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Ireland May Soon Have to Say Goodbye to the Low Tax Rates That Made Nation Rich

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Why Ireland May Soon Have to Say Goodbye to the Low Tax Rates That Made the Nation Rich

'In 1988, The Economist magazine ran an article on Ireland titled “The poorest of the rich.” The title was well-deserved. That year, Irish per capita GDP was just 70 percent of the figure for the United Kingdom and 52 percent that of the United States. The unemployment rate was 16.2 percent compared to 8.5 percent in Britain and 5.5 percent in the United States. Irish government debt amounted to 85 percent of GDP compared to 60 percent in the United States and 37 percent in the United Kingdom.

But when The Economist next came to write about Ireland’s economy in 1997, they called it “The Celtic Tiger: Europe’s shining light.” Spam_A Spam_B 

This title was equally well-deserved. The Irish economy grew at an average annual rate of 9.4 percent between 1995 and 2000. Real GDP growth outpaced that in the United Kingdom in every year from 1989 to 2003 and that of the United States in every year after 1993. While Ireland’s GDP grew by 229 percent between 1987 and 2007, in the United States the figure was 161 percent, and in the United Kingdom, it was 152 percent.

This led to a surge in the level of Irish per capita GDP after 1993. In 1997, Ireland overtook the United Kingdom on this score and, by 2007, was 27 percent above it and up to 96 percent of the United States’s level.

Unemployment tumbled after 1993. Between 1993 and 1999, about 415,000 extra jobs were filled, an increase of 35 percent, virtually all of it in the private sector. By 1999, Ireland’s unemployment rate was below that of the United Kingdom. By 2001, it was below that of the United States. So long an exporter of people, Ireland became an importer. Net migration changed from a loss of 5,000 in 1993 to a gain of 22,800 in 1998.

This increased prosperity worked wonders for Ireland’s government indebtedness. From 1993, government debt as a share of GDP fell rapidly, reaching 25 percent in 2007. By 2002, it was lower than the ratio in both the United States and the United Kingdom.'

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