The luck of the Irish: what to do with all the money?
Ireland is set to have a budget surplus of around ten billion euros this year, according to Finance Minister Michael McGrath. The main reason is that corporate tax revenues are much higher than expected. By 2026 the annual surplus is set to rise to over 20 billion euros. Commentators discuss what to throw the money at.
New homes desperately needed
The money should be used to build homes, journal.ie demands:
“Demographics suggest Ireland will have to build 50,000 houses a year for the next three decades, compared to the annual output of about 30,000 now. This can be framed as either an obstacle or an opportunity. We need to meet the demand we know will be there, which provides much-needed stability for the sector. ...We were able to do the unthinkable during Covid, shutting down much of society for long tracts of time. The housing crisis needs to be treated with comparable urgency.”
Not the time for penny pinching
Irish Times columnist David McWilliams counters the fetishisation of saving, common among many economists even in the face of a budget surplus:
“Money has a magical quality because it motivates humans to strive, innovate and turn ideas into reality. By saving at this rate, we might as well be burying this substance under the ground, waiting for future generations to dig it up and use it. Such behaviour is a betrayal of today for the comfort of tomorrow, hiding behind the sanctimonious veil of savings when what we are really doing is avoiding hard thinking, which after all is what economics is all about.”