For what, exactly, are we borrowing billions?

Brian M. Lucey

This is a expanded version of my column in the Irish Examiner 18 May 2013.

Hardly a week goes by now without a minister or backbencher reminding us, usually in stern , schoolmasterly tones, that “we are borrowing a billion euro a month to pay for <insert public sector spending head> ”. So we borrow for nurses salaries, for public sector pay, for teachers, for all sorts.  Sometimes this is couched in terms of borrowing for social welfare, but usually it is attached to public sector pay. So we borrow a billion for nurses pay, for teachers pay, for all sorts of pay. We never borrow it seems for the running of the two ringed circus of kildare street.

homerbrainRegardless of where it is attached it is a useful encapsulation of bias and special interest pleading from those doing so. First, it is as clear a demonstration as can be…

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