Europe has been teetering on the edge of the abyss for quite some time. Britain may leave the European Union (EU). Alternatively, the EU may dissolve completely. Greek default is back on the table. Muslim immigration strains budgets and innumerable other aspects of European life. German growth has stumbled, the euro area is on the verge of tipping into its third recession in six years. Its leaders have squandered two years of respite, granted by the pledge of Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank’s president, to do “whatever it takes” to save the single currency.
However, and ever so appropriately on St. Patrick’s Day, little Ireland had 8% growth in its gross domestic product last year. How was that possible?
[Source: Why Ireland’s Economy Grew by 8% in 2015, by Anthony B. Kim]
The Irish economy suffered greatly in the 2008 financial crisis. The small nation nearly went bankrupt. However, they turned things around more rapidly than their European neighbors or the vaunted US economy. The Celtic Tiger has made its roaring comeback.
[From the Kim article] According to the recently published 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, a handy cross-country annual analysis of economic policies by The Heritage Foundation, Ireland is the world’s eighth freest economy.
The Irish have taken note of their ranking:
The index reports:
The Irish economy has made impressive progress over the past three years. Undertaking politically difficult reform measures, including sharp cuts in public-sector wages and restructuring of the banking sector, Ireland has regained its fiscal health and become the first country to exit a European Union bailout.
Credit for the notable turn-around and ongoing recovery goes to the conscientious policy choices the Irish government has made in downsizing a bloated public sector, reducing the budget deficit, regaining fiscal health, and firmly adhering to polices to promote economic freedom and entrepreneurial competitiveness.
As documented in the index, Ireland has maintained an unusually open economy, buttressed by institutional strengths such as strong protection of property rights, efficient business regulations and competitive tax rates. Given all that, the government’s fiscal restraint has been just what was needed to unleash faster growth.
Ireland is now the fastest-growing economy in the European Union for the second successive year.
By comparison, how is the USA doing under the administration of Barack Hussein Obama? Since he became President, America has slipped precipitously from the ranks of the world’s 10 freest economies. The United States was once one of the world’s preeminent practitioners of economic freedom. No longer!
The Republican candidates need to shift away from personal attacks and begin touting Republican pro-growth policies. More on this in subsequent posts.