St. Patrick’s Day: Some Hope from Ireland

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  Each year since I became interested in development economics, St. Patty’s day has reminded me of the free market revolution that took place in Ireland in the nineties.  Ireland was the poorest economy in Europe then, but by 2006, it had the highest per capita GPD on the continent and economic growth rates of 9 percent or higher.  How did they achieve it?  They massively reduced the size and role of government in their society.  They cut taxes, abolished agencies, cut spending, and stopped inflation.  They moved from one of the least free states in Europe to the freest.

Government debt as a percentage of GDP in Ireland in 1990 was 95%.  By 2007, it was 25%.  In 2008, our debt to GDP ratio was 40%.  According to the Obama budget, ours will be 65% in 2010.  What debt to GDP ratio do we have to achieve for this country to turn around?  If we’re like Ireland, then we might not be far from it.  

Let’s hope, on this Saint Patrick’s Day, that we, like Ireland, can have a free market revolution to push this country back toward freedom and prosperity and away from government growth and fascism.