Ronan Lyons | Personal Website
Ronan Lyons | Personal Website

December 2009

2009 in review and 2010 in preview

As the decade draws to a close, this post looks back at the toughest year for Ireland’s economy since independence. It examines a dozen headline economic indicators, across the labour market, national income and prices. 2009 is compared (and constrasted) with the 2000-2007 boom period, before predictions for 2010 are made, based on current evidence. The most startling figure is how our average income per head compares with the EU15, going from 13% richer in 2007 to 8% poorer next year. Read more

What will Ireland’s government finances be like in 2015? A five-year view on the Budget

This post outlines a scenario for Ireland’s government finances out to 2015. Even with aggressive productivity targets for areas of current expenditure, the deficit is likely to be above 4% of GDP by 2015, while the national debt will again be larger than national income and take up one-fifth of all tax revenues. Grounds for optimism – and pessimism – and alternative scenarios are also explored. Read more

A Budget daydream: “Sorry sorry, Brian”

In my opinion, there’s no better way to break the tension before a major economic decision than to adopt the style of Weird Al and write some song parodies. A few months ago, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah became ‘Board Snip Nua’. Before that, we had Copa-Obama. Today is of course Budget Day and I’d like to recompense blog readers for not re-writing YMCA as NAMA a couple of months ago, by recreating a dream Don McLean had where he was Taoiseach and a luckless lawyer was Vincent Van Gogh.

Sorry, sorry Brian
Taint your career in a day
Took you from the DoJ
To Finance at the darkest time of all
With a deficit that kills
Sketch the cuts and the bitter pills
Catch them on prescription bills
With price hikes that nobody understands.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
About staying in Justice and equality
How you took that job with glee
I would not listen, I did not know how.
Perhaps I’ll listen now.

Sorry, sorry Brian
Inflaming tensions with cuts in pay
Surly unions, violent days
Reflect in Lenihan’s eyes of china blue.
Talking to SIPTU can age you with all the strain
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are irked by the Budget’s humble plans.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you loved Justice and equality
How you took that job with glee
I would not listen, I did not know how.
Perhaps I’ll listen now.

For they could have loved you,
And still many do like you.
But when no hope was left in sight
On that cold December night,
You cut their pay, as Ministers often do.
But I could have told you, Brian,
This post was never meant for one
With a legal mind like you.

Sorry, sorry Brian
Arguments in empty halls,
Bearded heads and nighttime calls,
With PAs that watch the news and can’t forget.
Like the voters that you’ve met,
The ragged men in ragged clothes,
Children with a bloody nose,
Lie waiting while you handle the IMO.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered in your popularity,
How you tried to shift the blame to me.
I would not listen, I’m not listening still.
Perhaps I never will…

And now back to work…

Which countries have been displaced most by the global recession? The Russia effect

This post examines global economic growth and investigates which parts of the world have been knocked out of their economic stride by the 2008/2009 recession. It finds that, just as there was a China effect in who has rebounded fastest this year, there has been a Russia effect – or certainly a post-Soviet effect – looking at those economies worst hit. Both findings highlight the importance of regional and continental economic links, even in a globalised world. Read more