In the previous post I tried to make some sense out of the headline numbers from the Exchequer returns through Q3 2012. This time around, let's take a look at the overall Exchequer balance.
Headline number being bandied around is that overall exchequer deficit stood at €11,134 mln in January-September 2012, down €9,526 mln on same period in 2011 (an impressive drop of 46.1%). Alas, that is a pure hog wash. Here's why.
In 2011, Irish state assumed banks recapitalizations and insurance shortfalls funding spending of €10,653 mln, this time around, the Government allocated only €1,775 mln to same.
Adjusting for banks recaps, therefore, Exchequer deficit stood at €10,007 mln in January-September 2011 and it was €9,359 mln in the same period this year, implying deficit reduction of €647.5 mln y/y - a drop of 6.47%.
But wait, in both 2011 and 2012 the state collected extraordinary receipts from banks recapitalization and guarantee schemes - the receipts which, as the EU Commission warned us earlier this year are likely to vanish over time. These amounted to €1.64bn in 2011 and €2.06bn in 2012 (January-September figures).
Subtracting these from the balance we have: exchequer deficit ex-banks recaps and receipts in 2011 was €11,650mln and in 2012 it was €11,417mln. In other words, the State like-for-like sustainable deficit reductions in the 9 months through September 2012 compared to the same period in 2011 were… err… massive €233.7 million (2%).
Let's do a comparative here: Budget 2012 took out of the economy €3.8 billion (with €2.2 billion in expenditure measures and €1.6 billion in taxation measures). On the net, the end result so far has been €233.7 million reduction of like-for-like deficit on 2011. How on earth can the Troika believe this to be a 'best-in-class' performance?
Or alternatively, there's €9.36 billion worth of deficit left out there to cut before we have a balanced budget. At the current rate of net savings, folks, that'd take 40 years if we were to rely on actually permanent revenues sources or 14 years if we keep faking the banking system revenues as not being a backdoor tax. Either way… that idea of 'under 3% of GDP' deficit by 2015 is… oh… how do they say it in Paris? Jonque?
And just so I don't have to produce a separate post on this, the Net Cumulated Voted Spending breakdown is also worth a line or two. You see, the heroic efforts of the Irish Government to support our economy have so far produced a reduction of €474 million on capital investment budget side y/y. But, alas, similarly heroic efforts at avoiding real cuts to the current spending side also bore their fruit, with current voted expenditure up year on year by €369 million in 9 months through September 2012.
So the bottom line is - savage austerity, tears dropping from the cheeks of our Socialist err… Labour TDs and Ministers… has yielded Total Net Voted Spending reduction cumulated over January-September 2011 of a whooping €105 million… And that is year on year. extrapolating this to the rest of the year implies that in 2012 we can expect roughly to cut our Net Voted Expenditure by a terrifyingly insignificant pittance amount of €140 million.