Much of the post-budget analysis has focused on whether the correct balance between taxation and spending measures has been achieved. In fact, the 5 year plan leaves this quite open, at least in terms of the ultimate convergence towards the 3 percent budget target in 2013. This is because the plan leaves unallocated €4 billion in 2012 and €7 billion in 2013.
In the two charts below, I show the polar alternatives: in the first chart, all of the allocation is to higher taxes in 2012 and 2013; in the second chart, all the adjustment is to lower spending in 2012 and 2013. (Fiscal variables are expressed as ratios to GDP.)
The economic debate at the next general election may well focus on the relative merits of the two adjustment paths. [Of course, the likely outcome is an interior solution.]