Monday, November 16, 2009

Magic Numbers in the southern Media.

Magic Numbers.

I've been trying to read up on my economics. While its always been a relevant subject and necessary for anyone who has an interest in progressive politics its really hit the limelight now.

The dismal science has many arcane and complex theories.

Two of which were discovered by the southern media.

The first is TINA - There Is No Alternative. Its the southern media's catch all theory thats applied once exhaustion sets in. Its most recent outing has been with Nama.

But the second is economics at its best. Its the Magic Number theory.

First I learned of it was yesterday in the Sunday Tribune. Shane Coleman, Political editor and dabbler in economic theory was the man of the moment.

In a rather long article questioning whether Fine Gael and Labour had the bottle to make difficult budgetary choices Mr. Coleman was determined to set the scene early.

The first words were: It's the €4bn question. Now when I did my leaving cert in english we were told avoid repetition, dont hack away at the same point. Did anyone tell Shane?

Repeatedly the number of €4 billion in cuts is the number bandied about. Over and over again Shane hacks away telling us that "The closer it comes to the budget, the closer Fine Gael's proposals to produce the magic €4bn will come under scrutiny." And Fine Gael can be sure that its proposals will come under scrutinity but since when did all budgetary policy become defined by the number 4 billion.

Shane lists a number of various opposition party measures to cut expenditure but guess what as none of these hit 4 billion then well they just dont do it.

There will have to be budgetary cut backs. The economy is going to need to be restructured. Its going to be rough and hard and we all know it but the southern state is not best served by journalists who become fixated by numbers without taking the time to consider what the numbers mean. Just because the Fianna Fail/Green govt. sets a target does not mean its correct and anyone who fails to hit it is wrong. If the various economic plans of the opposition parties are focussed, credible and purposeful then thats the mark of a good plan.

The mark of a good plan is not picking a number and slashing and burning till you get there. Magic aint real Shane and picking the magic numer of 4 billion simply because its the wheeze of the moment aint much of a trick and its certainly not a useful contribution to the debate.

Maybe one day in the south we'll get a media that takes the time to think for itself rather than just dribble out this nonsense.

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