The truth about social welfare fraud

"Tackling social welfare fraud" will not yield anything like €600 million in savings, since the real cost of fraud is something closer to €25 million. By Michael Taft.

This is getting tiresome.

“Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd has said that the Government believes it can save €600m by tackling social welfare fraud.”

Hanging out in the EU basement

The average projected growth rate for countries not in bailout in the EU over the next two years is 2.1%. Ireland's projected growth rate is 0.1%. This is a figure that should alarm and depress us. By Michael Taft.

The economy will recover - but not in 2012

Reports of a recovery in 2012 have been greatly exaggerated. By Michael Taft.

If I hear one more time that we have exited the recession I’m going to put my head through the computer screen. We’ve come to expect this line from cabinet ministers. But when commentators and media interviewers keep repeating this, per ministerial press statements,’s getting a bit much. And when you add in the insult of paying of Anglo bondholders (€700 million on Tuesday, €1.25 billion in January), well...the economy sinks but bank creditors are 'recovering'.

ICTU has the ideas, now it needs a strategy

ICTU's pre-budget submission outlines a set of concrete alternatives to the Government's austerity policies. However, the real test is what strategy the organisation will pursue to mobilise the broadest possible coalition to support that set of alternatives. By Michael Taft.

Fiscal Advisory Council makes a bad start worse


The Fiscal Advisory Council has engaged in serious manipulation of the presentation of the facts on the effects of austerity. This does not bode well. By Michael Taft.

In my post on the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council’s first report, I pointed out a significant error. In short, they claimed that the underlying deficit fell from 14.3% in 2009 to a projected 10% in 2011. This, they claimed, proved that austerity was working.

Spending cuts are a political choice

A look at the basic numbers shows that the Government does not need to cut overall spending. If it does, it's because it has chosen to do so. By Michael Taft.

With the Government to publish its four-year plan in the next few weeks, we should try to nail down some basic numbers. No doubt the plan will present an avalanche of numbers and percentages and projections, so much so that the Government may well try to hide some discomfiting statistics. Does this sound cynical?

Privatisation being driven by Fine Gael alone

Privatisation of State assets is being driven by Fine Gael: not the EU, or the IMF or the ECB – or even by Labour. By Michael Taft.

The EU-IMF deal does not require the Government to privatise state assets. I’ll repeat that. The EU-IMF deal does not require the Government to privatise state assets. Those who claim otherwise have either not read the EU-IMF Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and are just repeating what they heard from someone else. Or they are simply misleading people. It’s that simple.