69.6 percent of us partied
One wonders if election posters working around the Brian Lenihan on Primetime claim that “we all partied” are already being printed up. By coincidence, the CSO has released the numbers from the 2009 survey of household income and living conditions. This survey appears to be a critical source of information on trends in household income and spending patterns, but as far as I can tell, it only goes back on a consistent basis to 2006 and even since then, some new questions and features have been added. These problems are a reminder that for all the government’s assertions that they’ve tried to spread the cuts fairly, it’s not easy how you’d generate the numbers needed to design the cuts in that fashion. In particular, the household survey has virtually no information on type of employment (either you’re employed or your’re not), making it impossible to determine how households with public and private workers fared during the boom and bust.
But anyway, here are a few numbers.
There’s a set of indicators that the EU tries to measure for every country to capture deprivation — these are not meant as alternatives to the standard poverty numbers, but ways of giving concrete meaning to them. Percent of individuals unable to afford unexpected expenses (Table 5.5, page 99) – for Ireland 2008, before the crisis had gone viral, 41 percent. Unable to afford one week holiday away from home, 30.4 percent. If you’re in boosterish mode, you say that means a massive 69.6% of us could at least manage a week in Tramore. Both indicators rose about 8 percentage points in 2009. In other words, even at the tail end of the boom, about 40 percent of population were very far from living large. And things have only gotten worse since then.