Home Uncategorized Economics, Ireland and Similarities to the U.S.

Economics, Ireland and Similarities to the U.S.

Lahinch Golf Course - County Clare, Ireland

Lahinch Golf Course – County Clare, Ireland

Some friends and I recently traveled to Ireland for a week of golf. While the golf courses haven’t changed much in the four years since my previous trip, the economy has. In 2004, Ireland was in the middle of a building boom, fueled by their position in the European Union as a lower wage country. Wages and housing prices caught up with the parity and the building boom is all but over.

Headlines in the Irish Independent told of a €8.8 billion shortfall in this year’s budget due to a 10,000 home decrease in the estimated number of new homes this year. Next year is projected to bring another record budget deficit. Tourism is down 30% due to the continuing fall of the dollar to the euro (when I visited in 2004, I think a euro cost $1.14; this week it was $1.57). Another article that I read talked about increasing the official retirement age from 65 to 68 to relieve the country’s pension burden.

Ireland’s problems are but a microcosm of ours in the U.S. Our building boom is over. Politicians haven’t been able to solve the Social Security and Medicare problems that are looming with the retirement of the baby boomer generation, and I haven’t read of a plan by either of the remaining major Presidential candidates that calls for fixing the budget and Social Security and Medicare funding issues. Funding for the war in Iraq is not counted in the “official” budget deficit and the major reason that our currency is falling against the euro and other currencies is the amount of debt that the Treasury department is issuing without regard for the long-term consequences.

Recently, a group of college presidents took a stand about climate change and the need to work toward improvement. Perhaps it’s time that we take a stand on the economy as well.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


  1. The Baltic states, especially Latvia and Estonia, are doing reasonably well economically. They have stable currencies and an increasingly solid regulatory and legal regime for business. Nonetheless, they are faced with a brain drain. Young, intelligent, educated people leave Latvia to tend bars in Ireland. There, they can earn much more money than they can with their university degrees at home. Perhaps a bit of a slowdown or downturn in Ireland might bring some of those people “home” to the Baltic.


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