Talking down the economy

Why is Cowen so exercised about this – there is a long and honourable(ish) tradition of it in Fianna Fail.

I wish to talk to you this evening about the state of the nation’s affairs and the picture I have to paint is not, unfortunately, a very cheerful one. The figures which are just now becoming available to us show one thing very clearly. As a community we are living away beyond our means. I don’t mean that everyone in the community is living too well, clearly many are not and have barely enough to get by, but taking us all together we have been living at a rate which is simply not justified by the amount of goods and services we are producing. To make up the difference we have been borrowing enormous amounts of money, borrowing at a rate which just cannot continue. A few simple figures will make this very clear…we will just have to reorganise government spending so that we can only undertake those things we can afford.

—Charles Haughey, January 9, 1980

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