According to Wikipedia, between 1995 and 2000, the long-dormant Irish economy took off, expanding by a startling 9.4 percent. There was a building boom; roads were widened to accommodate more traffic; newly confident people started buying things they had long denied themselves, including bigger and nicer houses, which, it turns out, many could not afford.
Even after 2000 when the Irish economy continued to grow at an average rate of 5.9 percent, still well above the American average, confidence in the economy remained high. By 2008, a dramatic reversal had occurred with GDP contracting by 14 percent. Unemployment levels rose to 14 percent by 2011 and 15 percent the following year.
The reasons are familiar to Americans. Mostly it was a property bubble. Banks approved loans for people who could not handle big mortgages, which led to a recession, not unlike the one experienced in
The Irish economy has experienced a dramatic reversal under the leadership of Prime Minister
Emerging from a joint
While much credit belongs to the political leadership that has bitten the bullet and imposed austerity on government spending programs, causing howls from the left, and to the resilient Irish people who are experienced when it comes to suffering, foreign investment has also played a major role. Much of that investment has been driven by the anti-business tax policies imposed on corporations by the U.S. government, prompting many U.S. businesses to seek tax relief overseas.
According to a report last year in The Guardian newspaper, 700 U.S. companies now do business in
The response from the Obama administration has not been to push for a reduction in the U.S. corporate tax rate -- one of the highest in the world -- in hopes of enticing the fleeing corporations back to American shores. Instead, it has imposed new tax rules on those companies that remain in an effort to keep them at home, all but ensuring that fleeing businesses will not want to return.
This apparently is working on at least two companies.
What has been largely good for
Among the many proverbs for which