The increase in spending, which is part of Ireland’s present problem, is quite recent. From 2000 to 2006, the number of people employed in the Irish health sector increased 20 percent, in education by 27 percent, in the justice sector by 22 percent, and in the civil service by 27 percent.
In the past decade, Irish health spending has doubled, in real terms. In 2000, about 22 million items were prescribed; 10 years later, 52 million items were. People aren’t twice as healthy as a result.
As far as taxes on income are concerned, Irish people now pay about half as much as an equivalent family does on the same income in Germany. There is currently no recurring tax on property, no charge for water supplies, and modest fees for a college education. Welfare payments compare favorably with those in Northern Ireland.
Here is more. Currently there is talk of a "buyer's strike" in the market for Irish bonds. When the Irish accept the full extent of the standard of living "reset" implied in all of this, how big a step back will be required? Ten years? More? If you take away pre-war, war, and post-war examples, is there any precedent for such a large reset in the history of wealthy countries? Apart from contemporary Iceland, that is.