And, well, I thought that with all the attention on how bad things are in Eastern Europe this week, that there might be some small kernel of good news for Ireland in there. I'm not even sure I'm on firm ground here, but I guess I was figuring that despite the German resistance to cheaper money, the plight of all their investments in the East will force it on them. And we'll get some benefit from that.
Still, the most depressing thing I've read in weeks was this snippet from Brendan Keenan's column today.
The source of this was the construction bubble which accompanied the price bubble. Only Spain had a similar, deadly combination and there were some depressingly good figures from Spain yesterday. Depressing for us, that is. Even after a budget stimulus, Spain's deficit is less than 4pc of output (GDP). Ireland's is likely to be 12pc. The difference is that the Spaniards piled up budget surpluses from their windfall property taxes, and we did not. (They also made the banks behave sensibly).See? It didn't have to be this bad. The government - and let's face it, we're talking about Fianna Fail here - acted as if rainy days had been banished forever. Irresponsible doesn't cover it. Ruinous is the word to describe their actions over the past 5+ years.