Brits living higher but want to leave
LIVING standards in Britain are set to rise above those in America for the first time since the 19th century, according to a report by the respected Oxford Economics consultancy.
The calculations suggest that, measured by gross domestic product per capita, Britain can now hold its head up high in the economic stakes after more than a century of playing second fiddle to the Americans.
It says that GDP per head in Britain will be £23,500 this year, compared with £23,250 in America, reflecting not only the strength of the pound against the dollar but also the UK economy’s record run of growth and rising incomes going back to the early 1990s....
Thatcher economic privatization policies at work, perhaps. But then there are the caveats:
It all depends on how you tout up "income." Evidently lower taxes, etc. do not enter into the equation in this article. Personally, I wouldn't give a plugged nickel for the U.K.'s scandalously inadequate and rationed "free health care." I wouldn't be surprised if some of those British Christmas shoppers weren't stopping in for a little Manhattan surgery while on U.S. soil. Can't blame them, either.
The Oxford analysts also point out that Americans benefit [more] from lower prices than those in Britain. With an adjustment made for this “purchasing power parity”, the average American has more spending power than his UK counterpart and pays lower taxes. (In the run-up to Christmas many Britons travelled to New York and other American cities to take advantage of the strength of sterling against the dollar and those lower prices.)
However, the British typically have significantly longer holidays than Americans as well as access to “free” healthcare.
The figures may be of small comfort to Britons worried about house prices and facing a severe squeeze on their incomes this year as a result of record petrol prices and rising energy bills.
Plus, that's a significant gap in purchasing power parity, when it is more cost-effective for Brits to fly to New York and buy Christmas gifts (including the costs of the air fare) than it is to buy them at home! As one economist I know points out, the recent weakness of the dollar has something to do with this. And eventually, such buying opportunities for foreigners will push the value of the dollar back up.
Meanwhile, Cal Thomas points out that that all is not happy in the United Kingdom, despite the supposedly rising average income:
A poll conducted by the respected YouGov organization and published in the Dec. 30 London Times found that more than half of all men and four in 10 women said they would rather live abroad if given the choice. The main reasons are antisocial behavior among a growing underclass and immigration. The "state of the nation" poll of more than 1,500 people found that concerns about immigration topped the list of issues of six out of 10 of those questioned. Among self-identified Conservative voters, three-quarters consider immigration among their top concerns.
Wish I could welcome all those Brits who want to "live abroad" here in the U.S., in the spirit of "Give me your tired, your poor," etc. But U.S. immigration policies for legal immigrants have gotten much tighter and more complicated here since 9/11, with evidently no reforms expected any time soon from Congress. Too bad, because we could always use more citizens (especially English-speaking ones) fully appreciative of and contributing to our unique culture, our advantages, and our liberties.
And I love to hear a Scottish or Irish brogue. Maybe some of these would-be refugees could try the Craig Ferguson technique for gathering U.S. citizenship.