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Brexit: Deferred Benefits, Immediate Damage

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A trader from BGC, a global brokerage company in London's Canary Wharf financial centre reacts during trading June 24, 2016 after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU BREXIT referendum. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

Within days after the close “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, there’s evidence of second thoughts among portions of the British public, with demonstrations to protest the decision, petitions to reconsider it, and efforts by leaders of Scotland and Northern Ireland to overturn it, or else to separate from the UK.

The good things Brexit advocates promised won’t be activated for years, if at all, while the bad things that opponents warned against have struck immediately. There is no sudden halt to immigration, or an end to regulations from Brussels—any rules changes must await complicated negotiations with the EU. But the economic damage is already devastating—with world markets losing three trillion in value, Britain’s credit rating downgraded, and the nation possibly headed for a sharp, steep recession. Major parties in Parliament united against leaving the EU, while trade unions and corporate associations also joined in opposition, so the risks should have been obvious to voters of every ideology.

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