Massive expansion in size of state will continue – but how will this money-printing experiment end?

Our politicians overwhelmingly believe, probably correctly, that giveaways mean votes – and several imprudent budget decisions have more to do with politics than with the wise allocation of resources

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath. Picture: Fergal Phillips

And so it has been confirmed. The massive expansion in the size of the state, in response to Covid, will not be reversed. If there was any real doubt about that, last week’s budget settled the matter once and for all.

The most comprehensive measure of spending by the state – general government expenditure – punched through the €100 billion threshold last year. It increased further this year. If the government’s longer-term budget forecasts prove ...