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Thread: Dan O'Brien: 2004 mass immigration policies were a mistake

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    Politics.ie Member Eric Cartman's Avatar
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    Default Dan O'Brien: 2004 mass immigration policies were a mistake

    Immigration issues need more discussion - European Economic News | EU Budgets, Trends & Spending | Irish Tim - Fri, May 31, 2013

    I never thought I'd see it but Irish Times economics correspondent and liberal europhile now openly states that the decision to allow citizens from the ten accession countries to migrate here freely in 2004 (which was not emulated by most EU countries), was a mistake.

    Oh well, ten years too late but I suppose better late than never. It's nice being totally vindicated.

    Here are some points:

    But immigration can have costs as well as benefits and these downsides should be discussed so they can be addressed. One example is the contribution of immigration to inflating the property bubble. Just as too much foreign capital was imported by banks to fuel the frenzy, the surge in the other mobile “factor of production” – labour – after 2004 also played its part.

    Ireland was one of only three existing members of the EU who agreed to offer immediate and complete labour market access to the citizens of the 10 states that joined the EU in 2004. With the benefit of hindsight, it is hard to avoid the conclusion – from a purely economic perspective – that the decision to open the labour market fully in 2004 was a mistake.
    • O'Brien believes immigration negatively affected wage equality (drove down pay in lower income brackets)
    • Caused some Irish worker job displacement
    • Created immigrant ghetto clusters


    Further:
    Many of those sceptical of European integration remain silent for fear of being labelled little Irelanders, while others shy away from discussion of the poverty traps created by the welfare system for fear of being called uncaring. Raising issues around the downsides of immigration leaves one vulnerable to accusations of xenophobia and racism. But ignoring the downsides and risks of an enormous socio-economic change is dangerous. Lessening the risks of scenes such as those witnessed in Sweden taking place here is in everyone’s interests. More frank discussion of immigration is needed.
    I would add that his paper was particularly shrill in stifling meaningful debate on immigration all those years ago.

    Not sure there's much you can do now about it, except join some "Golden Dawn"-type party: the time to have limited low skilled immigration has come and gone. Now is the time to rationalize our social welfare resources as the Government tries to manage our budgetary crises and fiscal deficit. Now is the time to reduce immigrant numbers as the housing boom has receded. Hopefully peacefully.

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    Politics.ie Member Mitsui2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cartman View Post
    It's nice being totally vindicated.
    But you feel totally vindicated all the time, Eric!

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    The main purpose of immigration in Ireland at least was to jack up property prices and fuel the boom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eirepol View Post
    The main purpose of immigration in Ireland at least was to jack up property prices and fuel the boom.
    Building houses to house the people building the houses.
    what could possibly go wrong?

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    If one doesn't consider immigrants as human then one would have the basis of an argument, albeit an extremely distasteful racist one and it says more about that person than anything remotely connected with economics. Alternatively, if one considers immigrants as human then they must accept that immigrants have needs, desires, wants and thus, create jobs. Immigration has enormous benefits to native populations. They drive per capita production upwards, get around nasty trade barriers and allow for a greater division of labour. It's funny to me that the argument that they're a net drain on the welfare state only provides more ammunition in attacking immigration as opposed to the real problem, the massive welfare state. Nevertheless in Britain alone immigrants participation in the labour force far outweighs their reliance on government handouts. Anything to the contrary is simply not borne out of any evidence whatsoever. In fact, immigrants are paying for the welfare of British citizens.

    Stating that immigration creates unemployment is the same as saying free trade makes us poorer. It's the same fallacious logic. If the government want to engage in discussion whereby they're willing to stop immigration and accept the sacrifice of making us marginally less well off then that is something that I fundamentally disagree with. How can immigrants compete with native populations for jobs if the native population will not do them?

    Ireland needs immigrants. They bring more specialisation, are entrepreneurial, pay more into the welfare state than they take out and make things cheaper by doing jobs the Irish won't do. If people don't like immigrants coming here and drawing welfare then take it up with the EU and the welfare state....not those people that are leaving behind misery. Immigration makes us all richer!
    The difference between libertarians and socialism is that libertarians tolerate socialist communities but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community – David Boaz

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    Dem foreingers, robin are jobz!!

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    Politics.ie Member storybud1's Avatar
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    The Euro was our Marshall plan but nobody told us we didn't need it in the first place, our economy was just right for our size in the late nineties. Bertie just could not help his ego and we let him ruin the economy, open borders and generous social welfare is not a good mix, just ask the Roma and some of the Nigerians that simply cannot believe we were Sweden on Steroids.

    The Swiss have immigration into THEIR Country sorted, I love the service the Polish people give me, I appreciate the work ethic they have that so many of our own never learned because of the welfare state.

    We have opened our Country to so many decent people yet we have also opened it to a lot wasters and spongers that know the social welfare honey pot before they got here.

    I see it everyday, non EU people driving 40K cars and on the friggin welfare,fair play to them for using the system that pays for all their needs. The problem is that the one time the government asked us about this (the Citizenship referendum in 2004) we voted 80% to stop the asylum/children born scam, and this was in the boom?

    How about we have a few more referendums (just remember Lisbon 2), what a total joke.

    1) Do you want to pay the €160 tax to keep RTE in its comfort or Not ? bye bye RTE Pravda.
    2) Do you want to list all politicians assets, past and current, family members included
    Larry Goodman just spent 37 mill on a new jet? FFS , it is unbelievable,
    3) Do you want welfare biometric ID cards issued and linked to bank accounts,
    4) Do you want to keep paying for single mothers (houses etc) while not stopping the fathers dole? social engineering the right way, you pay for what you spend.

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    Politics.ie Member Kevin Parlon's Avatar
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    Intra-EU immigration is fine IMO. Defacto open-door immigration in the form of the Asylum farce is not.
    "It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them." - Thomas Sowell

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    Quote Originally Posted by eirepol View Post
    The main purpose of immigration in Ireland at least was to jack up property prices and fuel the boom.
    The main political driver for the opening of Ireland to the accession states before almost everyone else was to remove labour force constraints on economic growth and stop the spiraling growth of wages. The idea that accession-state immigration 'drove' the property bubble ignores the fact that the property bubble was in full swing well before 2004, and lasted a shorter time after it than before it.
    Last edited by ibis; 4th June 2013 at 03:56 AM.
    Never let the best be the enemy of the good.

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    Politics.ie Member Dame_Enda's Avatar
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    Finally the penny has dropped with the Irish Times that the open-door to immigration was a mistake. For such a bastion of Irish PCness and Left-Liberalism to take this stance is very good news in terms of the capacity of Irish society to debate this matter. As politicians have long feared the ire of the IT, this also bodes well for the likelihood the issue will be properly debated in future - not least when we return to growth and need to avoid repetition of the mistakes of the past that contributed to the housing bubble.
    Quote Originally Posted by R3volution_R3ady
    Ireland needs immigrants. They bring more specialisation, are entrepreneurial, pay more into the welfare state than they take out and make things cheaper by doing jobs the Irish won't do. If people don't like immigrants coming here and drawing welfare then take it up with the EU and the welfare state....not those people that are leaving behind misery. Immigration makes us all richer!
    If that is so why is 20% of the live register foreign-national?
    Fair and Balanced

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