable housing in capital centres.
Of course Ireland is exposed to international factors but there is really nothing little old Ireland can do to circumvent the consequences, positive or negative, of trade wars between US and China, Gulf oil tensions between US and Iran etc...
But we are part of that bigger club now of Europe - in other words, if the global economy goes down, we go down with it.
Other than that, we could drag ourselves down by our own internal policies, which despite the alarmist headlines of the capital spend on the children's hospital and broadband etc...is actually chicken feed in the lifetime of future generations.
 

Purple

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Brendan, I'm surprised at you. Didn't you know that not having a point has never stopped Fergus Finlay from treating us plebs to the outflowing of his superior intellect (and morals). Why would he start, or stop, now?
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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I couldn't get beyond the first paragraph. It's awful.



The Fiscal Council is part of a system of institutional checks and balances.

It is (on purpose) not their job to say what should be taxed and where spending should go. There is no shortage of opinion on that.

They are only supposed to look at the big numbers, and to provide expert, public advice. This is something I know a bit about, and I think they do a very good job.
 

Purple

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I think Fergus is upset that the Fiscal Advisory Council is not ideologically driven, like the Trade Union funded Nevin Research Institute which he references. If only they operated on that higher moral plane occupied by socialists in general and smoked salmon socialists in particular.

I read his book Snakes and Ladders, which he wrote about his time as a special advisor to Dick Spring. What I learned was that the very few mistakes Dick made while in office were as a result of not following Fergus's advice. Whatever else can be said about Fergus he doesn't suffer from low self esteem.
 

Purple

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Luckily this didn't come to pass...
In fairness when it comes to bombast and pomposity Fergus is not in the same league as Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micky D, but then again who is?

I think Fergus Finlay is a very well meaning person who cares deeply about the people of this country. He just suffers from that awful disease called moral certainty.
 

WolfeTone

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Johnathan Mills, economist - I think he writes in the Irish Times, is also critical of the Fiscal Advisory Council.

His views were that increases in government spending should derive primarily from the rate of growth in the population, and that the tax take should be a secondary consideration as it is effectively artificial and easily manipulated. I don't have the clip to hand so I am in danger of misconstruing what he said - but his point about correlating spending increases with population growth (which I understand is growing fast) made a great deal of sense.
 

Brendan Burgess

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I have searched for him and I can't find him anywhere, never mind any comments on the Fiscal Advisor Council.

It makes sense only in an abstract sense.

It makes no sense in a country which has huge borrowing, artificially high tax receipts, and which is facing into a hard Brexit and a recession.

The IFAC advice which almost every economist agrees with, is that when the economy is roaring ahead, the government should not be fueling it further. When we do go into inevitable recession, we should be in a position to boost the economy with government spending, but we will be forced to do the very opposite.

Brendan
 

Baby boomer

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Fergus Finlay is spectacularly missing the point. The Fiscal Advisory Council is not meant to advise on WHAT the Government should spend money. It's function is to advise on the amount that it is prudent to spend. There are plenty of advocacy groups, special interest groups and representative bodies that will opine on how money should be spent. There'd be no point in the Fiscal Advisory Council becoming another one. It has a different job to do.
 
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