At nearly 5% per year, Ireland had the fastest growing economy in the EU or OECD in 2014. 1000 jobs were created every week. Between modest increases in the average wage and falls in the price of consumer goods, people have more money in their back pocket. With house prices rising rapidly, homeowners feel richer. Despite carry a debt bigger than the size of the economy, the government can borrow money cheaper than ever before.
The emerging narrative seems to be: government took the tough decisions, citizens made the necessary sacrifices, and after seven years of brutal tax hikes and spending cuts, we are on the verge of seven years of plenty. And, this time it’s different.
Across the water in the UK, Tory Chancellor George Osborne similarly took great delight in confounding his own critics, from the Labour Party to the IMF, who had said he was slashing the deficit too much and too soon. The UK has bounced back strongly compared to its continental counterparts. Case closed?