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Where is all the money going?

  • 10-08-2023 4:13pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭

    We're constantly hearing about how incredibly our economy is doing. Record highs in employment and tax returns all round.

    Yet to me it seems for a lot of us that living standards are dropping and the quality of all our major branches of public services are deteriorating.

    Healthcare is worse than ever, housing policy is a disaster, looks like a lot of problems with crime and policing, likewise more problems in education with shortages of teachers and the cost of going to college.

    Sure unemployment is down but is that much to shout about if a lot of those working can't afford a house and get s**t healthcare etc.

    While it might be easy to blame this on Covid and Ukraine, I think a lot of our problems started long before this. Essentially I think our living standards don't match how unhealthy our economy looks for three core reasons.

    1) Our economy isn't as strong as it looks. While we take in a lot on corporation tax, a lot goes back out through various tax breaks we give to corporations. Also a lot of people working for these companies won't be spending their money here. In my experience people will be sending money home or saving with a view to eventually moving abroad.

    2) We waste a huge amount of money through FFGs commitment to privatizing everything. As an example see handing over north of 400k for one bedroom apartments for social housing. I've no doubt these could be built for a fraction of this. There's plenty examples of this but look too at the retrofit schemes, there's 8 billion committed to this but lots of evidence that providers are just pocketing the grants and pushing up costs for consumers. See also privatizing Social Services through NGO's.

    3) Plain old incompetence/corruption. See children's hospital, HSE consultancy fees, starting and dropping projects etc.

    How do we break out of this cycle?

    I think a start would be to break this myth that a superficially successful economy on it's own is an political achievement.

    Given our falling living standards, it's not.

    Here a fine stat that sums this up. We spent nearly 80% more on Healthcare last year than we did in 2015.

    Post edited by MegamanBoo on



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,708 ✭✭✭StupidLikeAFox

  • Posts: 2,725 [Deleted User]

    Using FFG is usually a sign the opinion can be safely ignored.


    Warning applied for uncivil posting. If you have nothing to add to a discussion stay out of it rather than try to belittle it.

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,580 ✭✭✭lawrencesummers

    Waste is a massive factor

    There was big furror about RTE because the figures were easy to quantify and the people are known and public figures.

    But rte isnt a grain of sand in the money that this government wastes, the HSE doesnt even try and hide it anymore and we have all just sort of come to accept their incompetence.

    Plenty of other gov departments waste tons of cash.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,580 ✭✭✭lawrencesummers

    Nearly 2billion in dole payments, unemployment very low and job vacancies all over the place.

    Great country this.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,271 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    So long as you avoid the statistics you can believe what every you want. Put some widely accepted statistics to it and it might be worth a debate.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo

    What statistics are you looking for? I didn't want to fill the opening post with stats. What point are you taking issue with?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo

    That's telling me broadly where the money is being spent.

    Not why were not getting outcomes in line with that spending.

  • Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭hymenelectra

    It's a glaring question going unanswered. I call it the magic money, because it sure as hell isn't making much difference to anything is it?

    What's the story?

    Artificial population growth, a stated goal of governments, to inflate demand, thereby inflate profitability of necessary infrastructure. Housing is the big one, but not the only one.

    Essentially, the relative increase of profitability of a heretofore non-hyper commodity is transferring wealth at an untold scale from the many to the few. Of course there is no concomitant wage inflation, that wouldn't be profitable enough then.

    That's one major factor.

    The other big one that comes to mind is the purposefully complex arrangement with multinationals where there's a "lot of money, but only kind of, maybe, here's some number to tide you over". You can bet your tit there's untold siphoning going on there.

    And thirdly, as mentioned, there's an incredible waste of money being spent to "tide things over" till the inevitable collapse of such corruption.

    A lot more to add, but those are a few of the heavyhitters.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,873 ✭✭✭Augme

    The majority of people in Ireland and Irish people are swimming in money and can't spent it quick enough. Look at the amount of concerts that are on and how quickly they sell out. Coldplay sold out 4 nights in cooked Park and could have doubled that if they wanted. They aren't all tourists coming over to see them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,347 ✭✭✭bladespin

    3.7 Billion (well nearly) on inclusion???

    The bigger question is how well it's being spent not where it's going.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭hymenelectra

    I don't doubt that some are swimming in money. But the majority? Not a snowballs.

    A landlord? It's Christmas everyday, whether an individual or "enterprise".

    Some poor fookers giving you 40k a year, for lack of option, for an ex council house in salubrious areas like inchicore? Yeah, it's Christmas everyday.

    Anyone in that position that's struggling is a joke of circumstance.

    Add in a sparing handful of certain professions and it's party time for them, yes.

    But the majority, just no way.

    Besides all that, ab interesting phrase I heard the other day, apparently from Greek, "poverty seeks pleasure". So I wouldn't doubt that there are people scraping by yet still overspending on ridiculous things. The psychology being that there is little in the way of hope of lifting oneself out of the cycle of working to get nowhere, so why not waste the little you have anyway. Dangerous, but completely understandable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo

    Thanks, last year we spent nearly 80% more on health than we did in 2015.

    Yet to me, services look worse.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,318 ✭✭✭Potatoeman

    The economy is built on multinationals that could move in a heartbeat. The agri and tourism sector are being damaged by government policies. The per capita average income is skewed by the highly paid. The lack of housing being built due to the last recession is compounded by the government flooding the country with people as a source of cheap labour and that is further compounded by lax controls on immigration followed by an amnesty (even for criminals) on those few that are rejected. The housing list numbers should be a source of major concern as there are far too many landing here with their hand out.

    This will result in tensions as they compete with Irish people for housing. The young and educated are leaving for better opportunities abroad as owning a home is a pipe dream for many. I feel sorry for young people when I see high rents and high house prices. Then you have retirement homes being closed to house refugees, it’s a national disgrace how the government had managed to shaft both the old and the young.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,580 ✭✭✭lawrencesummers

    They couldnt move in a heartbeat.

    It would actually take years for these companies to move because building capacity in the supply chain elsewhere would take years in planning, construction, validation and regulatory approval.

    The tech companies are different, because they are a essentially a tangible productless industry of fast and loose VC funds which burn bright and most dont last the test of time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,280 ✭✭✭ZookeeperDub

    Multinationals cannot move in a heartbeat. If they did then they would all be bankrupt very quickly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,280 ✭✭✭ZookeeperDub

    I think the point of this thread like so many will end up with

    "It's da guberments fault"

    It's always fun to see how many angles people can create threads when all they want is the same answer.

    The main point of this thread should be, vote in elections. Ireland turn out rate for election is low but the amount of whining after elections is extremely high

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,754 ✭✭✭✭One eyed Jack

    Here a fine stat that sums this up. We spent nearly 80% more on Healthcare last year than we did in 2015.

    How does that statement sum anything up? You’ve provided no context for it. It doesn’t mean anything or indicate anything without context. Do you mean people spent 80% more on healthcare, or the Government spent 80% more on healthcare since 2015? How is that figure determined? Are you accounting for costs rising in everything? How does it compare internationally?

    As for the idea that our housing policy is in your evaluation ‘a disaster’, the figures would seem to disagree, with home ownership among the over 40’s being close to 80% in 2019 -

    Close to 80 per cent of people over the age of 40 in Ireland own their home, according to the report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), yet barely a third of adults younger than 40 are homeowners.

    Despite the housing shortage, surging rents and record levels of homelessness, homes were as affordable here as much of western Europe, the research showed.

    Irish people were less likely to be paying as much as 30 per cent of their income to cover housing costs compared to the other countries surveyed, with about 15 per cent of people here paying that much. That compared to a fifth of people elsewhere.

    That covers who’s voting for the current Government to maintain its policies in relation to housing - the 80% of homeowners who would rather not see the value of their assets fall should Government introduce a policy of building more affordable social housing at an enormous cost to the Exchequer.

    With regard to healthcare, Government have introduced numerous initiatives at considerable investment (might explain where that 80% increase in healthcare spending comes from) in order to provide free GP cards for children under 6, increased medical card coverage (over 1m medical card holders in Ireland according to CSO) and increased spending on schemes like the Treatment Abroad scheme.

    Education? Always the fun one 😁 Government has increased spending there too with extending numerous schemes to more schools to be included in the DEIS program, increased funding for a whole range of services including the free school transport scheme, to the tune of nearly half a billion euro in the last budget -

    Yet private education is seeing something of an increase in popularity among parents with children of school-going age, with Sinn Fein and Labour promising to cut public funding for private schools should they get into Government -

    All of the above might explain why you’re constantly hearing how well our economy is doing, in spite of the fact that you can still point to numerous issues within the Irish economy. When taken as a whole, the vast majority of people are not too concerned with the minority of people who are experiencing economic difficulties which you’re trying to extrapolate out to the population as a whole, asking the question where is all the money going, when if you were actually interested in where all the money is going, it’s not that difficult to find out where all the money is really going rather than assume the conclusions you have done in the absence of any credible evidence.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    One major factor is purchasing power parity, simply put your money doesn't buy as much here as other countries

    According to the World Bank, our PPP rating is 0.79. The US is rated as 1 so basically something that costs $1 in the US will cost the equivalent of $1.25 here

    It's important to remember that's on average, specific items can cost a lot more. And the US is a very high GDP economy to start with

    This is pretty significant, if everything costs 25% more here then someone on €50k per annum here can only afford the equivalent of someone earning €40k in other countries

    Another factor is that we have a pretty high median income by international standards

    As much as people like to moan about the multinationals, they do employ a lot of people here and they often pay well. High earners can afford to spend more and this means businesses can charge them more for the same stuff, which drives inflation

    Just because someone on minimum wage doesn't have the money to buy a €6 coffee doesn't matter if there's enough engineers, accountants and doctors to buy coffees

    Since this immediately turned into a "complain about the government" thread, one can fairly ask what the governments duty is in all of this

    IMO there's two aspects, keeping inflation at a sustainable level and ensuring people at every level of income can maintain an acceptable living standard

    On the first, I'd say they're doing an adequate job, although most of the work is being done by the ECB raising interest rates and putting the brakes on growth. I think the government could be somewhat more targeted in their supports and are risking driving more inflation than stopping it

    I would like to see more forward thinking policies from the government to ensure price stability of some goods. For example through domestic energy production and storage, or agricultural grants to ensure we retain the ability to grow essential foodstuffs ourselves

    The other aspect is maintaining a minimum standard of living. There's a lot of debate over what exactly the minimum standard is, but I think it's fair to say that someone on the minimum wage should probably be able to survive without having to decide between food or rent for the month (or getting raped by their landlord in lieu of rent as was recently discovered)

    I would say this is one area the government is lagging badly. To some extra their hands are tied, for example they can't provide affordable housing to everyone in the space of 12 months without seriously driving down house prices and causing massive inflation in the construction industry. This will annoy existing homeowners because their houses will all lose value and they can't do any home improvements because every builder is busy on houses

    Unfortunately for the government, I don't think there's any way out that doesn't piss someone off. IMO there needs to be a system of price caps introduced nationwide on property sales. Price inflation needs to be capped at something like 2% per annum and sales over this need to be taxed severely.

    At the same time there needs to be a large social housing building program, with some of the houses built being used for social or affordable housing and the remainder being sold privately. The government should create an SOE to do this to ensure they're getting best value and not being fleeced by private developers

    The healthcare system is also always going to be in some degree of trouble. It turns out that nurses and doctors are both in extremely high demand in every country and it's pretty easy to get a job in a higher paying country than Ireland. If you were a doctor would you prefer to make maybe €100k before tax in Ireland (at probably 52% effective tax rate) or around $250k in the US (with a lower tax rate and cost of living)?

    I think we need to aim for a more universal healthcare service rather than the 2 tiered system. A lot of people point at the NHS as an example but given how that has been hollowed out by the Tories, I personally think a fully government funded model is too vulnerable to political interference.

    I think something more like the French system would be good where most GP and hospital services aren't free but they are strictly regulated and well subsidised so the price for the end user is low, typically €12-15 AFAIK. Something like this might be more realistic to achieve and removes the whole argument about who "deserves" a medical card and who doesn't

    I also think more digitisation of healthcare services is needed. For example if patient records could be shared more easily between practices (with patient consent of course) it would make the online doctor's services a lot better IMO

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo

    Thanks I do see that there's global macro factors at play and there's only so much the government can do in some regards.

    However, taking housing as an example, it's been clear for a long time that our capacity to build needed to be increased in the long term. Instead FFG have relied again and again on the private market which has only driven up prices. It's not that we just woke up this morning and realised we suddenly need a huge amount of houses.

    I can see there's a global market too for drs and nurses but I think quality of life plays a factor. It seems to me these people are leaving our health services because of the poor working conditions and housing, not just pay. FFGs answer has been to turn to spending fortunes on Mgmt consultant. Rather than tackling the problems themselves, their answer has been to outsource it to the private sector once more.

    I don't mean to be engaging in gubberment bashing. I feel we need to recognise this as an ideological failure, not just for this government, but also those independents and maybe Labour, waiting in opposition to support a future iteration of this mess.

    I think waste of public funds should be front and center come the next election.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,344 ✭✭✭✭Collie D

    Please never use Coldplay fans as a metric to judge Irish society.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,170 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    Where is the money going? Listen to the growing cacophony of lobbyists every day now demanding this, that and the other from the budget. When they get this, it's trousered and rinse/ repeat next year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,356 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    I agree that it's an ideological failure, relying on the free market to provide something which is easy to game (housing, healthcare)

    But realistically, who has any better ideas? Labour, the party of Southside socialism who have about as much personality as some pond scum?

    Or maybe the law breaking populists in Sinn Fein, who's entire policy platform seems to be saying they'll spend more imagination dollars on everything

    How's about the anti government quasi socialists in PBP or Solidarity or whatever they're called. Kinda hard to be anti government when they're the government, I'm curious to see how many shades of sh!t would be in their pants if they ever won an election and had to use their brains

    And finally the moany Social Democrats, who I literally forgot about until I was about to hit the Post Comment button. I guess just complaining about everything makes you pretty easy to forget, they managed to make Labour look interesting by comparison

    And then there's the fringe parties, a diverse bunch of political viewpoints which seem to feature racism a lot and who claim to represent the silent majority despite never getting enough votes to get elected. I guess that silent majority must also be dead or something

    So yeah, the sad news is that we're led by idiots. But it's still important to look at their dumb ideas, try to figure out if any of them are vaguely realistic and place your vote. At least then you can make sure the idiots you agree with most have a chance 😂

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Registered Users Posts: 893 ✭✭✭Emblematic

    Let's look at the numbers.

    Our household disposable income, which is probably the best measure of how well off we are, is not that high, or at least not as high as we might like.


    From this chart, we're sightly above the Czech republic but behind supposedly basket case Brexit Britain. We're not too different from Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Lithuania etc in terms of how much we have to spend after deductions. And if we take into account high housing costs for those who are renting, we're probably a lot worse off sadly for those people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,573 ✭✭✭MegamanBoo

    That figure is 80% more government spending on healthcare. I didn't check whether it factors inflation, because with or without it's appalling.

    Last year we hit a new low in terms of A and E 'crisis'. The ministers response was to blame it on inaccurate data modelling!

    That to me sums up the wasteful approach. Rather than spending the money on more doctors and nurses, maybe even reopening the closed emergency departments, we're spending it on data modelling! To tell us what, people get sick in winter???

    You lost me entirely after that when you started defending housing policy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,033 ✭✭✭downtheroad

    €55bn on health, education and social protection in 2023

    Fifty five f×ck!n billion euro.

    There's not a whole lot to show for that expenditure.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,391 ✭✭✭Jinglejangle69

    Zero accountability in the pubic sector is why our taxes are wasted every year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,686 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    Devide that by the population and look at the education and health facilities provided. Social protection covers a huge arena of benefits and supports. It all adds up. Of course there's bound to be waste and inefficiencies but services cost money.

    Post edited by Jim_Hodge on

  • Registered Users Posts: 27 Tell it to me arse

    Blaming others or the system for your lack of money is a bad excuse. You have only yourself to blame if you are not getting money out of the economy. There’s plenty of it.

    Blame your lack of sacrifice at a young age, bad life decisions and inability to think creatively for your lack of money not the system. This socialist tripe is usually well received in uneducated countries. Try elsewhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 985 ✭✭✭Fred Cryton

    I'm afraid your heros in SF are not going to help with any of that other than crashing the economy. How would you like all of the problems you describe above, plus no job and having to emigrate? Also i heard Eoin o Brion literally saying today that SF's housing position is that there are "too many private residential tenancies". His policy announced today is to shrink the private residential sector. I kid you not. His answer to high rents is to shrink the sector. Nobel prize in economics for our man Eoin.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,445 ✭✭✭✭tom1ie

    Where do you get the ppp stats from?

    It would be interesting to compare which countries are 1.5 etc.