budget 2024

Daniel Murray: All things must pass - the era of extraordinary budget spending included

While the financial ministries preach prudence, the segregation of spending into core and non-core categories has allowed government to keep splashing the cash

Michael McGrath, the Minister for Finance (left) and Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure (right). Picture: Damian Storan/PA

In the early 1970s, the Keynesian idea of governments running budget deficits as a means of stimulating the economy first reached Ireland.

“The worry was that once the politicians got wind that you could do this, then they would want to do it all the time,” Ciaran Casey, economic historian with University of Limerick told the Business Post.

“We basically gave politicians intellectual cover for running current deficits in the 70s. It was small at ...