Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Civil and financial engineering

Irish political debate has its occasional dips into absurdity.

Today we have left-wing politicians claiming vindication in their campaign for zero user-cost household water supply not in the achievement of that goal, or even success in principle on the argument for zero user-cost water ... but on a statistical ruling by the European Union statistical agency that the debt of the new water utility is part of the government sector. For context, bear in mind that the balance sheet of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), which takes on far more risks than a water utility, is not on the government balance sheet through a special purpose vehicle ownership wheeze. Or that one way to get Irish Water off the government balance sheet would be to privatize it, which is presumably not what its opponents want!

But for a day, the callers to the radio shows will all be experts on Eurostat rules regarding the balance sheet rules of public utilities. 

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