But it is important to keep “austerity” in proportion
- Real GNP is back now to the level it was at in 2004, but it is still 60% higher than it was in 1997 (in 2007 it was 90% higher than it was in 1997)
- Household net worth (which takes account of borrowings) is back to the level it was in 2003
- Consumer spending in the first quarter of 2012 was back to the level it was in 2006, but is still 80% higher than it was in 1997 (Admittedly there are more people in the country than there were in 1997, do consumer spending per person is not 80% up on 1997)
- Ireland has regained competitiveness. Its real exchange rate vis a vis the rest of the euro zone has recovered from the worst excesses of the bubble economy and is now back to the level t was at in 2000, but Ireland is still a good deal less competitive than it was in 1997.