NCB celebrates the 'tax-paying unit'
Published 29/07/2010 | 05:00
Finally, does NCB Stockbrokers house the most dismal of dismal economists? This week the broker was reflecting on the dangers of a "brain drain" from Ireland, with the ESRI estimating that 70,000 people are, to use the polite term, "exiting" from the country every 12 months.
NCB isn't worried about this in the short term, saying it's "positive" as it eases pressure on the State's finances and also lowers social tensions. While not something to celebrate, these two assertions are broadly correct.
But NCB reserved its most cold and bloodless language for the new citizens being born in the country, who are helping offset the enormous numbers leaving via the airports.
Instead of celebrating the undeniable fertility of the Irish race, the NCB said it was gratifying to see how many future "tax-paying units" were being born in our hospitals.
Apparently, Ireland had the highest rate of increase in "tax-paying units" in both 2008 and 2009 in the EU, the broker pointed out in its own touchy-feely kind of way.
Unfortunately, the lingering problem of unemployment means many of those born today may not ultimately end up being "tax-paying units'', or at least the "units" may need to be installed in other jurisdictions like Australia, the UK, the US and Canada, where they can operate more effectively.