Sunday, December 4, 2011

05/12/2011: Government Book of Estimates 2012 - latest comic from DofF

So the book of estimates is out pre-Budget 2012 and there are some notable numbers in it. Let's run from the top:

  • Table 1 projects Current Receipts of  E38,081mln in 2012 or E1,344mln of 'natural increases' in tax receipts, presumably from roaring economic growth
  • Table 1 also projects capital receipts falling by E660mln due to lesser tax on tax (aka banks measures 'returns')
  • Table 1 projects increase in total revenue of E683mln to E39,905 - where this will come from, one might wonder. Table 2 shows that all of these increases will come from tax revenues growth - remember, estimates do not include any new measures to be passed in Budget 2012. In particular, DofF assumes that tax revenues will rise 4.13% yoy in 2012. Why? How? On back of 1.3% growth - the rosiest forecast we've had so far? How much do they plan to extract from value-added o get these figures? Suppose economy expands by 2.2 billion in 2012 (ca 1.3%), tax revenue is supposed to grow by E1.41 billion, so 'extraction rate' is over 64%. That is the full extent of our assumed upper marginal tax rate pre-Budget 2012 measures, folks. Either we are worse than France (the highest full economic tax rate) or the DofF estimates are a bit shambolic.
On the austerity side, there are some notable features of the 'estimates':

DofF assumes interest payments on Government debt of E7.488bn in 2012, up on €4.904bn in 2011. That means that we will be spending

  • 71% more on payment on our debt, including that to our 'European Partners' than we will be spending on capital investment, or
  • 21% of all our tax receipts will be going to finance interest on government debt
  • Given projected yield from Income tax of E15.09bn in 2012 (do forget for the moment that this is basically a form of numerical lunacy, not a hard number, as there is absolutely no reason why income tax next year will be at these levels), our Government debt interest bill will account for 49.6% of our entire projected income tax revenue.
Remember, this all is sustainable, per our Green Jersey 'experts' and we haven't even reached the peak of our debt, yet...

And, yes, there's Austerity... after three years of 'cuts' we have:
  • Current spending is expected to rise from E48.148 bn in 2011 to E51.233 bn in 2012, so that
  • General Government Deficit will reach E16.2 billion or E600 million ABOVE 2011 level.
At last we have our truth - in the numbers of even overly optimistic Government own projections - there is no austerity, folks. There is re-arrangement of spending chairs on Titanic's deck. Painful for many, to be true, whose services and subsidies are being cut, but certainly not visible in terms of actual fiscal balance.

So how rosy are Government figures on those projections side? Government 'estimates ' assume that in 2012 Irish GDP will stand at E162 billion, which is a whooping 4.88% above 2011 levels. Right, someone has been drinking that lithium-laced water that the nation should get per our Buba Doc proposals aired last week - GDP growth in 2012 will be 4.88% nominal per DofF.

Bonkers! QED.
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